Region makes a song and dance about build-up to 2012.
The West Midlands will be taken over by music, dance and art at the weekend as part of the cultural celebrations for the 2012 Olympics.
The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad event will see dozens of artistic events held around the region, including Mobo award winning artist Soweto Kinch and more music from Orchestra of the Swan, Black Voices and Bombay Baja Brass Band.
All these will be among the performances that will kick start a four-year celebration of culture and creativity in the West Midlands.
The weekend will be launched in style at the historic Ironbridge Gorge Museum, the region's only World Heritage Site.
The famous bridge at Ironbridge - one of the icons of the Industrial Revolution - will be spectacularly illuminated on Friday night, marking the start of an "Open Weekend" taking in dozens of events in the West Midlands.
These range from the opening up of rarely seen natural habitats, to outdoor theatrical performance, storytelling and an urban cycling display set to light and music.
Organisers said the Cultural Olympiad was the next stage after a hugely successful Olympics and paralympics for the UK.
Paul Kaynes, the West Midlands Creative Programmer for the campaign, said: "The Cultural Olympiad is about making culture and creativity a key part of the Olympic and Paralympic experience - something that hasn't been done on quite this scale, across the whole country, ever before.
"The event in Ironbridge kick-starts the West Midlands' programme in style and opening a weekend of cultural activity with over 40 events across the region giving people the chance to experience everything from urban cycling set to music, to outdoor theatre, access to rare natural heritage parks and contemporary art."
Friday evening's events will take place at Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron, one of the ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums, and will be compered by ITN news anchor Nina Nannar.
Members of the public can get hold of tickets to the regional launch on a first come, first served basis by phoning 01275 335911 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The event will also be the launch pad for A Celebration of Imagination - a campaign to celebrate the anniversaries of the region's most prominent innovators from Darwin to the Mini throughout 2009.
The weekend of events includes an exhibition of Olympic posters, rare access to the largest natural lake in the Midlands, a World Heritage Site Festival and a new sculpture trail and a trail throughout Much Wenlock telling the tale of Dr William Penny Brookes, a pioneer of the modern Olympic Games in Shropshire.
Dr Brookes was a scientist who founded the Wenlock Olympian Society in 1860 and organised annual "Olympian Games" in Much Wenlock.
The games were visited by modern Olympics founder Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1894, who was so impressed he later credited Dr Brookes for inspiring him in founding the International Olympic Committee in 1894.
There will be hundreds more events going on in the region as the Cultural Olympiad continues to gather pace.
Brian Woods-Scawen, the chairman of Culture West Midlands, the region's cultural consortium, said: "This four year celebration of culture and creativity is the West Midlands' chance to show not only the rest of the UK, but the whole world just how strong our cultural life is.
"With major talent in performing and visual arts and a unique heritage, we have inspirational cultural talent to match the sporting talent which will be on show in 2012.
"International names such as the RSC, Ironbridge Gorge Museum, CBSO and Birmingham Royal Ballet will be joined by emerging talent and community activities in a festival of creativity. We aim to transform our reputation through cutting edge innovation and world class cultural endeavour to match the amazing achievements of our athletes."
Extraordinary Cycles... helping to kick start a four-year celebration of culture and creativity in the West Midlands
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|Publication:||The Birmingham Post (England)|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2008|
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