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The Cultural Olympiad

01 May 2012

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Mabinogion Night Show, part of Cauldrons and Furnaces. Copyright © Arts Council Wales.Mabinogion Night Show, part of Cauldrons and Furnaces. Copyright © Arts Council Wales.

I will be writing two pieces for our Blog in May, the extra one to launch our special Torch Relay Blog later this month.  Leading up to that, our aim for the first two weeks of May is to feature some of the many other Cultural Olympiad and Inspire Mark projects which, like Discovering Places, take their inspiration from or take place in the natural and historic environments, and are highlighted on the ‘Uncover, Discover’ section of our website.

The Lake District is justifiably one of our most celebrated landscapes, and it is home to one of the most ambitious Inspire Mark projects.  ‘Lakes Alive’ is an annual season of outdoor performances which brings the towns, villages and spectacular scenery of Cumbria to life, bringing leading artists and performers from all over the world to showcase their work and engage local communities.  In 2012 performances include the transformation of Derwentwater by French Alchemists ‘Ilotopie’, whilst the world premiere of ‘On The Night Shift’ by Les Commandos Percu in Windermere will be one of the opening events of the London 2012 Festival in June.

On the Night Shift will be performed by Les Commandos Percu, part of Lakes Alive events in the Lake District this summer. Copyright © Daniel Saint Léger.

Meanwhile in Wales, the exemplary ‘Cauldrons and Furnaces’ has been running since the launch of the Cultural Olympiad in 2008.  In 2012, eight iconic sites – Denbigh, Flint, Harlech and Caernarfon castles in the north and Bleanafon Ironworks, St David’s Bishops Palace, Laugharne and Caerphilly Castles in the South – are gearing up for major spectacles when thousands of young people will be creating performances inspired by their local heritage.

These are just two examples of the projects which local communities and organisations have devised in response to the opportunities presented by London 2012 and by our wonderful environment.  Do have a look at our Uncover Discover listings, and above all, enjoy another month of discovering your local area, with the Torch Relay still to come…


Post by Loyd Grossman, Chairman of The Heritage Alliance.

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