Prometheus Awakes is presented by Graeae and La Fura dels Baus as part of the London 2012 Festival, the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival and the Stockton International Riverside Festival

London 2012 Festival launches

Geraldine Kendall, 21.06.2012
Cultural festival kicks off ahead of the 2012 games
The London 2012 Festival officially kicks off today with a line-up of over 12,000 events at 900 venues. The UK-wide festival is the culmination of the four-year Cultural Olympiad, the programme of cultural projects designed to tie-in with the London 2012 Olympic games.

Museums and galleries in all four nations are getting in on the act, staging everything from blockbuster exhibitions to children’s picnics, and playing host to a range of performances, artistic installations and live events.

In the English capital, the Museum of London will reopen its Roman gallery tomorrow in the first major redesign of its displays since they opened in 1994.

The gallery features video installations and rarely-seen artefacts, including a bust of Hadrian unearthed on the banks of the Thames. A special exhibition curated by young people, Londinium 2012, runs alongside, drawing parallels between Roman and modern life in the city.

The history of the games themselves will be told in The Olympic Journey, a special exhibition at the Royal Opera House opening on 28 July, which features medals and torches from the modern games and stories of those staged in ancient Greece.

Royal Museums Greenwich is launching Prometheus Awakes on 23 June - a visually extravagant piece of site-specific theatre based on the ancient Greek myth, featuring light spectacles, acrobatics and eight-metre tall puppets. The performance will be the first large-scale piece of outdoor theatre in the UK led by disabled artists.

In Belfast, the city is taking a bold look at its troubled past with an exhibition at the Golden Thread Gallery showing artists’ responses to Northern Ireland’s infamous gable-end murals. The three year project, Draw Down the Walls, worked across community divisions, using the notorious walls as a starting point for workshops and art events.

Glasgow’s newest museum, the Zaha Hadid-designed Riverside Museum, will play host Sun Rings, an evening spectacular on 15 July bringing together music, science and astronomy. The Kronos Quartet, a world-famous group of composers, will join the Scottish National Youth Orchestra in creating musical responses to the museum’s displays, accompanied by projections of planets and solar flares.

Many museums are showcasing their work with young people. The Ferens Art Gallery and other venues in Hull will display young artists’ creative responses to the world culture collections held by Hull Museums. At Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, young people have designed a new permanent gallery for the museum’s world art collection.

The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent has shone a spotlight on the Staffordshire Hoard, commissioning a range of high profile artists to create responses to the world class hoard of Anglosaxon gold and silver metalwork. The exhibition kicks off on 21 July.

Mark Taylor, director of the Museums Association, said: “There was a good deal of scepticism about the Cultural Olympiad when it was first suggested but it does seem that the programme gives all types of culture a boost and extra visibility at a time when the UK will have the world watching it.”

The London 2012 Festival ends on 9 September but many individual events run beyond this date.