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Carnival Crossroads brings the East to life in the run up to 2012

  • Date: 9 December 2010
  • Area: National, South East

Preparations are being made in the East region for the grand finale celebrations of the Cultural Olympiad - the London 2012 Festival.

Opening on midsummer's day 21 June 2012 and running until the last day of the London 2012 Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012, the festival will showcase an outstanding summer of arts and culture in the UK.

Communities across the East of England will take part in the festival as part of Carnival Crossroads, a project run by artistic facilitator Keith Khan and led by the UK Centre for Carnival Arts (UKCCA) in Luton.

The UKCCA plays a vital role in developing carnival as an artform and building vital networks nationally and internationally. It works to support agendas for neighbourhood renewal and regeneration, tourism development, arts in education, business development and community cohesion.

Keith Khan has spent ten years creating carnival in Notting Hill and Trinidad. His mas camp skills have been crucial in his delivery of major works, including the Commonwealth Parade for the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002, and in his roles as Director of Design for the Manchester Commonwealth Games and Head of Culture for the London 2012 Olympic Games from 2006 to 2008.

Carnival Crossroads is taking place over the next two years in five towns and cities, including Cambridge, Norwich, Southend, Luton and Ipswich.

The project intends to get community groups, artists and educational establishments involved in carnival, allowing people to experience the parades, costumes and culture.  All the groups will come together to showcase their costumes and perform in East of England regional parades in 2011. In 2012 the groups will take part in the biggest one-day carnival in Europe - Luton International Carnival.

More than half a million people have already taken part in Cultural Olympiad events and activities in the East of England, bringing the inspiration of London 2012 into local communities. More than 20 cultural projects in the region have been awarded the Inspire mark, bringing 445 workshops and 562 events with a collected value of over £1.8 million to the region.

Further projects planned for the region in the run up to the Olympics include Arts Council England's Artists taking the lead commission, On Landguard Point, by the Pacitti Company. Events for the commission are being scheduled for the summer 2011, resulting in a film that will be released in 2012.

More than 1,000 different UK events, including Carnival Crossroads, will be featured on a special website, going live in summer 2011. The aim is for more than three million people to attend and be part of London 2012 Festival.