London 2012 Festival Details Announced

By M@ Last edited 92 months ago
London 2012 Festival Details Announced

Olympic organisers today announced further details of the London 2012 Festival. The 12-week festival marks the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad and will begin one year today.

Headline happenings include a display of Olympics posters by the likes of Tracey Emin, Bridget Riley and Chris Ofili, and a medley of Shakespeare plays from the RSC.

Events will take place UK-wide but many will be in London. We've listed out the local highlights below. More have yet to be announced, and the list also excludes nation-wide events that may come to London.


  • BP Portrait Awards: Next Generation, National Portrait Gallery (FREE). As in 14-19 year-olds.
  • BT Road to 2012, National Portrait Gallery (FREE). Photos of high-profile athletes.
  • London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Posters, Tate Britain (FREE). Artists include Fiona Banner, Michael Craig-Martin, Martin Creed, Tracey Emin, Anthea Hamilton, Howard Hodgkin, Gary Hume, Sarah Morris, Chris Ofili, Bridget Riley, Bob and Roberta Smith and Rachel Whiteread. Hope they're as good as these.
  • Tino Sehgal, Tate Modern (FREE). Commission for the Turbine Hall.
  • Rachel Whiteread, Whitechapel Gallery (FREE). The inside-out artist will design a new frieze for the gallery
  • Metamorphosis: Titian 2012: National Gallery (FREE). Painting meets dance.
  • A Bigger Picture: David Hockney, Royal Academy
  • Lucian Freud, National Portrait Gallery.
  • Damien Hirst, Tate Modern
  • Anish Kapoor, Olympic Park. That'll be the giant red sculpture thing.


  • Pina Bausch retrospective, Sadler’s Wells & Barbican
  • CandoCo Unlimited
  • Fusional Fragments: Marc Brew
  • Leaving-Limbo-Landing: Caroline Bowditch
  • Ménage à Trois: Claire Cunningham
  • Metamorphosis: Titian 2012: Wayne McGregor, Royal Ballet
  • Private Dancer: Janice Parker
  • Unleashed: Boy Blue, Barbican

Museums and Displays

  • BP Shakespeare's Theatre of the World: British Museum
  • The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games, Royal Opera House (FREE)


  • Poetry Parnassus, Southbank Centre


  • BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend 2012 (FREE)
  • Einstein on the Beach: Philip Glass, Robert Wilson, Lucinda Childs, Barbican
  • Jazz at Lincoln Centre residency, Barbican
  • Peace One Day Concert  (21 September  2011). An early entry. Lineup includes Eliza Doolittle.
  • Swing Symphony: Wynton Marsalis, Barbican
  • The Trojans: Hector Berlioz, Royal Opera House
  • River of Music


  • Comedy at Hackney Empire


  • Gross und Klein: Martin Crimp, Luc Bondy, Sydney Theatre Company, Barbican
  • Mad Gyms and Kitchens: Bobby Baker
  • You Me Bum Bum Train
  • Cymbeline: Yukio Ninagawa, Barbican
  • Desdemona: Toni Morrison, Rokia Traoré, Peter Sellars, Barbican
  • Henry VIII: Rakata, Shakespeare’s Globe
  • Julius Caesar: Cometa Off Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe
  • King Lear: Malthouse Theatre and Bell Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost: Deafinitely Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe
  • Taming of the Shrew: starring Nadia Jamil, Shakespeare’s Globe
  • The Tempest: Sabab Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe
  • Titus Andronicus: Tang Shu Wing, Shakespeare’s Globe
  • Troilus and Cressida: starring Rawiri Paratene, Shakespeare’s Globe
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona: Denton Chikura and Tonderai Munyevu


  • A Room for London: Artangel (FREE). A boat...perched on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Details are still to come, but the programme, as currently sketched, is very much a celebration of the arts. There seems to be little in the way of science, technology and engineering, key cultural planks of previous major London festivals such as the Great Exhibition, the Festival of Britain and the Millennium Celebrations. Still, a mouthwatering selection. We look forward to hearing more.

Tickets for most events will go on sale in October 2011. Sign up to receive further information here.

Image by Stephskimo in the Londonist Flickr pool.

Last Updated 21 June 2011