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Milton Keynes set to enjoy a Summer of Culture in 2012

  • Date: 10 May 2012
  • Area: South East
Big Top Theatre Tent in Campbell Park, Milton Keynes International Festival 2012

Big Top Theatre Tent in Campbell Park, Milton Keynes International Festival 2012.

London 2012, the Cultural Olympiad, and an international festival are all part of Milton Keynes’s most exciting cultural programmes, supported through Arts Council’s Grants for the arts.

Summer of Culture brings an exciting range of arts, heritage and sports celebration events to the city from May to September, with literally hundreds of events free for all ages.

This innovative programme is supported with a £96,587 Arts Council England Grants for the arts award. Grants for the arts invests National Lottery money to support activities that engage people in the arts and helps artists and arts organisations with their work.

Milton Keynes Summer of Culture was created by a number of partners including Milton Keynes Council; Arts Council England National portfolio organisation The Stables; Fringe MK:Westbury; the Milton Keynes Parks Trust and Destination MK.

Many of the cultural activities in Milton Keynes’s Summer of Culture are supported through Arts Council England. They represent some of the finest national and international artists and organisations whose work seeks to capture the imaginations of hundreds of thousands.

The glory of London 2012 comes to the city on 9 July when the Olympic Torch travels through Milton Keynes as part of the 2012 Torch Relay. July also sees three special festivals: the Milton Keynes Festival Fringe (10 to 29 July) and the Milton Keynes Dance Festival (12 to 15 July), and the Milton Keynes IF: the International Festival (20 to 29 July).

A major highlight is IF: Milton Keynes International Festival 2012 in July, run by The Stables and offers 10 days of the most inspiring world class arts located in public and unusual spaces. Now in its second year, the festival will form part of the London 2012 Festival, presenting the UK premier of dance and circus arts work Rouge by Cambodian company Phare Ponleu Selpak.

The Inspire marked Milton Keynes Festival Fringe will accompany the International Festival with its own brand of quirky fringe arts events such as street bazaars, giants parades, and cycle powered green cinema and using unusual venues such as beach huts and Arriva Buses for its visual arts installations and multi art performances. The Fringe Festival is supported with an Arts Council England Grants for the arts award. 

Two of the Arts Council’s Artist taking the lead commissions for the Cultural Olympiad will be taking centre stage in the city. The Boat Project, a special yacht fashioned from thousands of wooden donations and created by artists Lone Twin will travel to Milton Keynes and will be moored during the MK International Festival.

Later in August, the West Midlands Artist taking the lead project Godiva Awakes, a 10-meter high puppet powered by 100 cyclists cycles into the city, from Coventry enroute to the Olympic Games in London, sparking off celebrations throughout the city. The work is created by Imagineer Productions.

Dr Ann Limb OBE, Chair of South East Midland Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), says: 'Visitor economy is one of SEMLEP's six showcase sectors and arts and culture are hugely important contributors to the sector. SEMLEP is delighted with the programme of events that has been brought together for Milton Keynes Summer of Culture and hope that as many businesses and individuals will take art in the vast range of activities available over the next four months.'

Sally Abbott, Regional Director, Arts Council England says: ‘Milton Keynes’ Summer of Culture is a brilliant idea. It draws together talented arts and cultural organisations and the events they produce to make a massive cultural offer that is accessible to local communities, as well as appealing to the rest of the country.

‘The Arts Council has long been a champion for the city, investing in the arts infrastructure and brokering relationships between artists, arts organisations and other public and private sector bodies to lever in more money for the arts and to create new opportunities for people to engage in the arts. Milton Keynes is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK and it deserves a big splash like this for 2012. We are delighted that Milton Keynes Council and partners have worked closely together to pull this off and even more so that we have supported it through our National Lottery funded Grants for the arts scheme.’

Milton Keynes Summer of Culture runs from June to September 2012. For more information, see