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West Midlands Cultural Olympiad

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March 2012 will see the West Midlands’ first major Cultural Olympiad events of the year with Music Nation. A weekend of music right across the UK, the line-up in our part of the country includes: Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde conducted by Andris Nelsons at Symphony Hall; Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii performing Chopin's Piano Concert No.1 in Stoke; and a new cello concerto by John Joubert performed by Rapheal Wallfisch and The Northern Chamber Orchestra in Shrewsbury.

Music Nation marks the beginning of truly extraordinary year of events, performances and experiences here in the West Midlands. Arts Council England will be announcing full details of their regional Cultural Olympiad programme next month, but in the meantime here’s all the latest news.

VisitEngland and VisitBritain launch major tourism marketing campaigns for 2012
VisitEngland and VisitBritain are leading major marketing and promotional campaigns for visitor attractions across the UK to promote the UK as the domestic and international visitor destination for 2012. is an official website set up by VisitBritain and the London 2012 Nations and Regions group for UK tourism professionals and businesses to identify and connect with opportunities around the London 2012 Games. Similarly has a number of opportunities including its 20.12% off campaign that businesses and cultural organisations can sign up to.

Community Games gets set to go national
Back in December Arts Council England joined forces with the YMCA and the national CSP network to put in a bid for their Community Games programme to become England-wide – meaning that people across the country would be able to sign up to be part of Community Games and celebrate the London 2012 Games in their own communities. Arts Council England is now planning the announcement so watch this space for further details.

Latest Inspire Marks Awarded
The latest West Midlands projects to have been granted the London 2012 Inspire Mark are:

• Faster…: 27-30 June, Birmingham Hippodrome
. A new one act ballet by David Bintley and Matthew Hindson, inspired by the Olympic motto.
• Call for Memories: Walsall Museum. Memories of the 1948 Olympics, past Walsall Olympians and sporting moments will be used to form a video and exhibition.
• Photo Montage: Wolverhampton Art Gallery. People in Wolverhampton will be invited to record headline thoughts on what the Olympics mean to them and have their photo taken as part of an exhibition later this year.

Big Screens become Live Sites From 1 May
From 1 May the two BBC Big Screens in Birmingham’s Victoria Square and Coventry’s Millennium Place will be transformed into BBC/LOCOG Live Sites with seating, bunting and marquees. The Live Sites will follow the Olympic Torch live as it passes through Birmingham on 30 June and Coventry on 1 July; Opening and Closing Ceremonies and live sports coverage every day during Games time.

The Live Sites will also show a range of local and national arts and cultural content including The Voyage – a major outdoor/aerial dance spectacular taking place outside Birmingham’s Town Hall on 21-24 June as part of the London 2012 Festival line-up. Details of the full Live Sites programmes will be available online from May onwards.

Be part of it and sign up to be a London 2012 Local Leader
Becoming a Local Leader is now the best way for community and cultural projects and leaders to make sure that they are part of the celebrations this year. Sign up to the programme and get advice on how to involve your community.

Music Nation – first major West Midlands Cultural Olympiad events of the year
On 2, 3 and 4 March 2012 the BBC and LOCOG will present Music Nation – a weekend of concerts celebrating the best of the UK’s live orchestral music. Here in the West Midlands, the Music Nation line-up includes:

• 2 March, 8pm An American Adventure with the BBC Philharmonic at Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent.

• 2 March, 7.30pm A programme of music presented by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) at the CBSO centre in Birmingham.

• 3 March, 7.30pm, Academy of Ancient Music present a programme of world class music at Ludlow Assembly Rooms.

• 3 March, 4pm, The CBSO performs Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde at Symphony Hall, Birmingham.

• 3 March, 7.30pm. Choir with No Name performs at Carrs Lane Church in Birmingham.

• 4 March, 3pm: The Northern Chamber Orchestra and Raphael Wallfisch perform at St Mary’s Church, Shrewsbury.

Full details and further information about performances and ticketing can be found on the BBC 3 website at:

Full Programme To Be Announced in March
Arts Council England will be launching their full programme – and a brochure listing the full confirmed Cultural Olympiad programme for our region – at an event in Birmingham in March.