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Artists come together to commemorate centenary of outbreak of first world war

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Stephen Fry joins letter-writing project, reading missive to soldier aloud at launch of cultural programme featuring diverse events

A letter written by Stephen Fry to a soldier who died in the Great War reduced the theatre director Neil Bartlett to tears on Thursday as he read it aloud at the launch of the cultural programme that will mark the centenary of the conflict.

Fry's letter written as if from the soldier's brother, a conscientious objector, and inspired by the statue of a soldier reading a letter that stands on Paddington station in London is part of Letter to an Unknown Soldier, one of hundreds of arts events in 14-18 Now, a programme of work by visual artists, theatre companies, dancers, photographers, poets and composers, across Britain and in collaboration with other countries.

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