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London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad round up in the South East – what’s coming up

  • Date: 7 August 2012
  • Artform: Combined arts, Dance, Music, Theatre, Visual arts
  • Area: London, South East
Nothing is Set in Stone, Mira Calix, as part of London 2012 Festival and Secrets Hidden London, Oxford Contemporary Music Nothing is Set in Stone, Mira Calix, as part of London 2012 Festival and Secrets Hidden London, Oxford Contemporary Music, photograph courtesy of the project.

Just in case you’ve missed it, this summer we’ve seen some pretty jaw dropping art and culture at the heart of our momentous London 2012 celebrations – from dramatic torch relay celebrations and dance festivals, to films, gallery openings and even a festival devoted to a giant.

Although many events have passed, there are still several unmissable London 2012 Cultural Olympiad projects still to come, featuring some of the South East’s best artists. They include show-stopping performances from StopGAP Dance Company; Olympic inspired outdoor performance from Signdance Collective; Rachel Gadsden’s incredible Unlimited Global Alchemy project at South Bank; and an interactive sound and stone installation by Mira Calix in a nature reserve in London from Oxford Contemporary Music (OCM). Both StopGAP and OCM are Arts Council England National portfolio organisations.

Arts Council England is a proud sponsor of London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad and supported many of the associated events, including torch relays, through our National Lottery funded Grants for the arts scheme, which is an open application fund.

Many of these projects have also been supported through Unlimited and Accentuate. Unlimited is a London 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme that celebrates arts and culture by disabled and Deaf artists by supporting them to produce high quality art and to forge new partnerships with mainstream organisations. Accentuate is a transformational programme of 15 projects, inspired by the Paralympic Movement, which seeks to change perceptions and offer opportunities to showcase the talents of deaf and disabled people. Accentuate has been funded by Legacy Trust UK, creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK, and the regional cultural agencies. Screen South is the home of Accentuate.


Nationally acclaimed integrated dance company StopGAP is continuing to tour their new outdoor piece SPUN Productions, specially commissioned for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. SPUN Productions depicts the fictional world of a celebrity wannabe, showing the highs and lows of stardom, and taking the audience through a journey of self re-invention. The piece was commissioned as part of the South East Legacy Trust programme, Accentuate.

Upcoming shows of SPUN Productions and Tracking are as follow:
•    28 August 2012 at Paralympic Flame Festival, Town Centre, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
•    1 September 2012 at Liberty Festival, National Theatre, London
•    2 September 2012 at 1:00pm and 3:00pm at Watch This Space @ National Theatre, Southbank Centre, Waterloo, London (Tracking)
•    7 September 2012 at 7:00pm at Lurgashall Village Hall, Petworth

All have wheelchair-accessible venues, disabled facilities, welcome guide dogs and are free entry. For more information, see

Signdance Collective

Innovative performing arts company Signdance Collective will be showing their exciting Olympic inspired outdoor performance piece New Gold and new international collaboration Half-A-Penny as part of part of the Mayor for London’s 2012 programme, Showtime.  This is part of London 2012 Festival. The High Wycombe-based company pull together a heady mix of visual theatre, signdance, live music and film for their performances, directed by Deaf and hearing artists. 

New Gold is a playful and completely irreverent look at competition and winning as four unlikely characters explore their search for gold. New Gold was originally commissioned by Creative Junction as part of the Accentuate and Create, Compete, Collaborate programmes, Creative Campus Initiative and supported with an Arts Council England Grants for the arts award. The show has already toured Europe, the Middle East, and the USA.

Half-A-Penny is a new international collaborative performance with in-house band, British Rock and Punk group Dead Days Beyond Help, produced and devised with international partners Etos festival Ankara and Brazillian writer dramaturge Pedro de Senna.

New Gold and Half-A-Penny will be performed on the following dates:

  • 26 August - Haringey
  • 31 August - Enfield
  • 2 September -Southwark

For more information, see

Unlimited Festival

Starting in August, Southbank Centre will host an 11-day festival called Unlimited Festival to mark the end of the Unlimited programme and to coincide with the 2012 Paralympics. From 30 August to 9 September, all 29 Unlimited commissions will be on offer, showcasing exciting new work from deaf and disabled artists in dance, live arts, visual arts, music and theatre.

Throughout the whole festival, you can catch Rachel Gadsden’s moving Unlimited Global Alchemy exhibition in the Royal Festival Hall. The exhibition includes drawings, sketches and films created in partnership with South African artist group Bambanani.  On 3 September, Rachel Gadsden and three Bambanani artists will lead a free family-oriented hands-on painting workshop called body mapping, which is a powerful tool to envision how life experience is stored in your body.

On 5 September, the project group will present a spectacular evening of performance, film and conversation.  This includes a premiere of 'Alchemy', a performance co-directed by Rachel Gadsden and choreographer Athina Vahla, featuring dancer Freddie Opoku-Addaie and Gadsden creating visual art live on stage. This is followed by a screening of short films, featuring Gadsden and members of the Bambanani Group - Nondumiso Hlwele, Bongiwe Mba,Thobani Ncapai - followed by a discussion chaired by Tony Heaton.

For more information, see

Nothing Is Set In Stone

A monolithic musical sculpture made of gneiss stones, set in the tranquil settings in a nature reserve, is the latest creation from award-winning composer and singer Mira Calix, as part of London 2012 Festival and Secrets Hidden London. Nothing is Set in Stone is situated in Fairlop Waters, a nature reserve in the borough of Redbridge from now until 9 September 2012. The work was developed through Oxford Contemporary Music in partnership with the Mayor of London, the Natural History Museum and numerous environment and cultural organisations and Bill Gee and Susanna Roland.

The interactive sculptural song invites the public to contemplate the modulations within nature and the ephemeral quality of music. The installation is part of a series of extraordinary site-specific collaborations set in a range of unusual locations across London this summer. For more information, see