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Walk the Plank partners win European contract; LDP arts edited by Laura Davis.

Byline: Laura Davis

THE partnership behind Liverpool's opening and closing Capital of Culture ceremonies has been chosen to work with next year's holder of the title.

Walk the Plank, which until recently ran the SS Fitzcarraldo theatre boat in Canning Dock, and film director Mark Murphy have won the contract to deliver the opening event at Turku in Finland.

They will create a larges -scale, site-specific event on the banks and water of the River Aurajoki, a beautiful location that has special significance for the city.

Combining aerial performance, massed choirs, an original score, fire, pyrotechnics and special effects, the show's theme will be communication - and inspired by the city's current position as a telecommunications hub as well as its ship-building heritage.

Just as Liverpool's ceremonies highlighted the involvement of local people, in Turku a major participation programme involving 2,000 residents will help create the show.

Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to watch in person, with many more seeing the show on television and online.

Walk the Plank co-founder John Wassell says: "The opportunity to work with the people of Turku to create an opening event that makes use of the fantastic riverside locations of the city is one which excites us greatly.

"It's a welcome sign that UK outdoor arts companies really can compete with our European counterparts.

"We look forward to bringing Walk the Plank''s experience of making large-scale outdoor performance and combining it with the history, geography and people of the city of Turku to create an event that will be spectacular, unique and memorable."

Walk the Plank is also co-ordinating two waterfront festivals in Liverpool this summer under the On the Waterfront Banner.

A light and sound spectacular will open the first weekend event, at the Pier Head on July 16-18, to celebrate Spanish artist Pablo Picasso and John Lennon.

Featuring choreographed performance and floating sculptural images, it will tie in with Tate Liverpool's current Picasso: Peace and Freedom exhibition.

Exploring the theme of war and peace, the weekend's events will include a peace garden, a giant dove of peace sand sculpture, a specially commissioned aerial performance on a Tall Ship and a pirate-themed family fun day.

On August 6-8, the second On the Waterfront weekender will be the biggest free dance festival in the UK.

Argentinian aerial company Voala will perform an airborne show, lifted into the air by cranes, and groups from across Europe will take part in water-based choreography.

The festivals will be organised by Culture Liverpool, the city council's culture unit, and as well as by Walk the Plank.

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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 14, 2010
Words:434
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