Cate Blanchett, Mark Rylance, et al. to Take Part in London 2012 Festival

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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.

Highlights of the programme for London 2012 Festival include:

Theatre

The World Shakespeare Festival is a celebration of Shakespeare as the world's playwright, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in an unprecedented collaboration with leading UK and international arts organisations, and with Globe to Globe, a major international programme produced by Shakespeare's Globe.
Supported by Founding Presenting Partner BP, the World Shakespeare Festival is bringing together thousands of artists and over 50 arts organisations to present major new productions, groundbreaking collaborations and radical interpretations of Shakespeare's work.

Productions will be presented by companies including the Wooster Group (USA), Ninagawa Company (Japan), National Theatre of China (China), Iraqi Theatre Company (Iraq), Companhia BufoMecânica (Brazil), Vakhtangov Theatre (Moscow), Artistes, Producteurs, Associés (Tunisia), and Teatr Warszawa (Poland). The BBC will present a new series of teleVision Productions.

Thousands of amateurs from all over the UK have been invited to work with the RSC and nine partner theatres to perform their own interpretations of Shakespeare in castles, parks, village halls, pubs and churches and in a summer season at Stratford-on-Avon.

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru will present The Tempest at the National Eisteddfod in a new Welsh translation by Gwyneth Lewis.

Alongside the live programme, The British Museum will present Shakespeare: Staging The World - The BP exhibition, a major exhibition investigating the importance of Shakespeare in shaping a new sense of national identity by examining artefacts including maps, prints, manuscripts, and medals, through the lens of Shakespeare's plays.

To celebrate Shakespeare's birthday, award-winning actor Mark Rylance will present To Be or Not To Be: Shakespeare Encountered, pop-up performances of Shakespeare's sonnets and speeches around Central London being presented in partnership between London 2012 and the Mayor of London.

The London 2012 Festival will celebrate the work of Alan Ayckbourn, with two plays presented in an exciting new collaboration between two award-winning theatres of international importance, the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough and Chichester Festival Theatre. Alongside a revival of one of Ayckbourn's best-loved works, he will direct the world premiere of his 76th play. In a major initiative for children and young people, theatres across the country will stage Ayckbourn's innovative plays for children.

In response to Peter Sellars' 2009 Othello, Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison and Malian singer/songwriter Rokia Traoré collaborate to create an intimate and profound conversation between Shakespeare's Desdemona and her African nurse Barbary from beyond the grave.

Handspring Puppet Company, the geniuses behind The National Theatre's production of War Horse, will present the world premiere of a show based on Ted Hughes' powerfully visceral CROW poems for Greenwich Council and Greenwich + Docklands International Festival.

Award-winning theatre company Punchdrunk with the Doctor Who team create The Crash of The Elysium, a live Doctor Who adventure in which the audience are the stars - no two shows are ever be the same, no individual adventure is ever repeated.

Royal & Derngate, Northampton will present Festival Of Chaos, exploring the contemporary relevance of Dionysius, the god of dance, ecstasy and chaos, with three new interpretations of classic plays, The Bacchae by Euripides, Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca, and Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, directed by Artistic Director Laurie Sansom

Happy Days - Enniskillen International Beckett Festival is the first annual festival in the world dedicated to Samuel Beckett. London 2012 Festival is co-commissioning a new production of Krapp's Last Tape, directed and performed by Robert Wilson.

Academy Award and BAFTA winner, Cate Blanchett, makes a rare appearance on the London stage in Botho Strauss's Gross Und Klein in a translation by Martin Crimp directed by Benedict Andrews for Sydney Theatre Company at the Barbican Centre.

National Theatre Wales will present a new play, In Water I'm Weightless, by Kaite O'Reilly, inspired by the lives of deaf and disabled people, directed by John McGrath with choreography by Nigel Charnock.

Award-winning Druid from Ireland will present the UK premiere of DruidMurphy, an epic tale of Irish emigration told through three of the greatest plays of Tom Murphy, one of Ireland's most respected living dramatists, directed by Garry Hynes, probably the foremost interpreter of Irish drama in the world.

West End Live, including for the first time casts from every single one of London's world-famous musicals, will present its biggest ever free event in Trafalgar Square for the Festival.

Performance & Dance

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.

Music

Simon Rattle will conduct Wynton Marsalis' Swing Symphony, a tribute to the history of jazz, which will be performed by LSO and Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra at the Barbican. The work was commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic.

