London 2012 Festival: An Olympian feat?
Published: 21st Jun 2012 02:31:18
The London 2012 Festival launches on 21 June. The 12-week Festival is billed as an "explosion of arts and creativity" that runs alongside the London 2012 Olympics.
This Q&A asks why it's happening and looks at what's coming up.
The London 2012 Festival is the grand finale of the Cultural Olympiad, a programme of arts events that have been running since 2008.
The nationwide festival begins on 21 June and runs through to 9 September - the end of the Paralympic Games.
No, while there are many events taking place in London, the festival programme features events across the UK.
For example, Deborah Warner's outdoor installation Peace Camp, will see eight glowing encampments appear simultaneously in remote coastal locations, from County Antrim to the tip of Cornwall, from the Isle of Lewis to the Sussex cliffs.
The list goes from Alan Ayckbourn to Jay-Z.
Among the well-known artists taking part are Damon Albarn, Daniel Barenboim, Cate Blanchett, Gustavo Dudamel, Tracey Emin, Stephen Fry, Antony Hegarty, Damien Hirst, Zakir Hussain, Anish Kapoor, Mike Leigh, Baaba Maal, Tim Minchin, The Noisettes, Yoko Ono, Simon Rattle, Rihanna, Scissor Sisters, Wallace and Gromit, Doctor Who, Julie Walters and Ai Wei Wei.
Artistic director of Handspring Puppet Company UK, Mervyn Millar, gave BBC News a glimpse of the creations in the show
According to the organisers, the Festival involves 25,000 artists from all 204 competing Olympic nations in 12,000 events and performances at 900 venues all over the UK.
The programme includes 137 world premieres and 85 UK premieres.
The Festival opens with five headline events.
In Wales, artist Jeremy Deller's life-size inflatable replica of Stonehenge, entitled Sacrilege, will "pop up" at the National Botanical Gardens in Carmarthen.
In Scotland, an open-air concert set against the backdrop of Stirling Castle will be led by superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela who are joined by The Big Noise children from Rapploch.
In Northern Ireland, Londonderry hosts a Peace One Day concert with Pixie Lott, Imelda May, Newton Faulkner, Guillemots and Wonder Villains.
In England, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra will present the UK premiere of Weltethos, an epic choral work by Jonathan Harvey.
On the same night French street arts company, Les Commandos Percu, will light up the shores of Windermere in Cumbria with a pyrotechnic show.
Other events include the unveiling of Yoko Ono's IMAGINE PEACE art installation on London 2012 Live Site screens at outdoor venues throughout the UK.
Australian comedian and musician Tim Minchin performs at The Eden Project near St Austell in Cornwall.
There will be the world premiere of Crow, a production based on Ted Hughes' Crow poems, by Handspring Puppet Company UK.
BBC Radio 1's Hackney Weekend will feature more than 100 acts including Jay-Z, Rihanna, Florence + the Machine, and Jessie J.
Yes, there are events showcasing performers and artists from all 204 nations.
These include the BT River of Music on the Thames, the Poetry Parnassus at the Southbank Centre, and The World in London - 204 photographic portraits of Londoners, each originating from one of the countries participating in the Games.
Royal Opera House executive Tony Hall has been the chairman of the Cultural Olympiad Board since 2009, with Ruth Mackenzie as Festival director from 2010.
"When the UK won the bid for the Olympics in 2005, we promised to return to Baron Pierre de Coubertin's original idea of an Olympic Games based on the three pillars of sport, art and education." - Ruth Mackenzie
"With 10 million opportunities to take part in events across the UK for free, this is a festival that everyone can enjoy, try something new and experience art from around the world as part of the Olympic and Paralympic Games celebrations." - Tony Hall
Organisers are keen to point out there are 10 million free opportunities to take part in the festival.
These include events like the Hackney Weekend (100,000 free tickets) and the Peace One Day concert in Londonderry.
Two days before London 2012 Festival began, organisers revealed that about half of the event's 4m paid-for tickets have been sold.
Another 2.3m free tickets, out of a total 10m, have been snapped up.
