Mayor of London Presents…A Summer Like No Other!

19 June 2012

London's biggest ever outdoor cultural festival promises magic across the capital – and all for free

Boris Johnson today revealed some of the key highlights of Mayor of London Presents, the biggest outdoor cultural festival the city has ever seen. Working with outstanding international artists and world-class cultural organisations the Mayor has commissioned an unprecedented variety of free events, entertainment and cultural treats across the capital to add to the celebrations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: '2012 is not only about heroic sporting competition, it is an unprecedented opportunity to showcase on an international stage the prodigious artistic talent that the best big city has to offer. Throughout the summer we are hosting a veritable smorgasbord of world-class cultural events, which will be springing up in high streets and parks, as well as lidos, waterways and other nooks and crannies. With hundreds of events across London, this will be the biggest festival of outdoor arts the capital has ever seen, creating a lifetime of memories and making this a summer like no other.'

The Mayor of London Presents programme includes Showtime, seven weeks of high quality outdoor arts and entertainment from the best UK and international artists, who will be coming to every borough in the city. Handpicked from across the world, it features an electrifying mix of artists, encompassing the best of British street arts, international performers including Catalan, Chinese Belgian, French and Dutch artists, plus a feast of music from beat box to electro swing.

Secrets, which begins this Thursday 21 June, the start of the London 2012 Festival, offers the opportunity to discover some of London's amazing hidden gems as leading artists and cultural institutions transform the city's lesser-known landscapes including canals, lidos and parkland, with dance, opera and specially created installations. Amongst those involved in creating Secrets are English National Ballet, Royal Opera House; ex-Monty Python star Terry Jones; award winning composer Anne Dudley; award winning artist-composer Mira Calix; dance and performance company seven sisters group; and artist led environmental arts group Red Earth. Londoners and visitors alike will experience the city in a new way.

At locations familiar and unusual, above people's heads and atop landmark buildings, Surprises will bring pop-up performances and once in a lifetime experiences to locations around the city, including Elizabeth Streb's incredible dancers with their thrilling choreography and extreme athleticism. Jeremy Deller's life size, inflatable Stonehenge 'Sacrilege' is also being brought to the capital, appearing at locations across the city, and other surprises are set to suddenly emerge throughout this summer like no other.

Brought together by the Mayor, Showtime, Secrets and Surprises are amongst key highlights also being presented as part of the London 2012 Festival, which runs from 21 June to 9 September.

The Mayor wants Londoners and tourists to explore the best of what the city has to offer. Stroll will see Olympic and Paralympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville, in a range of livery mirroring their surroundings, as your guides to some of capital's favourite landmarks and attractions. Explore: Culture Trails will include great cultural attractions around the city, plus once in a lifetime happenings and spectacular.

Not only that, as part of BT London Live, people can enjoy the exciting sporting spectacle of the Games on giant screens, as well as great live music amidst the leafy surroundings of Hyde Park, Victoria Park, and in historic Trafalgar Square. Gigs: Big Busk will also see hundreds of young musicians performing at high profile locations around the city.

With the city itself the stage for an unparalleled showcase of world class culture and creativity, there will also be the dazzling lighting of bridges, colourful decorations and much more that will add to the magic of the celebrations.

Munira Mirza, Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture said, 'There is always so much to see and do in London over the summer months, but for this special year we are going that extra mile – we've invited world class artists to treat the city as their canvas and dream up unique moments of beauty, spectacle and sheer fun. Of course we want to entertain our visitors and showcase the city to an international audience, but this is also a celebration for Londoners, which is why the programme is entirely free and is taking place across all 33 boroughs.”

Moira Sinclair, Executive Director London, Arts Council England, who are supporting Showtime, said: '2012 is an unparalleled opportunity for Londoners and those visiting the capital to be part of and witness some of the finest arts and culture in the world. Our Cultural Olympians will present new exciting commissions that will enthral audiences young and old across city. The Arts Council exists to support great art for everyone and we are proud to be in partnership with the Mayor to create what will, no doubt, be memorable Olympic moments.'

