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Blanchett, Ayckbourn & Rylance Feature in London 2012 Fest

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Details of the London 2012 Festival - the climax of the Cultural Olympiad - have been announced.

Among the theatre highlights are a new production of Botho Strauss's Gross und Klein starring Cate Blanchett at the Barbican, a festival dedicated to the work of Beckett in Enniskillen and a season of works celebrating the work of Alan Ayckbourn.

These join previously announced initiatives including the World Shakespeare festival – a collaboration between the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe and National Theatre - to form the spine of the theatre programme.

The Festival runs from Midsummer’s Day (21 June) until 9 September 2012, in venues nationwide. It will include a mass bell-ringing organised by Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed, in which “every bell in the land” will be rung continuously for a period of three minutes to mark the commencement of the games (27 July).

Other initiatives include Big Dance, which will see dancers “take over shopping centres, parks and galleries near you for the world’s biggest dance party”, and the premiere of Dr Dee (25 June - 7 July), a new opera from songwriter Damon Albarn, director Rufus Norris and English National Opera.

In London there will be “an unparalleled programme of free events” being planned by the Mayor's Office, including pop-up performances of Shakespeare by Mark Rylance and the “biggest ever” performance of West End Live - the annual free concert in Leicester Square featuring a host of top shows.

Handspring Puppet Company (War Horse) will present the world premiere of a show based on Ted Hughes’ CROW poems for Greenwich Council and Greenwich + Docklands International Festival. And award-winning theatre company Punchdrunk will collaborate with the Doctor Who team to create The Crash of The Elysium, a “live Doctor Who adventure in which the audience are the stars”.

Elsewhere, the Royal & Derngate in Northampton will present Festival Of Chaos, exploring the contemporary relevance of Dionysius. And National Theatre Wales will present a new play, In Water I’m Weightless, by Kaite O’Reilly, inspired by the lives of deaf and disabled people, directed by John McGrath with choreography by Nigel Charnock.

The London 2012 Festival will also celebrate the work of Alan Ayckbourn, with two plays presented as part of a new collaboration between the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough and Chichester Festival Theatre. Alongside a major revival of one of Ayckbourn’s works, he will direct the world premiere of his 76th play, while theatres across the country will stage special productions of his plays for children.

For further details of the Festival programme and to book tickets, visit London2012.com.


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