Each evening from 10-12 July, the World Heritage-listed site has been transformed into a ‘Fire Garden’ by French outdoor alchemists Compagnie Carabosse, with fire sculptures flickering across the landscape, candles lining the pathways and flaming fire pots lighting up the ancient stone circle.
The striking installation forms part of the London 2012 Festival, which is currently taking part across the UK ahead of the Olympic Games. Running until 9 September 2012, the Festival features a wide variety of art forms, bring together more than 25,000 leading artists and performers from the UK and across the world.
Other recent highlights have included the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: World Cities 2012 season at Sadler’s Wells Theatre and the Barbican in London. The month-long season featured 20 sell-out performances of ten critically acclaimed productions that celebrated the late influential choreographer Pina Bausch.
The Barbican has also hosted a series of exclusive collaborations performed by some of America’s finest jazz musicians, which run until 26 July, while events have been taking place across the UK as part of Big Dance 2012 – the country’s biggest ever celebration of dance – which runs until 15 July.
Elsewhere, the Universe of Sound – which runs until 31 July – is giving members of the public the chance to conduct, play and step inside a virtual Philharmonia Orchestra, joining 105 musicians to perform Holst’s ‘The Planets’.
This extraordinary free interactive digital installation uses giant screens, projections and movement-based interaction to allow visitors to take part as musicians, conductors, arrangers and composers.
In total, more than 12,000 events will be held before 9 September, with 10 million free tickets and opportunities to take part. The 12-week festival is the culmination of the four-year Cultural Olympiad, which plays an integral role in the Olympic Games.
Culture has traditionally been an important part of the Games and this is continued today through Olympic cultural programmes such as the Cultural Olympiad, which sees host cities organise a series of cultural events in the build-up to the Games, as well as during the Games themselves. The programme spans myriad art genres and often includes plays, concerts, ballets and exhibitions, which are held within the host city and across the nation.
These artistic and cultural experiences contribute to setting the Olympic Games apart from other sporting events as they allow everyone – sports fans and non-sports fans alike – to get involved and enjoy the magic of the Olympic experience.