Daniel Barenboim will bring the West Eastern Divan Orchestra for a complete Beethoven Symphony cycle at the BBC Proms in 2012. This will culminate with a performance of Beethoven 9 on the opening day of the Olympics on 27 July. The concerts in the cycle will also feature significant works by living French composer Pierre Boulez, one of the most influential figures in contemporary music for the past sixty years. The full BBC Proms programme will be announced in April 2012.

Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela will visit Raploch, Stirling, for a four-day residency with 100 aspiring young local musicians. The project, part of Sistema Scotland, will culminate in a spectacular outdoor concert set against the backdrop of Stirling Castle on Midsummer's Night, 21 June 2012, the first evening of the Festival.

Opening the celebrations in Derry/Londonderry on Midsummer's Day is a Peace One Day concert produced by Founder Jeremy Gilley and Ambassador Jude Law marking the three-month countdown to a Global Truce on Peace Day 2012 with an all-star concert.

On the same night, Edward Gardner conducts the UK premiere of Weltethos, an epic choral work by composer Jonathan Harvey that will involve the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with the CBSO Chorus, Youth Chorus and Children's Chorus.

Africa Utopia, led by renowned Senegalese singer and human rights champion Baaba Maal, will shed light on areas where the continent leads the world, through performances, talks, debates and film.

Later in the festival, the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra will be joined by local children at Coventry Cathedral to perform the premier of James MacMillan's Gloria, a work written to celebrate Coventry Cathedral's Golden Jubilee in 2012.

In Glasgow, The Kronos Quartet will perform in the Zaha Hadid's new Museum of Transport in a one-off, interactive sound installation that will allow visitors to make music using the building itself.

NI Opera will present a new co-production by the KT Wong Foundation and NI Opera of Benjamin Britten's much-loved children's opera Noye's Fludde in Belfast Zoo.

Visual Arts

London 2012 is continuing the tradition of inviting leading artists to design the official Olympic and Paralympic posters. The designs by Fiona Banner, Michael Craig-Martin, Martin Creed, Tracey Emin, Anthea Hamilton, Howard Hodgkin, Gary Hume, Sarah Morris, Chris Ofili, Bridget Riley, Bob and Roberta Smith and Rachel Whiteread will be revealed at Tate Britain today, where visitors can view them free of charge for the duration of London 2012 Festival.

Everyone can take part in Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed's Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and loudly as possible for three minutes, to mark the opening day of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games on 27 July. By ringing any kind of bell - hand bell, church bell, school bell, bicycle bell or doorbell, everyone in the UK can celebrate the arrival of the world's greatest sporting event.

At Tate Modern, the former Bankside Power Station's spectacular Oil Tanks - enormous circular spaces over thirty metres across and seven metres high - will open as the anchor for Tate Modern's live programme of performance and event-based art. The opening programme will bring together performances, debates, films and interventions, including major newly commissioned installations by artists working across these disciplines.

Tracey Emin will present the major exhibition, She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea at the award-winning Turner Contemporary in her hometown, Margate. The show will contain a mixture of new and existing works and explore the themes of love, sex and romanticism.

Yoko Ono will be the subject of a major exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, extending out of the Gallery and into Kensington Gardens. Working as an artist, filmmaker, poet, musician, writer, performance artist and peace activist for over five decades, she has influenced generations of artists and received numerous prestigious awards.

Tino Sehgal's brings his exciting new commission to life for Tate Modern's Turbine Hall Seghal had risen to prominence for his groundbreaking works which consist of live encounters with people.

As part of a season of events celebrating British design, the V&A will present Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary, the first major solo exhibition from one of the most inventive and experimental British design studios practising today, also designers of the 2012 Olympic Cauldron.

Outside London, the festival will transform landscapes with installations such as Column by Anthony McCall, a vertical, spinning column of cloud rising into the sky from the surface of Wirral Waters. Several kilometres tall, it will be visible across the North West and beyond.

The Whitechapel Gallery will unveil a major new commission by Rachel Whiteread for the historic façade of the gallery, inspired by the decorative ‘tree of life' motif that is part of the terracotta building.

Large-scale landscape paintings, drawings, films, and iPad art are amongst new works by David Hockney that will feature in his major exhibition of landscapes at the Royal Academy of Arts, as one of the Festival's countdown events in January.

Tate Modern will stage the first substantial survey of Damien Hirst's work ever held in the UK, bringing together over 70 of the artist's works including many seminal pieces. Lucian Freud Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery is the most ambitious exhibition of the artist's work for 10 years. The show spans 70 years and includes more than 100 paintings.

