Media Release: London 2012 Festival programme for Scotland revealed


FROM Shetland via Stirling to Selkirk, Scotland will host an once-in-a-lifetime concert, outstanding theatre for children, a filmic dip in the UK’s wild waterways and a celestial soundscape inspired by the curves of a city museum in the summer of 2012 for the London 2012 Festival.

London 2012 and Creative Scotland today unveiled many of the London 2012 Festival events taking place in Scotland between Midsummer’s Day, 21 June 2012, and the last day of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012

Scotland’s London 2012 Festival programme, which is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, is part of a programme of events happening across the UK celebrating the huge range, quality and accessibility of the UK’s world-class culture, and giving the opportunity for people to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Today’s launch featured one of the easiest ways to participate. Turner Prize-winning artist and musician Martin Creed invites the people of Scotland to join in with Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes, a project which encourages people across the UK to rings bells as loudly and quickly as they can at 8.00am on 27 July 2012 to welcome the 205 competing nations on the first day of the Games.

Martin Creed joined chair of the Cultural Olympiad Board Tony Hall, Cultural Olympiad & London 2012 Festival director, Ruth Mackenzie, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Fiona Hyslop MSP, and the children of Big Noise Orchestra at St Andrew’s and St George’s Church in Edinburgh to ring bells to encourage people to sign up to be part of the work.

On Midsummer Night, the first day of the London 2012 Festival, Gustavo Dudamel and The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela will perform a spectacular outdoor concert in the heart of a Scottish community where their ‘El Sistema’ philosophy has taken root.

Playing ‘The Big Concert’ – the opening Concert of the London 2012 Festival in Scotland – Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela will perform this open air concert in the shadow of Stirling Castle.

Maestro, Dudamel, the Venezuelan conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the orchestra will be ‘artists-in-residence’ with the children from the Big Noise orchestra in the days before the family concert and the children will perform with their Venezuelan mentors.

Film director, Lynne Ramsay, will write and direct The Swimmer, following the travels of a lone swimmer in the wild waterways of the UK, ending in Nairn and soundtracked to a selection of seminal British music.

Ramsay’s current film We Need to Talk About Kevin is a critical and box office success.

The Swimmer will be produced by Peter Carlton at Warp Films and is part of a suite of short films commissioned by the London 2012 Festival, BBC Films and Film Four for the festival.

At Glasgow’s Riverside Museum, the celebrated Kronos Quartet will perform Terry Riley’s Sun Rings, live to a spectacular film of deep space from NASA’s archive.

Composer, Riley, first came to prominence in the 1960s and his hypnotic, multi-layered, polymetric, brightly orchestrated Eastern flavored improvisations and compositions set the stage for the New Age movement that was to appear a decade or so later.

Simultaneously, a host of composers, headed up by Scanner – whose previous collaborators have included Michael Nyman and choreographer, Wayne McGregor – will create new works inspired by Zaha Hadid’s building, as well as working with young Glasgow musicians to create a personal soundtrack for visitors.

For children and young people, the Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival, has commissioned two new world class productions, from two of Scotland’s finest creators of theatre for children and young people under the banner of Truce – Celebrating the Olympiad, a cornerstone of the Olympic movement.

Andy Cannon and Mull Theatre will present Scota-land and Andy Manley and macrobert present Mikey and Addie.

These two plays will tour throughout Scotland from the far north and islands to the south in Dumfries and Galloway.

Screenplay, Shetland’s annual film festival will produce ‘A Hansel of Film – Shetland to Southampton and Back, a relay of screenings of short films made by the public in every part of the UK. Screenplay’s curators, the acclaimed film critics, Mark Kermode and Linda Ruth Williams, will take films made by Shetlanders and others to over 20 venues across the UK in a celebration of ‘home made’ short films that feature in every Screenplay film festival.

This will culminate in a marathon screening of over 120 short films at Screenplay 2012 between 4th and 9th September.

Pioneering climate and culture organisation Cape Farewell presents new stories from Scotland’s islands about people, place and resources, working with artists from India and the UK, including Jo Shapcott, Julie Fowlis and Atul Bhalla, to ‘translate’ contemporary and traditional stories into new forms, and pass them in digital relay from island to island and across the mainland.

Ticket holders to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations will be treated to an extra special piece of digital art direct to their mobile phone to mark the first countdown event of the London 2012 Festival.

The London 2012 Festival has commissioned Anthony Lilley and Magic Lantern to work with one of the UK’s greatest artists, using augmented reality technology to create a once in a lifetime app for all Hogmanay goers.

London 2012 Festival and Dundee Contemporary Arts will commission a new digital artwork for an iconic site in Dundee.

For Music Nation, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra will be joined by, among others, Nicola Benedetti, members of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and the National Youth Choir of Scotland for a celebration of sporting and musical heroes in Glasgow, including the world premiere of a newly-commissioned fanfare from Scottish composer, James MacMillan.

