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How Dorset's Olympic celebrations will make it a summer like no other
CREATIVITY will resonate through Dorset in July with an ambitious programme of events as part of the county’s huge creative celebration.
The Maritime Mix – London 2012 Cultural Olympiad by the Sea, includes world class theatre, open-air mass choir performances, visual arts, multi-media arts festivals, earth science and art, panoramic video projections, participative music, dance and street celebrations.
Most of the events are free to attend, giving locals and visitors to Weymouth, Portland and the Jurassic Coast the chance to celebrate the area’s status as the second largest Olympic venue after the capital and host to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing events.
A diverse programme of more than 80 events will animate the region between now and September 19.
“This will be a summer like no other,” said Richard Crowe, London 2012 Creative Programmer for the South West.
The programme includes the spectacular Moving Tides Progression in Weymouth on July 12, a procession welcoming the Olympic Flame to the town with a parade performed by 700 children from 19 schools in Weymouth, Portland and Dorchester.
Costumes will capture the procession’s theme of Oceans of the World, created under the guidance of Arts University College Bournemouth.
A landmark project bringing hundreds of voices together to perform new work inspired by the Jurassic Coast takes place at Lighthouse Poole on July 8 and at Weymouth beach on July 27.
Coastal Voices, led by musical director Howard Moody, will see four new commissions by Sonia Slany, John Surman, John K Miles (inspired by work with Billy Bragg, B-Sharp and young people of West Dorset and East Devon) and Marc Yeats performed by community choir groups.
On July 25 until August 2 a new island nation art installation will be anchored in Bowleaze Cove, Weymouth. Nowhereisland by Alex Hartley is a new island nation originating from the Arctic, voyaging around the south west’s spectacular coastline.
If you want to join in the opening celebrations of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games then head down to Weymouth July 26 to 28.
Circus performers, aerial artists and community choirs will “swarm” Weymouth beach as part of Battle for the Winds, Coastal Voices and Eliza Carthy’s Welcome Songs; all heralding the Opening Ceremony transmission via the Live Site.
Battle for the Winds begins on July 26 with the arrival of the seven wind-gathering vessels in Weymouth, to deliver the south west winds.
“Aeolus, father of the winds has summoned groups of wind gatherers from across the south west to collect the breezes in fantastical vessels,” explained Richard. “These powerful winds must be released to power the Olympic sailing. Dotted around various locations in Weymouth these fantastic wind machines will entertain in their own individual way with trapeze artists, street theatre and circus performers.
“They’ll be on their guard as rumour has it stone-being Doldrum wants to steal the winds to stop the Olympic sailing. Will he make an appearance, steal the winds and take them to the High Angle Battery, Portland on July 27 for a multi-media installation of dance, visual arts and locally captured sounds played out in this eerie and mysterious location? You’ll have to come and find out.”
There’ll also be the chance to enjoy the outdoor performance of circus and dance in the Battle for the Winds ‘Final Battle’ on Weymouth beach on July 28.
Adding to the extravaganza in Weymouth is the 21-metre ICCI360 Arena, which will host live music and dance performances, as well as photography, animation and interactive gaming from July 26 to September 9.
From July 27 to September 9, b-side multi-media arts festival will be serving up an array of site-based contemporary art in Weymouth and Portland and Exploratory Laboratory (ExLab) will deliver a programme of visual artworks created by five commissioned artists offering new understandings of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site.
Richard said: “These are all just for starters. Remember that Maritime Mix – London 2012 Cultural Olympiad by the Sea continues until September 9 so please visit maritimemix2012.co.uk for the complete programme of this fabulous creative celebration and enjoy a summer like no other.”