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A Song for Dover – arts and culture celebrated in Dover's Torch Relay event

  • Date: 18 July 2012
  • Area: South East
Light Up Dover! by The World Famous, a pyrotechnic animation of Dover Harbour to celebrate the Cultural Olympiad launch, September 2008

Light Up Dover! by The World Famous, a pyrotechnic animation of Dover Harbour to celebrate the Cultural Olympiad launch, September 2008. Credit: Matthew Andrews

The Olympic Torch is coming back to Dover today for the first time in 64 years, and to celebrate, Dover District Council has commissioned a series of arts activities and events, as part of London 2012 Festival.

A Song for Dover is supported with more than £100,000 in Arts Council England Grants for the arts funding and builds on the success of the Cultural Olympiad launch in 2008, engaging world class artists and the community, working with The World Famous and Kent County Council.

Grants for the arts is Arts Council England’s open application funding programme. It invests National Lottery money to support activities that engage people in the arts and helps artists and arts organisations with their work.

The artistic and cultural programme includes a pyrotechnic finale by The World Famous and the Pass the Passion Choir, both of which will be screened by the BBC.

Dover is the largest Arts Council investment in a Torch Relay event in the South East in recognition of the event’s potential to fulfil the Arts Council’s mission of Great art for everyone and ultimately to increase audiences for the arts in the town and promote the town as a cultural destination.

The Dover Torch Relay event is expected to attract 30,000 people and bring both short and long-term benefits to the district, with local papers reporting record highs for hotel and bed and breakfast bookings.

Creativity is woven into this event by co-artistic directors Pippa Bailey and Mike Roberts of The World Famous, working with a range of partners including Kent County Council and Dover District Council.

On Wednesday 18 July, the streets of Dover will be lined with knitted bunting produced by hundreds of hands working with Dover Arts Development’s (DAD) Bunting Forever project. DAD is also producing an impressive woollen archway of flowers and pompoms, leading people to this once-in-a-lifetime evening celebration on Dover seafront.

Highlights tonight include a performance from UK hip hop duo Rizzle Kicks, the Pass the Passion choir with children from every district school working with celebrated musician Richard Bundy; and a specially choreographed acrobatic display integrating dance and gymnastics.

The evening will climax in a spectacular symphony of local choirs, including the Snowdown Male Voice Choir and Pharos Chamber Choir. Internationally acclaimed composers Helen Chadwick and Howard Moody are creating the music, woven together with the rhythms and illuminations of Maria Hingerty’s firework design by the innovative pyrotechnic team at The World Famous.

Sally Abbott, Regional Director, South East, Arts Council England, says: ‘A Song for Dover is an exciting community celebration of the Olympic Torch’s journey through Kent, showcasing the fantastic artists and arts organisations living and working in the town, and offering the people of Dover an opportunity to feel part of London 2012.

'The Torch’s arrival in Dover marks an important moment in celebrating the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival – cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements.

'The past four years have already seen more than 18 million people all over the UK participating in or attending over 9,000 performances and more than 8,000 workshops as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Now it is your chance to be part of this wonderful event. Great art and culture makes life better so find out what’s on near you, take part and enjoy!’

The Dover Torch Relay, including the Song of Dover, takes place on Wednesday 18 July. The relay starts at 6pm, from the Prince of Wales pier, going through the town, and will end on the stage at Marine Parade at around 7.20pm. The fireworks finale and Song For Dover choirs starts at 9.45pm. Watch it live here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/torchrelay/day61