x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Arts to sprout in London this Olympic summer

From Shakespeare to Bollywood, there are plenty of cultural events on during the Olympic Games.

A festival of fire at Stonehenge. Acrobatic displays in cathedral naves. String quartets in helicopters.

London Olympic organisers outlined an extravaganza of arts events to coincide with the 2012 Games, offering a blockbuster programme to cheer the nation and celebrate all things arty.

"There will be arts events taking place in unusual places all over the UK that will showcase the best in international culture when the eyes of the world are on us this summer," said the festival's director, Ruth Mackenzie.

Artists including Cate Blanchett, Damien Hirst, Wynton Marsalis, Yoko Ono and Ai Weiwei are set to take part.

The festival kicks off with Shakespeare and moves on to culture in just about every form imaginable, including an attempt to create the world's largest Bollywood dance. The artist Richard Wilson will recreate the final scene of The Italian Job by dangling a bus off the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, south of London.

Performances pop up at all the nicest places - along the River Thames, Hadrian's Wall, the shores of Lake Windemere. Some 900 venues will be used for the festival, which runs until September 9.

Some 12,000 events will feature 25,000 artists - including representatives of every nation competing in the Olympics, which end on August 12. London is also hosting the Paralympics from August 29 to September 9.

Among the unscripted events planned will be a full-size "bouncy castle" in the shape of Stonehenge that will go on a nationwide tour.

Visit www.london2012.com/festival

* AP