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London 2012 Festival programme and Cultural Olympiad in West Midlands

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Fri, 16/03/2012

Launch of London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands.

The full programme in the West Midlands will include over 70 arts and cultural events and The London 2012 Festival will see the region’s leading companies join forces with international artists to be part of the UK’s biggest ever festival. Artists such as James MacMillan, Eliza Carthy and Kurt Hentschläger and major cultural institutions including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Royal Shakespeare Company perform, with the Festival taking in such iconic locations as the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, Much Wenlock (birthplace of the modern Olympic movement), Coventry Cathedral and Birmingham’s magnificent Symphony Hall.

Full details of the programme are available in a comprehensive ‘What’s On Guide’ which you will be able to download from or pick up around the region.

World’s first full performance of Mittwoch announced as part of London 2012 Festival programme in West Midlands.

As part of the launch it was also announced that the first full performance anywhere in the world of Karlheinz Stokhaussen’s formidable opera, Mittwoch (Wednesday), will be performed in Birmingham as part of the London 2012 Festival by Birmingham Opera Company. ‘Mittwoch aus Licht’(Wednesday from Light) is the final opera of Stockhausen’s monumental cycle of seven operas, ‘Licht’ (Light)

Stockhausen considered Licht, a cycle of 7 operas, one for each day of the week, the pinnacle of his achievements. Mittwoch (Wednesday) is the only part of the cycle he never saw staged.

As specified by Stockhausen himself, Birmingham Opera Company’s production will involve four helicopters in flight as well as over 150 top class performers, and a never before attempted complex technical set up including 4 giant screens receiving live images and sound from performers in the helicopters.

Further information about the production can be found at:

London 2012 Festival Opening Weekend – 21-24 June.

Four world-class events will take place in Birmingham and Coventry over four days as part of the opening weekend to the London 2012 Festival in June.

• One of three UK opening night concerts, the CBSO will perform the UK premiere of Birmingham-born Jonathan Harvey’s epic choral work, Welthethos.
• Motionhouse and Legs on the Wall present, The Voyage, a late-night dance spectacular taking place in Birmingham’s Victoria Square.
• The opening weekend continues in Coventry, with Coventry Cathedrals Golden Jubilee concert including the premiere of James MacMillan’s new work, Gloria.
• Elsewhere, mac in Birmingham will devote the opening weekend of the London 2012 Festival to the work of Heiner Goebbels, one of the world’s most sought-after composers.

The London 2012 Festival continues throughout the summer:

Following its opening weekend, highlights in the West Midlands London 2012 Festival programme will then include:
• CORE, a digital artwork of lights, movement and sound, by Chicago-based Austrian artist Kurt Hentschläger at Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.
• The World Shakespeare Festival is a celebration of Shakespeare as the world’s playwright, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in collaboration with Globe to Globe.
• On 11 July, leading folk artist, Eliza Carthy, performs her Welcome Songs alongside a community choir as a prelude to the Wenlock Olympian Games in Shropshire.
• Artist couple Boyd & Evans present their penetrating landscapes at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery, the first major survey exhibition of this important duo.
• From July to September, everyone can get involved with the Summer Reading Challenge. Children are challenged to read six books during the summer.
• In Spill – a playground of dance, a specially commissioned performance visits playgrounds across the West Midlands, produced by DanceXchange.
• At 08:00, Friday 27 July - the first day of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games - the nation is invited to ring thousands of bells, as part of Martin Creed’s, All the Bells.
• The summer ends with Mandala, a bold collaboration of South Asian dance and music with 3D projection onto Birmingham Town Hall produced by sampad South Asian arts.

Full details of the London 2012 Festival can be seen at

The Cultural Olympiad: New Music 20x12

Other highlights in the programme include New Music 20x12, a nationwide project that has asked 20 British composers to celebrate London 2012 by writing a new piece of music of 12 minutes length. In the West Midlands, Birmingham Conservatoire have created four of these new works, to be performed in the daylong showcase, New Music 20x12

• Joe Cutler’s Ping! combines a string quartet with table tennis in conjunction with the English Table Tennis Association (ETTA).
• Howard Skempton’s Five Rings Triples is for bell-ringers in association with the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR).
• The Voyage by Michael Wolters with Stan’s Café combines the legend of Ulysses with the themes of journey, adventure and return.
• Richard Causton’s Twenty-Seven Heavens offers a rare chance to explore a work in progress and discover how the composer is shaping his orchestral work.

All four pieces will be performed in a special event on 6 May in and around AE Harris in Birmingham. Find out more at and at

Dancing for the Games

Dancing for the Games, one of our flagship regional projects, will also see a number of events culminating in spectacular style this summer in celebration of the London 2012 Games:

• Breathe the Beat, produced by DanceXchange, is a series of roadshows touring the region as part of a new dance concept from French hip hop artist Salah.
• 12 Moves: After Dark will see the grand Croft Road railway arches in Worcester transformed into a gigantic cinema screen featuring projections of a fantastical dance fairytale.
• Believe produced by Highly Spring is a dynamic dance performance performed in celebration of the City of Coventry Stadium’s first Olympic football test event by 450 children.
• Home is a bold, inventive new production from DanceXchange that will begin quietly with a string of solos and eventually become one large-scale spectacular finale on 13 May.
• Desi Moves challenges local dancers to enter a dance-off, with the six best acts performing at Town Hall Birmingham on 18 May.
• Glow, is the culmination of 2Faced Dance Company’s, hr1, is an afternoon of dance culminating in a spectacular torch-lit finale performance after dark.
• We Dance is a two day festival on 13-14 July, showcasing dance with local learning disabled community groups, produced by Mencap with Birmingham Royal Ballet.
• Get Dancing at Stafford Castle on 14 July is a day long festival to mark the finale of Staffordshire’s fist ever county-wide dance programme.
• Encompass is a dance and digital media extravaganza in Much Wenlock. Audiences enter a huge dome where they are encompassed in a 360-degree dance experience.
• Lawk Naach will see thousands of people across the West Midlands learning and performing the vibrant and energetic Punjabi dance of Lawk Naach.

Find out more about all these projects at