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London 2012 Festival

London 2012 Festival

4 November 2011

The UK celebrates London 2012 with a 12-week nationwide festival of the world’s best music, theatre, dance, visual art, literature, film and fashion.

London 2012 today launched the programme for the London 2012 Festival, a spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK, opening on Midsummer’s Day 21 June and running until 9 September 2012.

Damon Albarn, Alan Ayckbourn, Daniel Barenboim, Cate Blanchett, Martin Creed, Gustavo Dudamel, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Jude Law, Mike Leigh, Leona Lewis, Baaba Maal, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne McGregor, Stella McCartney, Toni Morrison, Yoko Ono, Simon Rattle, Mark Rylance, Paul Smith, Meera Syal, Ridley Scott, Rufus Wainwright, Vivienne Westwood

From the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, to the remotest corner of the Shetland Islands, from the Raploch Estate in Scotland to Hadrian’s Wall on England’s most Northern border, from Stonehenge to the shores of Lake Windermere, from the forests of North Wales and right into the heart of the capital, the London 2012 Festival will celebrate the huge range, quality and accessibility of the UK’s world-class culture, and give the opportunity for people across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

For information on how to access tickets, including free tickets, people are encouraged to sign up to the London 2012 Festival website: www.london2012.com/festival

London 2012 Festival opens with a burst of events all over the country on Midsummer’s Day highlighted by a series of spectacular concerts; In Northern Ireland, Peace One Day founder Jeremy Gilley and ambassador Jude Law will mark the three-month countdown to Peace Day 2012 with an all-star concert in Derry/Londonderry; In Scotland, The Big Concert with Venezuelan superstar, Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra will present a spectacular open-air concert set against the backdrop of Scotland’s Stirling Castle with its sweeping  Ochil Hills and Wallace Monument, joined by young people from the Raploch Estate; in Birmingham's Symphony Hall, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra will present the UK premiere of Weltethos, an epic choral work by Jonathan Harvey, performed by the joint forces of the CBSO and the CBSO Chorus, Youth Chorus and Children’s Chorus; and the pyrotechnicians and musicians of the French street arts company, Les Commandos Percu will bring the magic of music and fire to the shores of Lake Windermere in Cumbria in a spectacular outdoor show, On the Night Shift, created especially for the Festival. In London, an unparalleled programme of free events is being planned by the Mayor's Office working in partnership with artists and performers, which will take place in all 33 boroughs aimed at creating unforgettable experiences and memories for anyone in the city during the festival.


Performance and dance highlights of the programme for London 2012 Festival

Today tickets go on sale for ENO’s London stage premiere of the highly acclaimed Dr Dee, written and performed by Blur and Gorillaz front man Damon Albarn and directed by Rufus Norris. Co-commissioned by the London 2012 Festival, Manchester International Festival and English National Opera.

The Barbican presents the first ever UK performances of Robert Wilson and Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach. Widely credited as one of the groundbreaking operas of the 20th century, the work, with choreography by Lucinda Childs, will be reconstructed by its original creators for a major international tour nearly four decades after it was first performed and twenty years since its last production.

World Cities 2012 from Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, a series of works by the great German choreographer Pina Bausch, who died in 2009, will be presented at Sadler’s Wells and the Barbican with 10 back-to-back works created in response to commissions from cities and countries she visited throughout her long career.

Once called the Evel Knievel of dance, award-winning American choreographer Elizabeth Streb and her Extreme Action Company create daredevil feats of extreme athleticism which push the human body to the limits. Newly commissioned by London 2012 in partnership with the Mayor of London as one of a series of ‘surprise’ events, One Extraordinary Day: Streb Action, will begin at daybreak and continue until late into the night, in iconic sites across London.

The Argentinian choreographer and director, Constanza Macras has been setting the world of dance theatre with her violent, witty and sensual work.  In a special commission for National Theatre Wales and London 2012 Festival, she will create a new site-specific show in the Rheidol Forest of North Wales, drawing inspiration from the ancient stories of Mabinogion.

At the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, the massed ranks of singers, musicians and performers from the South Wales Valleys will join forces with stellar artists from the townships of South Africa including Zip Zap Circus, Dance for All, Amampondo and the Fezeka Choir to tell a classic story of love and separation set against the backdrop of South Africa’s struggle for freedom and democracy.