Ruth Mackenzie, director of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, said: “The programme for London 2012 Festival will deliver once-in-a-lifetime cultural experiences for audiences across Scotland during the summer of 2012.

“We are excited by the spread and ambition of the projects, from events in Shetlands, the Hebrides and other islands, to a special site specific performance by American stars Kronos Quartet at Glasgow’s Riverside Museum, to a tour across northern Scotland of two wonderful new theatre works for young people commissioned by Imaginate.

“Opening the London 2012 Festival in Scotland in the shadow of Stirling Castle will be the world famous Gustavo Dudamel and his Simon Bolivar Orchestra playing with the children of Raploch to open the London 2012 Festival. The whole London 2012 Festival programme will be announced in April and aims to build the legacy to 2014 and beyond.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Fiona Hyslop, MSP said: “Scotland has a global reputation as a land of creativity and innovation and the London 2012 Festival is a fantastic opportunity to showcase and celebrate our exceptional creative talent on the international stage.

“This exciting programme features high-quality events and projects the length and breadth of our nation and will be one of the highlights of the Year of Creative Scotland in 2012.”

Andrew Dixon, chief executive, Creative Scotland: “This is a programme designed to showcase Scotland on a world stage – to inspire the watching world, but most importantly, to inspire those that are going to be there, in the audience at these events.   Creativity is life-changing and there should be more of it.

“We’ve created a programme that shows Scotland’s creativity at its best: contemporary, international and reflecting the joy that a vibrant cultural life brings to our communities. We can’t wait for you to enjoy this coming year.”

Richard Holloway, chair of the charity Sistema Scotland that runs Big Noise, said: “Join us at midsummer in Raploch and be uplifted by beautiful music and the hope it can inspire. I am excited that the visionary genius behind this wonderful El Sistema movement, Maestro José Antonio Abreu, will also be with us.

“We’ve longed for the day when he might come to see how we have applied his ideas here at the heart of Scotland. For him to join Gustavo Dudamel in bringing this astonishing orchestra to Raploch, with the eyes of the world upon us, is a thrilling prospect.

“It will be a highly-charged moment when Venezuela’s finest sons and daughters meet Scottish children who are embarking on the same wonderful musical journey.”

Tony Reekie, Imaginate’s chief executive, said: ‘We are delighted to be participating in the London 2012 Festival and to have been given the opportunity to commission two new pieces of work from two of Scotland finest creators of theatre for children and young people to represent Scotland on the world’s stage.”

Svend Brown, director of Music, Glasgow Life: ‘If there’s a theme to Sun Rings at Riverside, it is a reflection of the astonishing possibility of humanity: its endeavour and innovation over millenia. Zaha Hadid’s museum holds innumerable artifacts that map the story of human transport – from foot, to horse, the wheel…. Terry Riley completes the picture with this space age spectacular.

“Kronos are the stars, but the chance for young Glasgow composers to create their own responses to Hadid’s building and the collection brings a new generation into the story, giving the evening yet greater depth and richness.

“All in all, it’s the perfect celebration of Olympic spirit.”

Director of Shetland Arts, Gwilym Gibbons said: “Shetland Arts is thrilled to be taking an active part in the London 2012 Festival. It is a tribute to the creativity of our isles that Shetland has a role in delivering a UK-wide film project of this nature.

“It also comes at a very exciting time for us in the opening year of Mareel, Shetland’s new £12.2m music, cinema and creative industries centre.

“We will be inviting representatives from each of the participating regions and nations to come and join us back in Shetland for Screenplay 2012, making it a truly celebratory event.”

From the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, to the remotest corner of the Shetland Islands and Hadrian’s Wall on England’s most Northern border, from Stonehenge to the shores of Lake Windermere, to the forests of North Wales and right into the heart of the capital, the London 2012 Festival will celebrate the huge range, quality and accessibility of the UK’s world-class culture, and give the opportunity for people across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Not forgetting Forest Pitch, a football match deep in a forest, searing Shakespeare from two innovative theatre companies at the Edinburgh International Festival, performances from some of the UK’s leading disabled performers, a feat of precision choreography lit by cutting-edge technology on an iconic Scottish hillside with Speed of Light and over 20 concerts of New Music, commissioned to celebrate the London 2012 Festival. (see separate briefing)

With more events to be announced next year the London 2012 Festival is also a showcase opportunity for the Year of Creative Scotland and the 2014 Commonwealth Games: a chance to spotlight, celebrate and promote Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage throughout 2012. Scotland is a dynamic, contemporary country with ambitions to be one of the world’s most creative nations.

Big Dance, is recognised as the world’s largest and most influential dance initiative.

The celebrations will expand in 2012 to reach across the whole of the UK involving over five million people in the experience of dance. Highlights of the programme include a spectacular performance featuring a cast of over a thousand dancers in Trafalgar Square directed by Wayne McGregor on Saturday 14 July 2012, and with the British Council an invitation to young people all over the world to join in a global record-breaking attempt to be part of the largest multi-location dance routine ever performed.