The first major London show of Tony Cragg's outdoor sculptures will be staged along the newly pedestrianised Exhibition Road in Kensington, alongside indoor works at Imperial College London, the Science Museum, the V&A and also at the CASS Sculpture Foundation.

BP and the Royal Opera House have joined forces with The Olympic Museum to create this free and unique exhibition of medals, torches and inspiring stories behind the Olympic Games.

At the National Portrait Gallery the three-year BT Road to 2012 project will reach its conclusion with a free exhibition of portraits taken by leading photographers.

Manchester will stage a free exhibition of contemporary West African art entitled We Face Forward: Art from West Africa Today across three locations: Manchester Art Gallery, the Whitworth Art Gallery and Park, and the Gallery of Costume, Platt Hall.

Lasting for 30 days, and featuring 30 artists from Rio and 30 artists from London, Rio Occupation London focuses on an artistic exchange that brings new creative and inspiring artists from Rio's contemporary cultural scene.

Britain Creates 2012, a joint project by the Mayor of London and the British Fashion Council/Bazaar Arts Foundation, features some of the UK's most high-profile fashion designers, including Sarah Burton, Christopher Bailey for Burberry, Hussein Chalayan, Giles Deacon, Stephen Jones, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, Jonathan Saunders and Paul Smith who will collaborate with leading visual artists including Dinos Chapman, Jeremy Deller, Jess Flood-Paddock, Gavin Turk, Marc Quinn and Cerith Wyn Evans to create original commissions inspired by Olympic and Paralympic values.

Film

BBC Films and Film 4 have come together for the first time to co-commission a selection of short films that showcase great UK filmmaking talent including A Running Jump by Mike Leigh, featuring Eddie Marsan, Sam Kelly and Samantha Spiro, which will premiere as part of London 2012 Festival; and a new short film by Lynne Ramsay, director of the critically acclaimed adaptation of We Need to Talk About Kevin.

Alfred Hitchcock's early British masterpieces will be restored to their former glory by the BFI National Archive and presented in a series of one-off screenings across London with live music accompaniment and new commissioned orchestral scores from homegrown music talent. In July, the BFI is also hosting the grand finale of Film Nation Shorts presented by Panasonic. Young nominees from the three-year competition will gather at the BFI for the final awards ceremony.

Shetland Arts' Screenplay, the UK's most northerly film festival, curated by Linda Ruth Williams and Mark Kermode, will present A Hansel of Film, a unique cinematic relay project for 2012. The arrival of the Olympic Torch in the isles will kick off a relay of film screenings around the UK, from Shetland to Southampton and back again.

Ridley Scott's Britain in A Day is an ambitious nationwide project to capture a day in the life of Britain made entirely by the people of Britain. Jointly developed with BBC Learning, the self-made videos will become an extraordinary archive to become a time capsule of Britain as well as a full-length documentary which will be screened on BBC2 in 2012.

What's Going On?, a new documentary by Penny Woolcock, tells the story of two rival gangs in Birmingham involved in a postcode war for fifteen years who are looking to succeed in reaching a truce.

The Itch of the Golden Nit, dreamt up by thousands of children across the UK, brought together by Tate and the creative magic of Aardman Animation, with voiceovers by David Walliams, Vic Reeves, Catherine Tate and Miranda Hart among others, will be screened during the London 2012 Festival.

Literature

Southbank Centre will present Poetry Parnassus, the largest poetry festival ever to be staged in the UK, directed by Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank and Simon Armitage, artist in residence. The programme brings together 205 poets - one from each of the competing Olympic nations - in readings, workshops and discussions.

A series of slam poetry events, Shake the Dust runs alongside as a national celebration of the power of spoken word and slam final teams of young people from around the country will compete in the biggest national youth slam final this country at London's Royal Festival Hall. Each team will perform two original pieces that they will have spent months writing and developing, based around the Olympic and Paralympic values and the theme of ‘truce'.

Pioneering climate and culture organisation Cape Farewell presents new stories from Scotland's islands about people, place and resources, working with artists from India and the UK, including Jo Shapcott, Julie Fowlis and Atul Bhalla, to 'translate' contemporary and traditional stories into new forms, and pass them in digital relay from island to island and across the mainland.

The Summer 2012 Reading Challenge is the UK's biggest ever-reading event for children. The aim of the challenge is to get children to read six books from their library during the summer holiday.

