LONDON.- Over 12 million people have attended the London 2012 Festival across the UK, which is now over halfway through its run.
The numbers calculated up to the end of July, announced today, show that 9.6 million people have taken part in free events and exhibitions as part of the London 2012 Festival so far. This includes 2.9 million participants in Martin Creeds London 2012 Festival commission Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes to herald the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The overall figures for the period are expected to grow as more data is collected.
Among the millions of people and organisations taking part in Creeds mass participation artwork were HMS Belfast, Big Ben, The National Assembly for Wales, The Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, as well as 68,000 people who activated the artists free and exclusive ringtone, Work No. 1372, from the official London 2012 App. The event was broadcast live by the BBC on television, radio and online to an estimated audience of over 12 million people, and #allthebells was the top trend on Twitter in the UK throughout the morning of 27 July.
Ruth Mackenzie, Director of London 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad said: We are delighted that so many people across the UK have taken part and have enjoyed London 2012 Festival events in such huge numbers. 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 12 week UK-wide London 2012 Festival started on 21 June and features more than 25,000 artists featuring in more than 12,000 events and performances. The party continues in full swing across the UK beyond the London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony, with many more spectacular London 2012 Festival events taking place right up until the final day of the London 2012 Paralympic Games on 9 September.
This week sees the opening of the most ambitious Edinburgh Festivals season ever presented.
With a starring role in the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, Edinburghs Festivals have increased their programming ambitions this year and have created a number of large scale, one-off, signature events as part of the London 2012 Festival. Already world-class cultural brands with a truly international appeal, the 2012 programmes will place the Festivals at the heart of the UK cultural offer. The London 2012 Festival events illuminate the ambition and vision of the worlds leading Festival City. Prominently featured are showcases of the most exciting contemporary culture and ambitious collaborations between Scottish and international artists - asserting the true internationalism of Edinburghs Festivals and making them an even more vital part of the cultural offer during the Year of Creative Scotland.
London 2012 Festival is collaborating with seven of Edinburgh's celebrated festivals: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburghs Hogmanay, and Imaginate Festival.
Hundreds of runners in specially designed light suits transform Edinburghs iconic Arthurs Seat for NVAs Speed of Light as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.
The Edinburgh International Book Festival presents the Edinburgh World Writers' Conference, which returns for the first time since the legendary 1962 conference which gathered together some of the most important writers of the 20th century.
Lowland Hall at the Royal Highland Centre has been transformed into a dedicated theatre space for major Edinburgh International Festival presentations as part of its contribution to the London 2012 Festival performance programme.
The work of world-renowned theatre directors Ariane Mnouchkine, Silviu Purcărete, Christoph Marthaler, Grzegorz Jarzyna and Dmitry Krymov will be showcased at the Edinburgh International Festival.
Launching the festivities in Edinburgh is Timeline, Turner prizing-winning artist Susan Philipszs first ever exhibition in Edinburgh, a multi-site sound installation placed in an invisible line through the Scottish capital. Created in response to one of Edinburghs famous landmarks the One OClock Gun the piece is activated once a day as the gun sounds, with speakers creating an echo through the city (FREE, Edinburgh City Centre, 2 August 2 September 2012).
Embracing the Olympic sporting theme, NVAs Speed of Light, in partnership with the Edinburgh International Festival, brings the iconic peak of Arthurs Seat to life in a mass choreographed act of walking and endurance running, as hundreds of runners wearing specially designed light suits take to the intricate path networks below. Members of the audience are invited to become part of the work, carrying portable light sources set against the dark features of the hill (Arthurs Seat, 9 August 1 September 2012).
Also taking place outdoors is Caroline Bowditchs major multi-artform performance piece UNLIMITED: Leaving Limbo Landing in air, in water and on land featuring the stories of 12 East Londoners brought to life by a powerful all female cast of dancers and aerialists as part of the Made in Scotland programme at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (FREE, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, 16 - 20 August 2012).
