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Update on London 2012 Cultural Olympiad: South East

  • Date: 2 March 2012
  • Area: South East
Gold Run head. Gold Run, collaboration between Pallant House, Carousel and Glyndebourne, 2012

Gold Run head. Gold Run, collaboration between Pallant House, Carousel and Glyndebourne, 2012. Credit: Photographer: Andy Hood

The year we’ve been waiting for is here, and in the South East, there is no shortage of great art and culture to experience that will help you get in the mood for London 2012 Olympics.

From a chance to listen to free world music over an entire weekend in Southampton, to a fantastic new visual arts and music performed about the Paralympic Games at Glyndebourne, these awe-inspiring events will give you the opportunity to take part in the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements.

On Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 March 2012, Arts Council England regularly funded organisation Turner Sims joins BBC's Music Nation, a nationwide weekend of live events across the UK on as part of the BBC's contribution to the London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad, with their Southampton’s Musical Alphabet.

Sunday 1 April sees the premiere of Gold Run, an exciting new commission and partnership between three Arts Council England regularly funded organisations: disability arts organisation Carousel; Glyndebourne; and Pallant House Gallery. A 30-strong choir, action-packed film and a giant sculptural head combine in a dynamic performance inspired by the history of the Paralympic Games. The premiere takes place at Glyndebourne, 1 April, 3pm to 4.20pm. The work will also be performed on 21 May at The Corn Exchange, as part of Brighton Festival. Gold Run is supported with a £55,285 Arts Council England Grants for the arts award.

This year, our  Artist taking the lead commission by Lone Twin, The Boat Project, a bespoke yacht fashioned from thousands of wooden donations from people across the South East, took on a new captain and an artist-in-residence in preparation for their May launch. Mike Barham, from Gosport, Hampshire, will lead a team of sailors to crew the 30-foot yacht as it travels from Emsworth to Margate via Portsmouth, Brighton, Milton Keynes and Hastings in July 2012 as part of The Boat Project.

The Boat Project also welcomes aboard artist-in-residence Johny Lamb and his solo alt-folk project Thirty Pounds of Bone. Johny will create the Ship's Log, writing and producing a song during each leg of the maiden voyage, bringing to each song maritime and coastal themes, as well as stories of itinerancy, travel and nostalgia. Johny will perform each new song along with local musicians at each of the five major stop-off points.

A very special community project set along the Thames Valley with a magical Tree of Light at its centre is calling out for dance assistants to help put together a fantastic series of performances due to take place in June and July this year, involving over 1,200 dancers. The Tree of Light project is supported with a £200,000 Arts Council England Grants for the arts award and 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. The project is being delivered by a consortium that includes Ciao! Festival, Henley Festival, Oxford Inspires and Windsor Festival.

Since September, world-class artists such as choreographer Charlie Morrissey, composer Orlando Gough and installation design team Block9, have been running workshops with 40 groups in Reading, Oxford, Henley and Windsor involving colleges, youth and community groups. Each hub is developing spectacular performances involving music, choreography and cutting edge digital arts. Following the large scale community events the project will culminate in a spectacular finale involving all forty groups located at Stonor Park, Oxfordshire.