Yorkshire celebrates the London Olympics with a cultural extravaganza

PUBLISHED: 13:50 16 July 2012 | UPDATED: 21:38 20 February 2013

Soprano Natalie Raybould (left) who plays the part of Amy Johnson in ‘Amy’s Last Dive’ and composer Cheryl Frances Hoad get some last minute inspiration at the Amy Johnson Exhibition at Sewerby Hall, Bridlington. Photograph by Tony Bartholomew

Soprano Natalie Raybould (left) who plays the part of Amy Johnson in ‘Amy’s Last Dive’ and composer Cheryl Frances Hoad get some last minute inspiration at the Amy Johnson Exhibition at Sewerby Hall, Bridlington. Photograph by Tony Bartholomew

Cultural celebrations take shape in Yorkshire as the final countdown to the London 2012 Olympic Games begin

An ambitious programme of cultural events as part of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is rolled out in Yorkshire this summer.

More than 30 new projects have been commissioned by imove an arts programme funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to create a cultural and sporting legacy from the Olympic Games throughout the country.

Events in Yorkshire include classical music, dance and creative writing, all with a sporting twist, which take place in unusual locations and give people across the region the chance to hear, see and be a part of the cultural celebrations.

Classical music crosses into new territory with Cycle Song, a new opera written by Barnsley-based poet Ian McMillan and led by Sue Hollingworth, musical director of Scunthorpe Cooperative Junior Choir, an open-access choir which won the overall title of BBC Choir of the Year in 2008 and in collaboration with Proper Job Theatre Company, which will take place in the grounds of Brumby Hall, Scunthorpe on July 14th-15th.

The opera takes its inspiration from local cycling hero and Olympic medallist Albert Lal White and has a cast of more than 1,500 including local school children, professional opera singers, dancers, cycling groups and choral societies,

Amys Last Dive is a newly commissioned piece of classical music theatre with sung performances accompanied by a live classical score from Cheryl Frances-Hoad, British Composer Award Winner. Its based on the life of Amy Johnson, the little girl from Hull who grew up to set new world records in aviation.

Performances take place at the Workshop Theatre, Leeds University on June 28th and 29th and on July 6th at The Spa, Bridlington.
York plays host to two one-off classical performances in partnership with the National Centre for Early Music, including Alessandro Striggio: Mass in 40 Parts, which will be performed at York Minister by choral ensemble, I Fagiolini, whose recording of Striggios long-lost Mass stormed the classical charts in 2010 and won a Gramophone Award in 2011.

Walkers are invited to take to the moors and follow the Stanza Stones trail in which poet Simon Armitage explores the wild glory of the Pennine Watershed to create In Memory of Water. A brand new poem sequence is inscribed on a series of seven stones between Ilkley and his birthplace Marsden and visitors can follow the route by downloading a trail map from ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk/test/stanza-stones-trail-guide.

Sea Swim in Scarborough organised group swims followed by creative sessions in which original poems and creative writings were produced as part of a new exhibition that will tour the region until September. Sea Swim continues throughout the summer alongside artists in residence who will use a beach hut in Scarborough as their base for creative adventures and in which the public are invited to take part.

The Big Swim Weekend takes place on July 21st and 22nd with group swims at South Bay beaches and creative sessions at Scarborough Art Gallery.

We are excited that audiences from far and wide will soon be able to see the projects and new commissions which have been in development for many months, said Tessa Gordziejko, creative director of imove.

London 2012 has been a catalyst for artists to work in completely new ways and places and imove has given artists in the region the opportunity to stretch their practice and produce projects on a bigger scale than they had before.

We hope that as the public are engaged by the show of sporting excellence this year, they also are inspired by the creative talents were showcasing in the cultural arena. imove will create a lasting legacy for artists and performers and, we hope, create long-lasting memories of shared experiences for audiences.

Last year a number of critically acclaimed imove projects took place in dramatic Yorkshire locations including Freedom Studios The Mill City of Dreams which transformed the derelict Drummonds Mill in Bradford and explored the lives of a generation of immigrant mill workers in the city. Slung Low Theatre Companys Mapping the City engaged audiences in an imaginative, contemporary promenade performance around the city of Hull.

To find out more information about the imove events taking place across the region, as well as further projects still to be announced, go to imoveand.com or follow @imoveand on Twitter or Facebook, for regular updates.

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