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08 Aug 2012
London 2012 , IOC News

London 2012 Festival reaches halfway point

More than nine million people have already taken part in free cultural events, exhibitions and performances put on as part of the Cultural Olympiad, which has now reached its half way mark.

The UK-wide London 2012 Festival, which began on 21 June and runs for 12 weeks, has more than 25,000 artists taking part in over 12,000 events and performances.

Director of London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad Ruth Mackenzie highlighted that there is still more to come, saying: “So far, over 9 million free opportunities have been taken up to get involved and we are really happy to have a further 5 million free opportunities still to come, and many more exciting events to attract audiences.”

The last seven days has seen the opening of the most ambitious Edinburgh Festivals season ever, which is taking a starring role in the Cultural Olympiad. Organisers have created a number of large scale, one-off, signature events specifically for the London 2012 Festival.

These include a collaboration between London 2012 Festival and seven Edinburgh Festivals, such as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh Art Festival and Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Turner Prize winner Susan Philipsz launched the Edinburgh festivities with her first-ever exhibition in the city – a multi site sound installation, while NVA’s Speed of Light, in partnership with the Edinburgh International Festival, saw hundreds of runners wearing specially designed light suits take to the intricate path networks below the famous Arthur’s Seat.

Kath Mainland, Chair of Festivals Edinburgh, described the process behind the event: “Working together, Edinburgh’s Festivals have developed collaborative programming approaches in 2012 which have been inspired by the values of the movement of the Olympic & Paralympic Games. They celebrate the internationalism of the Festivals and will see over 75 countries represented at, and promoted through, the Festivals in 2012.”

Elsewhere in the UK, Benjamin Britten’s children’s opera Noye’s Fludde will take place at Belfast Zoo with the help of a huge chorus of local children supported by professional opera singers and musicians.

The World Shakespeare Festival continues its run with performances around the UK including a multimedia adaptation of Coriolan/us taking place in a 90m x 50m aircraft hangar in the Vale of Glamorgan.

This year’s BBC Proms season is also running as part of the London 2012 Festival and the next seven days will see three BBC commissions receive their world premieres by national youth orchestras including Gavin Higgins’s Der Aufstand, premiered by the National Youth Wind Orchestra under James Gourlay on 12 August.

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