For more details, and a full list of the magic on offer please visit the Mayor of London Presents website at


OVERVIEW OF MAYOR OF LONDON PRESENTS (information subject to change)

The Mayor of London is working with outstanding international artists and world-class cultural organisations, the boroughs and a range of different agencies, as well as London 2012 Festival, to present an unprecedented variety of free events, entertainment and cultural treats across the capital that for Londoners and tourists alike, to add to the celebrations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Mayor of London Presents programme will be the biggest outdoor cultural festival the city has ever seen.


21 June-9 September

Discover some of London’s amazing hidden nooks and crannies as leading artists transform the capital’s lesser-known landscapes including canals, lidos and cemeteries. Londoners and visitors alike will experience the city in a new way.

One unique aspect of Secrets is major institutions such as Royal Opera House, Museum of London, Natural History Museum and English National Ballet working with a range of different artists, working outside their usual environments to produce events and installations specifically designed to respond to outdoor spaces. Part of London 2012 Festival.



21 June – 9 September

Award winning composer and artist Mira Calix will create Nothing is Set in Stone, an interactive musical sculpture made of gneiss stones at Fairlop Water in Redbridge, which has been commissioned by the Mayor and Oxford Contemporary Music, in conjunction with LB Redbridge, Natural History Museum and other partners.


5 July – 14 July

Working with English National Ballet, seven sisters group and other partners, A Fish out of Water is a unique fusion of dance, water and fashion. Like a Fish Out of Water presents an inspired new concept developed by seven sisters group that blends site-specific performance and handheld video technology. This exciting new event takes audiences on a magical journey around two of London's beautiful lidos featuring dancers, actors, stunning designs and cinematic soundscape. Taking place during opening hours, the audience receives an mp3 player with headphones to follow the route on the mp3 player screen and listen to the soundtrack, stopping to sit on deck chairs or picnic rugs, encountering live and pre-recorded performance, installation and the everyday users of the lido. A story unfolds based on the fictional heroine of Like a Fish Out of Water, an elderly woman who has visited and swum in the lido since childhood. Myths and legends, mermaids and selkies, all are explored in this fascinating multi sensory experience.

Conceived and created by seven sisters group for Uxbridge Lido and Hampton Pool, produced by Zap Art in conjunction with the London Boroughs of Hillingdon, Richmond-upon-Thames, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Istituto Marangoni.


20 July - 2 August

A brand new Royal Opera House ROH2 production features a water-bound operatic spectacle inspired by the enchanting Edward Lear poem The Owl and the Pussycat. Featuring a libretto from ex-Monty Python Terry Jones, and a newly commissioned score from critically acclaimed musician and Oscar-winning (The Full Monty) composer Anne Dudley, it promises to be a unique event. Directed by Martin Constantine, this new opera bridges both the water and the banks along London’s canals and waterways, with performances at various locations along the route as it travels from west to east London from 20 July – 2 August. The cast features Amy Freston, Samantha Houston, Tyrone Landau, Claire Wild Peter Willcock and Freddie Tong and includes performances by local community choirs from Hounslow, Ealing, Westminster, Islington and Tower Hamlets.


8 August – 28 August

Red Earth, an artist led environmental arts group, will install three greenwood towers and transform the landscape at Northala Fields with a ritual of sound and fire. The four conical hills were originally created out of waste from the build of the new Wembley Stadium. This installation will culminate in a spectacular performance on and around the hills over the bank holiday weekend to celebrate London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay. In conjunction with LB Ealing and other partners.



21 July - 9 September

Wherever you are in the capital it will be a summer like no other, as London's biggest ever outdoor arts festival, brings the magic of hosting the Games to every corner of the capital. 25 leading UK and international companies will tour to local town centres, high streets and parks, plus the BT London Live Sites, bringing the best of outdoor performance to every borough.

The wide-ranging line up of artists will include the acclaimed choreographer Mark Brew; Arcadia presenting Lords of Lightning, a show that sees two gladiators wrestle four million vaults of electricity; Avanti Display present The Spurting Man a classic and hilarious British street arts show when man becomes fountain; and Close Act: Saurus, which will see the biggest beasts that ever walked the earth return to the twenty first century, charge through the crowds, with a deafening roar, looking for their next feed. As well as the touring programme bespoke events and activities are being created in locations across the capital, including 99 Tiny Games, Pop Up films and Bandstand Marathon.