Heritage Sites

A number of special events have been programmed to showcase the UK's sites of outstanding natural beauty, and encourage audiences to look at and experience these iconic locations in a different way. These will include:

A major new art installation engaging with the 84 miles length of The Remains of Hadrian's Wall by the Manhattan artists' collective YesYesNo.

La Compagnie Carabosse, one of France's most important street arts groups, will transform Stonehenge into a glowing fairytale environment with an elemental Fire Garden.

Edinburgh's dramatic landmark Arthur's Seat will be brought to life by NVA's Speed of Light, a light installation combining sport and art that will see thousands of runners activating specially designed light suits to animate the hillside with trails of patterned light as part of Edinburgh International Festival.

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 Northern Ireland, internationally renowned German artist Hans Peter Kuhn will transform the The Giant's Causeway Coast with his project FLAGS.

Digital projections, sound and an historical building meet in Austrian artist Kurt Hentschläger's new work, Core at the Engine Shop at Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.

Peace Camp is a coastal installation created by the renowned opera and theatre director Deborah Warner in collaboration with the actor Fiona Shaw and creative producer Artichoke. Appearing from dusk to dawn on beaches and cliff tops around the UK and Ireland and inspired by the Olympic Truce, Peace Camp is a poignant exploration of love poetry and a celebration of the extraordinary variety and beauty of our coastline.

Free Events

There will be over 10 million chances to see free London 2012 Festival events throughout the UK. Among these are:

Elizabeth Streb has been commissioned to create a series of events against London's iconic skyline through a partnership between the Mayor of London and the London 2012 Festival. Beginning at daybreak and continuing until late at night, her extraordinary dancers will literally take your breath away.

BT River of Music welcomes the world to London with a spectacular weekend of free live music representing all 205 participating Olympic & Paralympic nations at landmarks along the River Thames. The continents will be represented across six stages located at Battersea Park (Asia stage), Jubilee Gardens (Africa stage), Trafalgar Square and Somerset House (Europe stages), Tower of London (Americas stage), and Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich (Oceania stage).

BBC Radio 1 Hackney Weekend 2012, a celebration of live music and BBC Radio 1's biggest-ever, free live music event. With six stages and more than 80 international and UK artists, bands and DJs, confirmed acts include Hackney's own superstar, Leona Lewis, and Brit Award-winning Plan B.

Lake Windermere will host a free light and fire spectacular by Les Commandos Percus for Lakes Alive, and internationally acclaimed outdoor performance specialists Walk the Plank will present a free outdoor show in Chelmsford.

Streetwise Opera are joining with the Royal Opera House to welcome arts groups who work with homeless people - including Cardboard Citizens, the Choir with No Name, and Open Cinema - to perform throughout the weekend to sing, present drama work, poetry and films in a rolling programme of free events open to the public under the title With One Voice.

Peace Camp is an outdoor installation created by the renowned opera and theatre director Deborah Warner in collaboration with the actor Fiona Shaw and creative producer Artichoke and commissioned in partnership with Derry City of Culture. The project celebrates the power of words, evoked by the sound of poems whispered by lovers on the brink of sleep.

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

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.

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.

Over 1 million people have visited the National Portrait Gallery to see the annual National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 Project and BP Portrait Award exhibitions including participants in the new BP Portrait Award: Next Generation summer schools and taster sessions.

34,000 children worked with the BBC, Tate, and Aardman though ‘The Tate Movie Project', supported by BP and the Legacy Trust UK, to develop their skills in film animation and create a film, ‘The Itch of the Golden Nit'. Already scooping awards and booking into festivals round the world in 2012, including of course London 2012 Festival, the movie has been enjoyed by audiences live on big screens across the UK and through broadcasts on the BBC.

More than 2,500 14-25 year olds have attended Film Nation: Shorts workshops presented by Panasonic, and there are now 2,000 young curators working in museums across the UK as part of the Stories of the World project.

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. The Mayor sees the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as providing an unparalleled opportunity for London to showcase itself to the world. He is responsible for ensuring there is a lasting legacy for London from the Games, and is focused on ensuring that Londoners benefit from opportunities and investment that the Games bring - both now and in the future - particularly in East London. The Mayor coordinates the City Operations programme, which is designed to spread the look, feel and excitement of the Games throughout the capital (e.g. London Ambassadors, Live Sites, London Look programme) and to bring together London agencies to keep the capital moving and functioning successfully during a busy period. In 2012 the capital will demonstrate its creative prowess, creating new opportunities for cultural connections for Games time and beyond. www.london.gov.uk/games

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

 

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