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Jun. 18, 2012
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London Olympic arts program “Cultural Olympiad” commences (June 21 – Sep. 9, 2012)
The “Cultural Olympiad” arts and culture program being held in conjunction with the 2012 London Olympics that begin on July 27 was launched shortly after the conclusion of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has been running at locations around the United Kingdom with a variety of arts and culture events in music, theatre, dance, performance and opera concerts as well as art exhibitions, film and literature. The highlight of this program is the London 2012 Festival that will run from June 21 to September 9 with some 12,000 performances and events scheduled.
One of the related events leading up to the festival has been the World Shakespeare Festival produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company that started on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23rd. Almost 60 partners from the UK and abroad are participating in the festival’s Shakespeare productions, plus supporting events and exhibitions, all across the UK, beginning with London and Stratford-upon-Avon and also venues in Edinburgh, Birmingham, Newcastle/Gateshead, and Brighton. Among the productions of the festival’s highly diverse program are Cymbeline directed by Yukio Ninagawa at the Barbican Centre, Timon of Athens directed by Simon Russell Beale at the National Theatre, along with foreign productions like a Bagdad version of Romeo & Juliet by Bagdad’s Iraq Theatre Company as well as contemporary adaptations, a children’s program and an “Open Stages” series involving some 7,200 amateur theatre makers.
One of the highlights of the festival’s schedule has been “Globe to Globe” (April 21 to June 9), a major international program produced by Shakespeare’s Globe. This program will present 37 productions of Shakespeare’s plays by foreign companies in 37 foreign languages, including such rarely theater as that of the Republic of South Sudan newly independent in 2011. From Japan, the Chiten company led by Motoi Miura presented its new work Coriolanus (May 21/22).
For the opening of the London 2012 Festival, Gustavo Dudamel will conduct the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela in an outdoor concert set against the backdrop of Stirling Castle in Scotland, and a new show by Les Commandos Percu blending musical rhythms and amazing effects with a fireworks display at Lake Windermere in the Lake District (June 21). During the festival thousands of dancers from all over the UK will participate in the “Big Dance 2012” event at Trafalgar Square and other venues. There are also many free events planned, such as the “BT River of Music” festival held at six outdoor venues along the Thames River.
One of the highlights of the festival is the “Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: World Cities 2012” program in which the Wuppertal Pina Bausch company will perform over a period of one month 10 works taking ten cities of the world as their subjects. Another highlight is the UK premiere of the 1976 opera Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson with choreography by Lucinda Childs.
Other programs by theatres and museums around the UK will make this Cultural Olympiad an event not to be missed.
+London 2012 Festival
+World Shakespeare Festival
+Globe to Globe 12