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Preparations are reaching fever pitch for the world premiere of a huge firework, drumming and dance show, which will take place in Bowness on Windermere on June 21. The show, On the Night Shift, by French Company Les Commandos Percu, is one of the four opening events of the London 2012 Festival – the cultural celebration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Festival is a 12-week calendar of 12,000 events UK-wide and the biggest event of its kind the UK has ever seen.
The show will include thousands of fireworks, which will be played as part of the musical score, by the show’s nine drummers. The cast’s seven dancers will also use handheld fireworks as part of their highly choreographed routines.
Each of the percussionists will be using hand-made instruments created especially for the show. These include special drums called satellidrums, which have been hand-crafted using several kinds of tight skins fixed on flat sounding boards to create their own individual sound and rotoguns – drumsticks and percussion devices attached to an electric drill.
Raymond Gabriel, the director of On the Night Shift, says “This show will combine all the hallmarks of Les Commandos Percu - fire, motion and rhythm. “Our shows are about the fusion between music and fireworks. The science of rhythm gives us the opportunity of using fire like a musical instrument and to include it in the musical score. We did the same with dancers. I didn’t ask them to follow the music, but to be the music. They have to be the music and also to be the fire”
The show will follow the arrival of the Olympic Torch and the concerts by British Sea Power and Katy B and other celebrations in Bowness-on-Windermere earlier in the evening.
The performance is the first show in Lakes Alive’s 2012 season of outdoor arts events that will take place across Cumbria this summer.
Julie Tait, from Lakes Alive, says “We are really excited about On the Night Shift. Everyone has worked really hard, and the rehearsals have looked amazing. We hope we have created something that will be a wonderful and unforgettable experience for the audience.”
“We are really honoured that the show will be one of only four the official opening events of the London 2012 Festival. “It is also fantastic to have created something that will leave a legacy - a show that has been created in Cumbria and France that will tour the world, and be seen by tens of thousands of people, providing on-going work for UK artists.”
Since forming 15 years ago, Les Commandos Percu has become one of Europe’s leading outdoor arts companies and have won huge international acclaim for the quality of their work. Previous UK performances have won glowing praise and have been described as “powerful”, “shocking” and “mind-blowing”.
Ruth Mackenzie, director of Culture Olympiad, says: “ “Lakes Alive is one of the most brilliant inventions of the Cultural Olympiad. We want to have an event that will kick off the London 2012 Festival in the Lake District in partnership with Lakes Alive and I have the greatest confidence that Lakes Alive can bring those amazing artists, global and local, to create something that actually we’ll be proud of.”
On the Night Shift was commissioned by Lakes Alive, the Lake District National Park, We Play Expo and the London 2012 Festival. Following its debut on June 21, the show will also be performed in the UK on September 9 as part of the finale of the Preston Guild.
Lakes Alive is one of three annual programmes commissioned for WE PLAY, the Northwest cultural legacy programme for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. WE PLAY has been funded by Legacy Trust UK, creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK.
The project is led by the Arts Council England Northwest on behalf of a new regional partnership. Lakes Alive is sponsored by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and has also received funding from Arts Council England and the Northern Rock Foundation.
On the Night Shift takes place on June 21 at 10 pm on the Glebe, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria LA23 3HE
For more information about the performance go to www.lakesalive.org