For those of you who have been living down a badger hole in Outer Mongolia for the last few years, you may not have heard, but 2012 is the year of the London Olympics. We round up the best of the Cultural Olympiad...
That’s right – the world’s greatest sporting event is coming to London in all its ringing glory. But if you’re more aesthete than athlete, don’t worry: the 2012 Cultural Olympiad will be an incredible celebration of international arts right here on your doorstep. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.
This summer, (IdeasTap partner) NSDF and Sheffield Theatres, in association with Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University will be putting on a nine-day celebration of the best international young people’s theatre. Taking place in Sheffield, between 22 and 30 June 2012, NSDF ISDF (International Student Drama Festival) will feature work whittled down from a shortlist that includes plays from Nigeria, Egypt, Canada, Israel, Vietnam, Rwanda, Russia, Palestine and France, to name but a few. Tickets are available now, not to mention the opportunity to join the front of house and technical teams, and submissions from UK companies and still very welcome. So, get involved!
If you simply can’t wait until June, there are events a-plenty kicking off earlier in the year. For instance, this April will see the launch of the World Shakespeare Festival in sunny Stratford. From 23 April, thousands of artists from around the world will take part in almost 70 productions all across Britain, including London, Newcastle/Gateshead, Birmingham, Wales and Scotland. Visit the website to see what’s on near you. For starters, Shakespeare’s Globe will perform all 37 of William Shakespeare's plays in 37 languages, from Urdu to Swahili, beginning on 23 April. Find out more.
For those of you based in London, the London 2012 Festival will take place from 21 June to 9 September and will include some of the most exciting international art, dance, theatre, comedy and music happening at the moment. Even parliament is getting involved with a special kathak piece, involving dance, storytelling, music and projected visuals by South Asian dance company Akademi, performing in Westminster Hall. For all the events taking place at Westminster Hall, visit the Parliament website.
Artangel, Living Architecture and the Southbank Centre have an extraordinary cultural opportunity for 2012: one Londoner every month will stay overnight in a specially-designed boat on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank Centre, known as A Room for London. While in this room, they will be expected to act as a “thinker-in-residence” discussing, exploring and examining their ideas about London, from this unique riverside perch. To find out more and to apply, visit the website.
Our lovely new partner, the British Film Institute, is also getting in on the 2012 action with a screening of the restored Hitchcock thriller The Lodger. A new soundtrack for the film has been specially composed by Brit-Asian musical legend Nitin Sawhney, while over in Wilton’s Music Hall the BFI will be screening Hitchock’s first film as a director, The Pleasure Garden.
From 6 June to 9 July, Sadler’s Wells and Barbican are presenting a season of 10 works by the late, great choreographer Pina Bausch called Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: World Cities 2012. The 10 international co-productions will explore 10 global locations; India, Brazil, Palermo, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Budapest, Istanbul, Santiago de Chile, Rome and Japan and be performed by the Tanztheater Wuppertal company, of which Pina Bausch was director. To find out more, visit the website.
If you prefer your art visual, then feast your eyes on the selection of Olympics posters created by Britain’s top contemporary artists, including Chris Ofili, Tracy Emin, Martin Reed and Bob and Roberta Smith. You can even buy one.
Young writers may want to check out the Cultural Olympiad’s New Views national playwrighting competition. Students between 16 and 19 from 60 schools and colleges across the country will write their own 30-minute play exploring their contemporary society, to be submitted this May. For more information and to apply, visit the National Theatre website.
Are you a film-maker? Do you have an Olympic story you'd like to tell? IdeasTap are linking up with BBC Big Screens and the National Archives to offer you the opportunity to submit your work to be sseen across the country. Visit the brief.
Beijing 2008 Olympic Cupcake by clever cupcakes via Flickr under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.