The pyrotechnicians and musicians of the French street arts company, Les Commandos Perçu, will bring the magic of music and fire to the shores of Lake Windermere in Cumbria in a spectacular outdoor show, On the Night Shift, created especially for the Festival.

Birmingham and Nottingham will host Mandala, an interactive, multilayered performance of South Asian dance and music, led by Sampad and Seeper which uses 3D architectural projection mapping techniques to graft images onto the exteriors of two landmark locations.

How Like an Angel is an highly innovative performance which combines the visually stunning aerial talent of Australian company Circa with the poetic vocals of the British based I Fagiolini set in some of the country’s greatest cathedrals.

Big Dance is the world’s largest and most influential dance initiative. The celebrations will expand in 2012 to reach across the whole of the UK involving over 5 million people in the experience of dance. Highlights of the programme include a spectacular performance featuring a cast of over a thousand of dancers in Trafalgar Square directed by Wayne McGregor on Saturday 14 July 2012 as part of the Big Street Dance Day, and with the British Council an invitation to young people all over the world to join in a global record breaking attempt to be part of the largest multi-location dance routine ever performed.

Inspired by the history of Northern Ireland, Land of Giants will be the largest outdoor arts event ever seen in Northern Ireland. Combining acrobatics, aerial dance, carnival, circus, music, multi-media and pyrotechnics, this will be a spectacle for an audience of more than 20,000 people in Belfast, written and directed by Mark Murphy.

For the other programme highlights in Theatre, Music, Visual Arts, Film, Literature, Heritage Sites and Free Events, visit the London 2012 Festival website at www.london2012.com/festival

Tony Hall, Chair of the Cultural Olympiad Board, said: “This is our chance to showcase what we do to the rest of the world and an opportunity – as it was in 1951 – for all sorts of people to taste something new and different. This is very special to the UK because we have artists, museums and galleries, theatres, opera, dance, film, fashion and literature which are the best in the world. The London 2012 Festival is going to be a wonderful celebration of world-class culture across the length and breadth of Britain at a time when we all need something to lift our spirits.”

Ruth Mackenzie, Director, Cultural Olympiad, said: “From 21 June to 9 September 2012, across the whole of the UK, new work from the best artists, musicians, writers, comedians, film makers and other creative talent will be presented in the largest festival in the country. From food to fashion, street dance to digital, and pop to opera, the festival will offer once in a lifetime chance to be inspired by the best in the world. I would like to thank our Premier Partners BP and BT and Principle Funders Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor for making it possible.”

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “It is fantastic that the London 2012 Festival will show the world just how great we are at culture, at a time when the eyes of the world are upon us. Millions of people all round the country will have the opportunity to take part and enjoy spectacular events. And iconic images, like the Speed of Light on Edinburgh’s Arthur’s Seat, or the Fire Garden at Stonehenge will live on long after the last medal has been won. By celebrating our innovation, music, creativity and heritage, we can create a lasting legacy and attract new visitors to the UK. We are aiming to welcome an extra 4 million tourists in the next four years – shining a spotlight on our first rate culture is central to that success.”

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “This quite extraordinary line up of artists, performers, events and activities will ensure that in London and throughout the country there is something for everyone, to enjoy, to be thrilled and be inspired by. Here in London, we want to create a summer like no other, so that Londoners and visitors, wherever they are in the capital, come away feeling they have been part of something exhilarating, a unique moment in time the like of which they could get nowhere else.”

The London 2012 Festival is the finale of the Cultural Olympiad. Since the Cultural Olympiad started in 2008, over 16 million people all over the UK have participated in or attended performances as part of Cultural Olympiad programmes inspired by London 2012 and funded by our principal funders and sponsors. Over 169,000 people have attended more than 8,300 workshops as part of the Cultural Olympiad programmes.

The Mayor of London will announce more details about the programme of free events being planned to take place in every borough during the London 2012 Festival early next year. 

Big Dance is London's Legacy Trust UK programme led by the Mayor of London and Arts Council England. The Foundation for Community Dance co-ordinate a National Programme in partnership with the Big Dance Hubs. The next Big Dance takes place from 7-15 July 2012 as part of London Festival 2012, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad. It will be the world’s largest festival of dance, and offers a spectacular programme of dance events that will bring buildings, public spaces and unusual places to life across London and the UK. www.bigdance2012.com

Principal Funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.


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