LONDON2012 CULTURAL OLYMPIAD
THE BUILD UP TO THE OLYMPICS IN THE EAST
Links to pages covering the spectacles of East Meets West and Sparks Will Fly are further down this page – plus short films for community events, The Mini Games and China Towns – all events related to the build-up to the Olympic Games – London2012.
Taking the Long View…
The Olympic Torch Relay ran for several weeks prior to the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
London was selected as the host city in 2005 and whilst working in Chelmsford, Essex, I wanted our team to play its part in this major cultural celebration. At this point, we knew we needed to produce an ambitious event with large-scale community participation to show we could organise something impressive on behalf of county of Essex in 2012. It would take time to build-up to having the capacity and political support.
In 2008, a number of Chelmsford venues were chosen as potential training camps for both Olympic and Paralympic Games, so the town (later to become a city) was beginning to make it’s mark as a serious contender as part of the Cultural Olympiad – the official arts celebrations of London 2012.
We worked with Essex County Council and world-renowned outdoor theatre company Walk the Plank, to devise East Meets West, a daytime festival followed by a Twilight Spectacle, to take place in Weald Country Park, Brentwood in September 2008.
The event became part of the Essex-Jiangsu Cultural Festival, and awarded the Inspire Mark by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG). To celebrate a 20 year relationship between Essex and Jiangsu province, a Chinese Moon Festival theme became key to East Meets West.
The event was a great success and the stage was set to work together on an even more ambitious project in 2012.
“You are one of the most creative talents with whom I’ve been lucky enough to work. Your unique ability to grow ideas into deliverable events is somethings that few people possess.”Bernard Mella, Head of Culture
Then, the dates for the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay were announced in 2010, two years prior to the Olympics. This meant we could lobby for an evening event to incorporate the official daytime show that accompanied the Olympic Torch and thus make the entire package more appealing to LOCOG.
We now had a couple of years to work towards a major event at Hylands Park in Chelmsford that began with the arrival of the torch relay, the official touring show, followed by a daytime festival for 10,000 ticket-holders called Feast, Drink, Play! and then finishing with the Twilight Spectacle – Sparks Will Fly!
“Liam – You [had] some difficult challenges – East Meets West and London2012. In both cases you delivered outstanding successes.”Bernard Mella, Head of Culture
East Meets West Twilight Spectacle
The East Meets West Twilight Spectacle was inspired by the Chinese mid-autumn Moon Festival. It began with a daytime moon picnic for thousands of people, with a variety of performances by schoolchildren, and displays and demonstrations by local artists and community groups.
The MINI GAMES
This unique small-scale version of the Olympics (including Opening Ceremony) was as an annual event and was awarded an Olympic Inspire Mark by LOCOG. By the time of London2012 we marked 10,000 young children having taken part.
A 3-day Festival to Celebrate Chinese New Year – and the Build-Up to London2012
LONDON 2012 has arrived…
Sparks Will Fly Twilight Spectacle
Preceded by Welcoming the London2012 Olympic Torch & Feast, Drink, Play!
In July 2012 at Hylands Park, Chelmsford played host to a special occasion with three distinct elements. This spectacular event for the whole family commenced with the county’s only London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Evening Celebration – part of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.