To mark the first anniversary of the 2012 Olympics, Dorchester charity Activate Performing Arts (Activate) has been looking back at the legacy surrounding the games, and what long term benefits it brought to performing arts across Dorset.
Activate was invited to showcase some of its outdoor performances as part of The Maritime Mix, the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad by the Sea, which ran alongside the sailing events in Weymouth and Portland.
It is estimated that 75,000 people witnessed the spectacular celebrations that included Harmonic Fields, a collective of 500 instruments played by the wind from a cliff-top in Portland. Activate was also involved the Torch Relay, and produced the overnight performance programme ‘Bournemouth Dances and Bournemouth Sings’.
One year on, Kate Wood, Executive Director for Activate has seen an increase in the numbers of artists wanting to work in Dorset, and more communities wanting to display similar style events in their counties. She said: “2012 was a phenomenal year for Activate and was helped tremendously by the Olympic celebrations. We were extremely proud to showcase some of the world’s best outdoor artists and Harmonic Fields in particular, was highlighted as an event that left lasting memories in people’s minds.”
Activate’s biennial festival, Inside Out Dorset, coincided with the Paralympics and its closing ceremony. Kate added: “Inside Out Dorset is always hugely popular, but we found that with the help of the Olympic celebration, performing arts reached audiences that may not have previously experienced the theatre or an art gallery and would never have thought they would enjoy a sound installation.”
Throughout the year, Activate has engaged with over 300 people through performing arts workshops, has seen audiences of over 18,000 at its events and continues successful partnerships with Winton Boys School in Bournemouth and Queen Elizabeth School in Wimborne.