Big Dance is an-UK wide initiative, and in Scotland, Get Scotland Dancing aims to encourage more people to get active and participate in dance. Scotland will participate in the Big Dance Schools Pledge and Big Dance Week during the summer of 2012.

Get Scotland Dancing will bring together professional and amateur dancers of all ages to dance in public spaces in our towns, villages and cities – bringing dance to the people and people to dance.

Edinburgh’s Festivals will play a major role in celebrating London 2012, with the world’s elite and emerging cultural talent gathering in Edinburgh while their sporting equivalents are in London.

As acknowledged by Ruth Mackenzie, director, Cultural Olympiad & London 2012 Festival, Edinburgh’s Festivals are a partner of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

The start of 2012 will be marked through a partnership with this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations, part of the countdown to the London 2012 Festival.

Our-world leading festival for children and young people, The Bank of Scotland Imaginate Festival, will create two major new pieces of work and Edinburgh’s summer Festivals will present an ambitious range of work inspired by the internationalism and aspiration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

A Cultural Olympiad highlight will certainly be NVA’s Speed of Light an Edinburgh International Festival production presented as part of a wider London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad Programme and involving many of Edinburgh’s other festivals.

Edinburgh’s Festivals’ programmes will celebrate culture on an unrivalled scale and in uniquely significant ways in 2012, building an invaluable legacy for the future.

In addition, 2012 has been designated Year of Creative Scotland and special emphasis will be given to supporting, showcasing and celebrating Scotland’s creativity.

A separate briefing detailing the individual Scottish projects taking place over the next three years is available on request.

Notes to Editors:

  • About the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements.  Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.

The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, bringing leading artists from all over the world together from 21 June 2012 in this UK-wide festival – a chance for everyone to celebrate London 2012 through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation.

Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor.  BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.

For more details visit

Press enquiries:

Paul Woodmansey
LOCOG Press Officer – Culture, Ceremonies & Education
Direct line: 0203 2012 461
Mobile: 07825 980 398
Press Office: 0203 2012 100


  • Creative Scotland is the national development agency for the arts, screen and creative industries.  Our vision is that Scotland will be recognised as one of the world’s most creative nations – one that attracts, develops and retains talent, where the arts and the creative industries are supported and celebrated and their economic contribution fully captured; a nation where the arts and creativity play a central part in the lives, education and well-being of our population.
    • Creative Scotland’s ambition is that Scotland will have the highest level of participation in the arts in the UK with creativity reaching into every home.
    • Creative Scotland is delighted to be a Supporter of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival. We’ve created a programme that shows Scotland’s creativity at its best: contemporary, international and reflecting the joy that a vibrant cultural life brings to our communities.
    • Scotland is in a unique and unprecedented position. The proximity, profile, vision and energy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – two of the world’s biggest sporting and cultural events – allows us to build a network of cultural connections across the world and within, and between, all of our communities.

Contact: Michelle Jordan, PR & Media Manager: 0777 085 1860

Sistema Scotland

  • Big Noise is an orchestra programme that aims to use music-making to foster confidence, teamwork, pride and aspiration in the children taking part – and across their wider community. It is based on the methods of Venezuela’s ‘El Sistema’ movement and is run by the charity Sistema Scotland. The first Big Noise centre was established in Raploch, Stirling in 2008. Further information is available at  Media contact: George Anderson on 07900 891691

Kronos Quartet at Riverside Museum:

  • Contact: Gordon Boag, Media Officer, Culture and Sport Glasgow. and
phone: 0141 287 6418
mobile: 07825 904240


  • An arts organisation that promotes and develops the performing arts for children and young people in Scotland.

The two plays are:

Scota-land: For more than one hundred years the beautiful ‘Crown of Destiny’ has held pride of place in the fictional Isle of Mikle’s ‘Scota-land’ museum – is it really the actual crown worn by Princess Scota, or is it just a fake…?

Mikey and Addie: It’s hard to tell when your life will change. Hard to spot that moment, that day where you wake up normal but end up falling far from everything you’ve ever known. Today is that day..

Contact: Sally Wilson, marketing and communications director  Tel: 0131 225 8050

Shetland Arts

Shetland Arts was founded in 2006. It brought together the work of two organisations whose collective histories provide Shetland Arts with a local, national and international reputation for arts development and delivery, built over 20 years of work and innovation.

Contact: Lisa Ward, marketing officer (also contact for images) 01595 743843

Year of Creative Scotland

  • Starting on the 1st January 2012, The Year of Creative Scotland will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. The London 2012 programme is one aspect of the diverse range of cultural and creative activity that Scotland will offer throughout 2012. Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL.

MEDIA RELEASE posted by Creative Scotland. You too can post media releases (aka press releases) on For more information, email here.

Contact: Michelle Jordan
Phone: 0131 523 0016