There is a comprehensive list of highlights in this article and you can dig deeper into the schedule on the official London 2012 Festival website.
The BBC's coverage of the festival will be under the spotlight in a special section of its Olympics website.
Yes, some are already over. The Globe to Globe season - in which all 37 of Shakespeare's plays were performed in 37 different languages at Shakespeare's Globe, was officially part of the Festival and finished in early June.
Dance season Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: World Cities 2012 has started, as has Elevator Repair Service's epic eight-hour production Gatz, a word-for-word staging of Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.
Where to start?
The Adain Avion project will see a wingless DC-9 aeroplane transformed into a mobile arts space tour around Wales (24 June - 14 July)
A string quartet will play live from four helicopters above Birmingham for the world premiere of Stockhausen opera Mittwoch aus Licht (22 - 25 August)
An artwork inspired by the final scene of The Italian Job will see a full-sized replica coach balanced on the De La Warr pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea.
And Monty Python star Terry Jones and Anne Dudley have created a new children's opera The Owl and the Pussycat that will travel through London's canals.
Principal Funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor, which is investing £16.6m to support the Cultural Olympiad.
The festival has an overall investment of £55m.
Director Ruth Mackenzie says: "Some of you might think it's a lot, but I assure you, for a 12-week festival over the entire United Kingdom... [it] is a pretty small investment and I hope that when we do the final figures after the festival we are able to demonstrate pretty good value for money."
Scottish choreographer Michael Clark has been commissioned to create a large-scale, participatory dance event at Glasgow music venue Barrowlands to mark the handover to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
After that Ruth Mackenzie and her team will begin the process of assessing how it all went. It's expected to take several weeks.
With additional reporting by Chi Chi Izundu
Are you planning to visit or take part in any of the events? Send us your comments and experiences using the form below.
If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.
Terms and conditions
At 02:36:18 in BusinessFast food chain McDonald's has suspended sale of chicken nuggets and some other products in Hong Kong.
At 02:30:32 in HeadlinesAt least two Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank during protests against Israel's military campaign in Gaza, officials say.
At 02:20:04 in HeadlinesSub-Saharan Africa's agricultural sector needs to harvest the fruits of biotechnology in order to establish sustainable development, says a report.
At 02:19:11 in HeadlinesAll dinosaurs were covered with feathers or had the potential to grow feathers, a study suggests.
At 02:17:53 in HeadlinesNew research suggests the global decline in wildlife is connected to an increase in human trafficking and child slavery.
At 02:15:20 in HeadlinesA federal judge in Mexico has charged six employees of a children's home raided by police last week.
At 02:14:42 in HealthFree schools for children with autism are gradually being setup in the UK by community groups, with another one due to open in Easter 2015. But in the 1970s, parents in Sunderland clubbed together to create what they saw as a real need back in a time when autism wasn't such a well-known disability.
At 02:05:16 in EntertainmentProtest movements, from the Suffragettes to Occupy, have produced their own unique items designed to challenge the status quo. And for the first time these "disobedient objects" have been brought together in an exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert museum.
At 02:02:13 in HeadlinesAn American reporter for the Washington Post and his wife appear to have been detained in Tehran, the newspaper said.
At 01:48:38 in HeadlinesOn 18 September voters will go to the polls to decide whether Scotland should become an independent country. Only those registered to vote in Scotland will have a say. Here are some glittering icons in the Scottish firmament that won't.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. London 2012 Festival: An Olympian feat? [Online] (Updated 21st Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1435994/London-2012-Festival-An-Olympian-feat [Accessed 25th Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
Fast food chain McDonald's has suspended sale of chicken nuggets and some other products in Hong Kong.
Fast food chain McDonald's has suspended sale of chicken nuggets and some other products in Hong Kong.
"This is our concern. When it comes to raising cattle it's our job, when you're born you see your father doing it, it represents everything to us."
The giant marionettes of French street theatre company Royal de Luxe are heading back to the streets of Liverpool to help mark the World War One centenary. But why does its eccentric director favour this UK city over others?
A decision not to publish a document on the conclusions of a consultation on the planned M4 relief road has been criticised.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com