As part of the Edinburgh International Festivals contribution to the London 2012 Festival, the 4,500 square metres of Lowland Hall at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, has been specially transformed into a performance space designed to accommodate shows of a huge scale. Three productions will take place in the historic venue: 2008: Macbeth sees acclaimed Polish director Grzegorz Jarzynas relocate Shakespeares work to a contemporary and brutal Middle East, produced by TR Warszawa (11 13 August, 15 - 18 August 2012); Theater Basels witty production of Meine Faire Dame - ein Sprachlabor, loosely based on My Fair Lady, directed by Christoph Marthaler, one of Europes most acclaimed and influential directors, who skilfully blends music by Lerner and Loewe, Weber, Wagner, Ravel and Bryan Adams into a subversive, profound and amusing examination of linguistic confusion (14 15 August, 17 - 19 August 2012); and legendary French director, Ariane Mnouchkines production Les Naufragés du Fol Espoir (Aurores) performed by Le Théâtre du Soleil, which transforms Lowland Hall into a spectacular world of the imagination and fantasy. Mnouchkines work has rarely been seen in the UK because of its sheer scale and complexity, and this is her first production in the UK for 20 years (23 25 August, 27-28 August 2012).
Other highlights of the performance programme in Edinburgh include: the world premiere of visionary Romanian theatre director Silviu Purcăretes version of Gullivers Travels exploring cultural and social aspects of contemporary society (Kings Theatre, Edinburgh, 17 - 20 August 2012); the world premiere of Russian artist and director Dmitry Krymovs A Midsummer Nights Dream (As You Like It), commissioned for the World Shakespeare Festival (Kings Theatre, Edinburgh, 24 - 26 August 2012); and a compelling and provocative performance of Shakespeares tragic poem The Rape of Lucrece by acclaimed singer Camille OSullivan in a Royal Shakespeare Company production as part of the World Shakespeare Festival (Royal Lyceum Theatre, 22 26 August 2012).
The London 2012 Festival has collaborated with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the worlds largest arts festival, to bring some of the biggest names in comedy to the stage. BBC Comedy Presents includes comedians such as Christopher Brookmyre, Shappi Khorsandi and Jenny Eclair. The best of the Fringes comedic talent will also take part in a specially billed, anarchic eight-hour show on BBC Threes Comedy Marathon, which will be broadcast live and online. Internationally acclaimed comedian Laurence Clark brings his new show Inspired to the Fringe as part of UNLIMITED; and Tales of the Riverbank Comedy Barge - Pleasance Ahoy! finishes its epic journey by canal from London to Edinburgh. This weeks live pop-up comedy gig takes place at Falkirk Wheel Visitors Centre (8 August, 4PM) and the Cargo in Edinburgh (12 August, 4PM).
Edinburgh International Book Festivals Edinburgh World Writers' Conference, an ambitious programming partnership with the British Council, will be launched to mark the 50th anniversary celebration of the seminal 1962 Edinburgh writers conference, which brought together some of the most important writers of the 20th century. 50 world renowned writers from 25 countries will gather for the five-day series, and features a stellar line up including Egyptian writer Ahdaf Soueif, Scotlands Irvine Welsh, Turkish author Elif Shafak, and British writers Ben Okri and Nick Laird (Charlotte Square Gardens, Edinburgh, 17 - 21 August 2012).
Also gathered in Edinburgh this August are Fringe directors and organisers from around the world, who will be taking part in the first ever World Fringe Congress. The congresss mission is to inspire the Fringe community and foster international collaboration to create a lasting network and help Fringes to work in partnership to achieve their aims (16 - 19 August 2012).
At the end of Edinburghs summer festival calendar, the Edinburgh Mela is a joyous riot of sounds, sights, colours and tastes, and will feature a performance by Red Baraat, the larger-than-life drum 'n' brass band from New York City. Presented by Asian Arts Agency, the nine piece band fuse the infectious North Indian rhythms of bhangra with funk, jazz, Latin and go-go and their sound is big, brassy and full of energy. The groups debut UK tour forms part of London 2012 Festival (2 September 2012).
On behalf of Edinburghs Festivals Kath Mainland, Chair of Festivals Edinburgh said: Working together, Edinburghs 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. While world-class athletes and the new generation of sporting talent have been competing in London, world class and emerging artists are currently taking to the stages and spaces of Edinburgh, as they do every year. There has never been a more exciting year to visit the Festival City to experience the most prestigious arts festivals in the world. We have worked closely with LOCOG and the Cultural Olympiad team to develop, explore and maximise the benefits offered through London 2012 and a number of the Festivals have specific projects which are part of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival.