Fun and the Games

The Mayor of London is planning the party for the planet in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics and the diplomatic corps is invited. Here Chenine Bhathena, London 2012 Creative Programmer at City Hall, explains how you can join in.

In London in 2012 you will be spoilt for choice with an amazing cultural offer. Whether you fancy Cate Blanchett at the Barbican, Damon Albarn at the English National Opera, or Jay Z at Hackney Marshes, there is a class act to see almost every single day.

It’s showtime!
As part of the UK-wide London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Festival, curated by Ruth Mackenzie, there will be a series of incredible, free events created especially for London by the Greater London Authority (GLA) that brings the best of British and international artists to outdoor spaces across the capital.

Secrets: Hidden London runs from 21 June until 9 September and is a collection of brilliant arts events and installations taking place in hidden gems around the city – from the Royal Opera in canals and English National Ballet in lidos, to brilliant contemporary art installations in parks.

Then starting on 21 July, Showtime is the largest-ever free live outdoor arts festival in London, taking place in town centres and on high streets, across Greater London. Watch out for street artists, music and theatre performances, lantern parades, pyrotechnic shows, film and visual arts, installations and more.

We will also be showing the sport on large screens in parks across the city as part of BT London Live. These park sites will be festival zones and have a huge range of other entertainments including a live music programme.

I hope London’s diplomats and their many diaspora communities will not only enjoy this amazing summer but also be part of it to make the celebrations a truly global celebration. On the page opposite, I would like to highlight some specific opportunities where your embassies can get involved.

Are you planning a 2012 event in London and want to reach out to a wider audience too?

The GLA set up The Culture Diary in 2010 to help you do just that. This online tool can help you share your information and promote your event through our listings website, and other official promotion channels. It already has details of 4,000 cultural events covering every imaginable art form, and is a fantastic bank of content for the six thousand journalists from the world’s media setting up camp in London this summer looking for interesting cultural stories.

Do you want to bring artists into London from other parts of the world for this summer like no other?

There are still lots of possibilities for including international artists across all of our programmes, however time is running out. Activities and content are still being programmed for BT London Live, Showtime, Torch Relay Celebrations, National Olympic Houses and the Olympic Park. If you want to discuss options in more detail please contact:

Do you want to join the Big Dance to be part of a world record breaking summer?

Big Dance 2012 will take place 7-15 July and aims to be the UK’s biggest celebration of dance with thousands of events happening across the nation in parks, lidos, high streets, museums, theatres, schools and libraries.

To celebrate the Olympic Torch’s arrival in the UK, Big Dance is asking schools across the world to dance their way into the Guinness World Record books for the ‘Largest Dance Routine – Multi-Venue’.

World renowned choreographer, Wayne McGregor CBE (the Resident Choreographer at the Royal Ballet and the Artistic Director of Wayne McGregor | Random Dance) has created a five-minute choreography inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which can be downloaded in taught sections from the Big Dance website. All schools need to do is learn the choreography and perform the dance in their school site or public spaces at 1pm (British Summer Time – GMT +1) on 18 May 2012.

Big Dance in London is funded by Legacy Trust UK and delivered by the Greater London Authority and Arts Council England.

If any schools in your home country are interested in joining, contact Jacqueline Rose, Director, Big Dance at

With 270 nationalities speaking 300 different languages, London truly is a world stage. And all your countries all have a part to play.

For more information, further details can be found at Mayor of London Present s (, the London 2012 Festival ( and the Big Dance (

You can also follow Culture London on Twitter @london_culture.