July 7, 2011
London 2012 Olympics
The launch of a 12-week arts festival to coincide with the 2012 London Olympics has been announced.
The festival, named Festival 2012, will bring together all of the cultural celebrations that surround the Olympics, and showcase the artistic influences that have had an impact on the nation.
The announcement of the festival has come after a new artistic team took over the running of the Cultural Olympiad – a series of events to display the UK’s art and culture to the rest of the world.
The arts manager, Ruth Mackenzie has said that the festival would aim to define the celebratory mood of the Olympics. The artistic team has £75.5m to spend on the whole festival, including £15.6m from the National Lottery and £3m from the British Council.
The Barbican in London will host a line-up of international stars, including actors Juliette Binoche and Cate Blanchett. The centre will host the biggest exhibition in the UK for 40 years focussing on the Bauhaus design school, which thrived in the 1920s and 30s.
The Barbican director, Sir Nicholas Kenyon states that the Barbican will be at the forefront of what will be a big moment for the UK, “with an extraordinary range of cultural experiences for all”. He also says reveals that it will be a “real collection of things that we believe in that represent the Barbican values.” The Barbican will receive a special grant of £700,000 from the London Olympics organisers to join the nationwide arts festival.
The art festival’s artistic team has announced a few highlights of next year’s festival. One of which is the Bauhaus exhibition, named Art as Life.
It will track the history of the design school from its founding year in 1919, right through to its forced closure by the Nazis in 1933. It will feature paintings, sculptures, film, photography, textiles, ceramics and architecture.
French film star Juliette Binoche will star in Mademoiselle Julie, a new French version of August Strindberg’s play, featuring costumes by French fashion house Lanvin. Cate Blanchett also returns to the London stage after 13 years in a new version of the German play Gross and Klein. It will be a co-production between the Barbican and the Sydney-based theatre company that Blanchett runs with her husband.
African and Western musicians will also unite as Africa Express – a collective founded by British musician, Damon Albarn. They will visit UK towns and cities on its most ambitious tour yet.
Festival 2012 will run from 21st June, until the last day of the Paralympic games on 9th September next year.