News from the Mayor of London

Culture and London in 2012

Here in London we get a regular update from the Mayor’s office.  Most of it won’t interest people from outside London unless they are coming into town on a Short break or a London theatre break. So as most of our visitors will be doing exactly that I thought I would pass any relevent bits of London news on to you.

So thanks in advance to Boris for the heads up  but remember this is from his office

Culture in 2012

The London 2012 Festival will be the most ambitious cultural festival of any Olympic Host City. The Mayor of London is staging a number of exciting world-class programmes such as Showtime – London’s biggest free outdoor arts festival across all 33 boroughs. The Mayor will also present Secrets: Hidden London – a unique series of free events in secret spaces encouraging visitors to explore hidden gems of the capital. A host of other special commissions and events will make this year a spectacular and memorable one, not least, are the events presented by London’s cultural sector. The Mayor has brought these events together through the online planning tool, The Culture Diary, which now holds over 4000 cultural events that will be promoted throughout Games time.

Olympic Park

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be the largest and most significant designated parkland to be created in Europe in more than 150 years. Since 2008, artists, many of whom are local to the area, have been involved in making the park an appealing place to visit, work and live. A key element of the park has been the ArcelorMittal Orbit – an iconic visitor attraction designed by the renowned artist Anish Kapoor in partnership with Cecil Balmond. Other commissions include Monica Bonvicini’s illuminating RUN sculpture, as well as more discrete yet no less perfectly executed works such as Keith Wilson’s Steles will be adorning the canal side.

Big Dance

Big Dance is the UK’s biggest celebration of dance. In 2010, more than a million people took part in over 850 Big Dance activities and events in parks, shops, tube stations, schools, theatres, museums and streets, celebrating the diversity and creativity of London. This summer, an estimated five million people are expected to take part throughout the UK.

Fourth Plinth

The Mayor’s Fourth Plinth Programme is the most thought provoking and much debated contemporary art sculpture prize in the UK. In recent years the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, chaired by Ekow Eshun, has commissioned works by internationally renowned artists including Antony Gormley, Yinka Shonibare and Elmgreen and Dragset. Works range in form and continually push boundaries, challenging our ideas of public sculpture. Antony Gormley’s One & Other involved ‘Plinthers’ having direct access to the plinth as a place to perform, protest or proclaim. Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle brought us the biggest ever ship in a bottle. This year, Elmgreen & Dragset have installed an equestrian inspired golden boy on a rocking horse.


In a climate of reduced funding, the Mayor has drawn in new sponsors and supported an extensive programme of events such as Shubbak, Story of London, Mayor’s Thames Festival, New Year’s Fireworks, Chinese New Year, St Patrick’s Day, St George’s Day, Pride London, Carnival del Pueblo, London Mela, Notting Hill Carnival, Liberty, London Jazz Festival, New Year’s Eve Fireworks, The Diamond Jubilee and many more.

Well I hope you found all of that interesting and that it helps you organise your next London theatre break.

If you want to here more you can always follow him on Twitter here.

About Simon Harding

Simon Harding has grown up in and around London's Theatreland and has been working here ever since he left school: promoting its shows to anyone who will listen!

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