Showtime is being curated by five leading festival producers, who have worked on festivals such as Glastonbury, Bestival and Brighton Festival, the Lord Mayor's Parade, Paradise Gardens, Camden Crawl, Liberty and a host of others. Working alongside them are the Mayor's Culture Squad apprentices who are gaining valuable experience helping to produce Showtime as well as acquiring skills at Barbican, ENB, Roundhouse, Waterman's Arts Centre and The Albany.

Supported by Arts Council England and presented with London 2012 Festival.



July - September

Surprising and delighting, these performances will suddenly emerge with London’s unique cityscape providing the dramatic backdrop, creating key ‘wow’ moments of 2012. These extraordinary one-off events around the city centre will 'pop-up' without warning, taking over and transforming some of London’s most iconic landmarks, including Streb: One Extraordinary Day, a one-off creation by Brooklyn's visionary choreographer Elizabeth Streb, pioneer of 'extreme action' dance, being presented in partnership with the London 2012 Festival, which will suddenly appear on the landscape. Commissioned by the Mayor of London and London 2012 Festival, this unique event is being staged by LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre). Mark Rylance is also set to bring Shakespeare's sonnets and speeches to central London, presented in a partnership between London 2012 Festival and the Mayor of London. Already announced are plans to bring Jeremy Deller's Sacrilege to the capital, appearing during Create and also as part of London 2012 festival.



July, August, September

The search is on! We’re looking for London’s best young musicians for this year’s supersized busking competition and the chance to perform in town centres, parks, Olympic venues, live sites and transport hubs across the city. Eligible performers will perform at locations around the city during July and August, with the public able to vote. Up to 500 performers are being sought, as solo artists or groups. The age range is wider this year 11-25 years and they will compete for a range of prizes, including equipment, studio time and for those over 16, a year’s licence to busk on the London Underground.



27 July - 12 August, 29 August to 9 September

Hyde Park, Victoria Park and Trafalgar Square show live action from the Games, plus free entertainment, chances to try out different sports. In addition Hyde Park is hosting massive music concerts to coincide with the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games. Blur, New Order, Specials and Bombay Cycling Club are confirmed for the closing concert, Snow Patrol, Duran Duran, Stereophonics and Paulo Nutini confirmed for opening ceremony concert. Tom Jones, Feeder, Dodgy, Tom Vek, The Feeling, Cast, Norman Jay and Friends, Club de Fromage, Courtney Pine, Sean Rowley’s Guilty Pleasures, Summer Camp, Slow Club, Sound of Latin London are amongst the many performers and attractions playing on the free days.



21 June - 9 September

Over 12 weekends, beginning 23 June, specially curated cultural trails in different areas of London will guide you to the best of the capital’s culture whether in iconic locations or the city’s lesser known hidden jewels. From once in a lifetime happenings to spectacular surprises don’t miss out on highlights from this summer’s fantastic free events.



27 July - 9 September

Take a stroll along some of London’s most scenic streets with our free Discovery Trails. We’ve put together six unique walking routes across the historic city centre that will take you on a journey of discovery to the greatest sights and sounds of London. Keep an eye out for official Games mascots Mandeville and Wenlock, who’ll be bringing the trails to life and highlighting some great photo opportunities. Each will be individually designed, animating the routes in a unique way that captures the spirit of London. Supported by the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark, Westminster, Camden, Tower Hamlets and the City of London.



28 July - 12 August and 29 August to 9 September

Watch the best action from the Olympic and Paralympic Games for free live on a big screen, grab a bite to eat and take in the beautiful view of London’s iconic Tower Bridge in Potters Fields Park. Whether you’re just passing by or plan to spend longer, there’ll be plenty of other entertainment on offer at this free outdoor event, including More London’s ‘Free Festival’ taking place in the adjacent Scoop.


27 July – 10 September

With the eyes of the world upon us, specially created installations are appearing at different locations to help you experience some of London’s most popular public places in a new way. The city is also getting a gorgeous new look this summer as the city dresses up for the 2012 Games with bunting, banners and more.



