Arts world training hard to be ready for Olympic final

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As the Olympic Games draws near, Sarah Freeman reports on how the momentum is already building in Yorkshire’s art world.

When plans for a programme of cultural events tied to the Olympic Games was announced the details weren’t entirely clear.

However, with the big event in London just a few months away, momentum is building in the arts world with Yorkshire hoping to take centre stage. Over the next six months more than 50 events, funded by the organisation Imove, will be staged across the region with the aim of celebrating the theme of human movement.

Yorkshire’s landscape will provide a backdrop for several creative writing projects. In Stanza Stones new verse by poet Simon Armitage will be inscribed on a series of seven stones leading from his birthplace in Marsden to Ilkley and an exhibition inspired by sea swimming in Scarborough in one of the resort’s beach huts will continue throughout the summer.

Elsewhere, My Last Car, an interactive touring exhibition and theatrical performance that looks at people’s love affair with four wheels will be on the road between May and August, stopping off at Ryedale and Bentham in North Yorkshire.

In an attempt to appeal to audiences across the board, Imove has curated a range of exhibitions and performances across art, theatre and music.

The classical programme has been inspired by two local sporting heroes. Amy’s Last Dive, based on the life of Hull-born Amy Johnson, will see a newly commissioned piece of classical music performed in theatres in both Leeds and Bridlington in July and August.

Over in Scunthorpe classical music will cross into new territory in July with Cycle Song, an opera written by Barnsley poet Ian McMillan. Based on local cycling hero and Olympic medallist Albert ‘Lal’ White.

Add in a programme of dance, a series of outdoor events celebrating the history of children’s games and LeanerFasterSronger, a performance inspired by the way new technology is changing human movement, and the hope is that Yorkshire will be able to share in the atmosphere of the Games.

“We are really excited that audiences from far and wide will soon be able to see the projects and new commissions which have been in development for many months,” says creative director of Imove Tessa Gordziejko. “London 2012 has been a catalyst for artists to work in completely new ways and places and we hope we have given artists in the region a chance to stretch their creative imaginations and produce projects on a bigger scale than they have before.

“As well as creating long-lasting memories for the audience, this is also about creating a lasting legacy for all the artists and performers who take part.”

Run down of all the events

Imove was one of 12 organisations set up across the country to deliver a programme of cultural events in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

For full details of the events, which range from art exhibitions to plays and dance, taking place across Yorkshire visit www.imoveand.com