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London 2012 Cultural Olympiad projects in the East

  • Date: 10 May 2012
  • Artform: All, Combined arts, Dance, Literature, Museums, Music, Theatre, Visual arts
  • Area: South East
LACE, Hunt & Darton Cafe LACE, Hunt & Darton Cafe, Photograph by Christa Holka

With the launch of the London 2012 Festival programme at the end of April, we are getting closer to the one of the most exciting moments in UK history.

The London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad provides people across the UK a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience and enjoy the richness of British arts in the world’s largest cultural celebration in history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic movement, celebrating Britain’s best arts and culture.

Although the London 2012 Festival doesn’t start until 21 June, it doesn’t mean you can’t get involved now. In the East, we have a rich and varied assortment of exciting projects running right now and throughout the summer. They range from outdoor choral performances at dawn on a  Norfolk beach to stunning circus and music in cathedrals - all funded by Arts Council England.

The 3 May saw the launch of two fascinating new works in Cambridge.

Live Art Collective East (LACE) has launched the Hunt & Darton Cafe in Cambridge, a pop-up interactive performance installation where you can buy a cup of coffee with a twist. The quirky café stays open until 27 May, and live art duo Jenny Hunt and Holly Darton are taking their cafe to Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The commission is one of eight commissions all placed in unusual spaces across the East from LACE, supported through our Grants for the arts scheme. At the Edinburgh Fringe, the café will also play host to an Escalator East and Arts Council networking celebration event.

A phenomenal exhibition of rare ancient Chinese treasures from the Han Dynasty’s 2000-year-old royal tombs has also launched at Fitzwilliam Museum as part of London 2012 Festival. The Search for Immortality includes over 350 jade, gold, silver, bronze and ceramics treasures shown for the first time in the UK. The show is on at the Fitzwilliam Museum, a Renaissance Major partner museum, 5 May to 11 November 2012. The Search for Immortality is part of Stories of the World: Eastern Exchanges, a programme of exhibitions, events, artist exchanges and community projects that will unlock the secrets and stories of China, India and Pakistan, led by Arts Council England.

Throughout May, the East’s Artist taking the lead project On Languard Point – from the Pacitti Company, an Arts Council England National portfolio organisation – are running Dig and Sow, a project that allows communities the chance to discover the past in their back garden through archaeological digs, and is running in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk and Essex.

Other Dig and Sows include Clavering, Essex on Saturday 12 May, Paston, Norfolk on Saturday 19 May and Potton, Bedfordshire on Saturday 26 May. Volunteers can also help out by contacting On Languard Point website. 

In June, a major highlight of the Norwich and Norfolk Festival is the stunning new music and acrobatic piece created especially for cathedrals, How Like An Angel, from Australian circus company Circa and UK-based vocal ensemble, I Fagiolini. The show will be performed at Norwich Cathedral, Ely Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral and Ripon Cathedral from 26 June to 20 July 2012. The work is part of the London 2012 Festival.

On 21 June, the London 2012 Festival opens and the East’s Artist taking the lead project will premiere their feature film On Languard Point in Ipswich Film Theatre. Footage from the films was shot at actual events throughout the East of England, including performance, music events and parades using professional and non-professional groups, as well as local residents, drawing inspiration from the East’s history and cultures. The film features five stunning new music commissions from acclaimed composer and artist Michael Nyman.

This July will see the fruits from Exchanging Worlds, a large-scale digital project that connects the Aldeburgh World Orchestra (AWO) to Suffolk and the region. Exchanging Worlds is working with a diverse group of Suffolk young people including Primary School pupils, a Pupil Referral Unit, Juvenile Offenders, Further Education Students and Aldeburgh Young Musicians to create a series of audio/visual installations based on the orchestra members’ digital audition material. The young people have been tutored by a team of composers, artists, technologists and sound designers. The final interactive installations will be on display from 20 July to the end of August at Snape Maltings.

Exchanging Worlds has also created an ensemble of exceptional young musical talent (under 18’s) through Aldeburgh Young Musicians (AYM) who will be performing cross cultural and cross genre new works at Snape Maltings Concert Hall and touring around the region. The project is funded by Legacy Trust UK.

The East’s top orchestra Aldeburgh World Orchestra, composed of acclaimed British conductor, Sir Mark Elder and 124 of the world’s leading young musicians, will be performing at Snape Maltings on 20 and 22 July. Specially created for the London 2012 Festival, the orchestra are currently in rehearsal, and following two performances at Snape Maltings, they will be touring in Europe (including Amsterdam Concertgebouw), London, and closer to home, at the Latitude Festival this summer.

The Aldeburgh World Orchestra will perform Mahler Adagio from Symphony No.10 and Shostakovich Symphony No.5 on Friday 20 July. On 22 July, Aldeburgh Music has a jam-packed day of musical and visual treats, with their all-day Open Weekend at Snape Maltings, a big family event with fun things to do, which will include the Exchanging Worlds installation and live performance from Exchanging Worlds Ensemble in the Britten Studio. Later that evening, Aldeburgh World Orchestra will perform Britten Sinfonia da Requiem and Stravinsky The Rite of Spring.

The North Norfolk coast is the setting for two epic performances. Walking, by internationally acclaimed director Robert Wilson, is a participatory event that takes the audience on a deliberately slow three-mile walk along the coast. Over four hours, the audience will take in the dunes and woodland, hill and valley, meadow and beach, as well as fixed art installations. Wilson collaborated with Dutch visual artist Theun Mosk and theatre maker Boukje Schweigman to create the series of visual and sound installations, which will aid the audience to question and reflect upon our relationship with the landscape and the environment. Walking takes place 20 August to 2 September and is part of London 2012 Festival, presented by Norwich and Norfolk Festival.

Finally, LACE’s commission Out of Water, by Helen Paris and Caroline Wright presents a stunning choral and live art piece at dawn on Holkham Beach in Norfolk from 25 to 27 August. The work includes a newly commissioned sound piece from composer Jocelyn Pook and evokes the stories of swimmers’ battle to survive against the power of the sea. 

London 2012 Festival, a spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration from 21 June to 9 September 2012, bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK. http://festival.london2012.com