27 July

Bridge illumination. From Hungerford Bridge in the west to Tower Bridge in the east, London‘s famous bridges will be lighting up in a dazzling display of colour during the evenings of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. At Tower Bridge the lights will be used to bring to life the giant Olympic rings and Paralympic agitos installations.



Cameras at the ready as iconic London locations including Tower Bridge host stunning installations of the Olympic rings and Paralympic agitos.



1-2 September

Come and join thousands of Londoners to watch the world’s top deaf and disabled performers and artists at this free annual festival. There’ll be live performances from both home-grown and international talent at this vibrant and exciting event, which is a great platform for spectacular new work. This year marks the tenth anniversary of Liberty, which celebrates the contribution that deaf and disabled people make to London’s culture.



8 - 9 September

The Mayor's Thames Festival will be an exciting highlight for the last weekend of the Games.



10 September

Our greatest team. Team GB and Paralympics GB Athletes Parade ‘Our Greatest Team’ through the streets of London.


The Mayor of London is also backing other free events this summer, including:


18 May - 15 July

Get into the groove and prepare to be inspired as Big Dance the London-wide free celebration of dance returns. Whatever your style, experience, age or ability, there’s something for you in Big Dance 2012, the biggest festival of its kind in the world. This year’s celebrations are set to go far beyond London reaching an incredible five million people across the UK. Highlights include a spectacular choreographed performance featuring over 1,000 dancers in Trafalgar Square, the Schools Pledge World Record, Big Dance Bus Tour, Older People’s project, Pop-up Cinema Tour and Big Street Dance Day. Big Dance is London’s Legacy Trust UK programme delivered by the Mayor of London and Arts Council England, with a national programme coordinated by Foundation for Community Dance.



6 - 29 July

To celebrate London 2012, the UK's most prestigious and renowned fashioned designers collaborate with leading visual artists on specially commissioned one-off works of art. A who's who of leading British names in art and fashion will see Hussein Chalayan working with Gavin Turk; Giles Deacon with Jeremy Deller; Mary Katrantzou and Mark Titchner; Nicolas Kirkwood and Simon Periton; Peter Pilotto and Francis Upritchard; Jonathan Saunders and Jess Flood Paddock; Paul Smith and Charming Baker; Stephen Jones and Cerith Wyn Evans and Matthew Williamson and Mat Collishaw. More names are expected to join this outstanding roll call of British creative talent, with their unique collaborative projects set to go on display in a free exhibition at the V&A.



Opens 30 June

London Pleasure Gardens will see Pontoon Dock in the Royal Docks transformed into a major new pop-up entertainment district and cultural hub. Created by the team behind Shangri-La at Glastonbury, 1948 Hoxton Street Party, Liverpool Biennial, Cordy House and Mutate Britain, London's Pleasure Gardens will showcase the finest of innovative and independent producers and artists, offering a range of entertainments and delights, including music, walkabout performers and artistic installations. Information, including how to get free tickets will be available at


Notes to editors

  1. The Mayor of London is supporting a huge programme of free events and cultural activities to add to the excitement of 2012. Working with outstanding international artists and world class cultural organisations this unprecedented Mayor of London Presents programme is taking place in every corner of the capital to add to and complement the London 2012 Festival. It includes Secrets: Hidden London, with artists and performers transforming hidden and lesser known locations; Showtime, the largest outdoor arts festival ever seen in the capital, with dozens of electrifying artists from the UK and abroad coming to every borough, in high streets, parks and town centres; BT London Live, bringing live action from the Games, as well as sporting activities and entertainment to Hyde Park, Victoria Park and Trafalgar Square; and Surprises bringing pop-up performances and once in a lifetime experiences to locations familiar and unusual, above your heads and atop landmark buildings. To be the first to know what's happening in this Summer Like No Other , sign up or follow us at / /
  2. About the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 FestivalThe London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people. The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK, from Midsummer's Day on 21 June and running until the final day of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012.The London 2012 Festival will celebrate the huge range, quality and accessibility of the UK’s world-class culture including dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation, giving the opportunity for people across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival. For more details on the programme, to download the London 2012 Festival official guide and to sign up for information visit
  3. Arts Council England is proud to work in partnership with London 2012, and is a principal funder of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival. The Arts Council champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. It supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, it will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.


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