Saturday, 13 February 2016

Race to find stars of spectacular Cumbria Olympic show at Windermere

THE FINALISTS have been announced in the search to find 12 artists who will perform in an incredible open-air show on the shores of Windermere to mark the start of the London 2012 Festival.

Les Commandos Percu
Les Commandos Percu. Picture by Gréogory Freland

A total of 26 aspiring drummers and dancers have been shortlisted to take part in a weekend of auditions, which will be held at the Lanternhouse in Ulverston on January 27-29.

At the end of the weekend, the 12 most impressive candidates will be selected to perform with acclaimed French street artists Les Commandos Percu in the world premiere of their electrifying new show On the Night Shift.

They will take part in two performances which will be held on the edge of Windermere, following the arrival of the Olympic torch on 21 June and in Preston on 9 September as part of the finale of The Preston Guild.

Les Commandos are renowned for their explosive shows that combine drama, drumming, pyrotechnics and music in one dazzling mix.

Commissioned by Lakes Alive, The Lake District National Park, We Play Expo and the London 2012 Festival, On the Night Shift promises to be their most ambitious show to date.

Raymond Gabriel, the artistic director of Les Commandos says: “This is a remarkable opportunity to be at the heart of the 2012 Olympics and take part in a once-in-a-lifetime event that will launch the cultural festival in dramatic style.

“The response has been amazing and the judges have been overwhelmed by the quality of the talent. It promises to be an amazing show that both the performers and audiences will never forget.”

The group of competing artists come from across the UK including Ambleside, Ulverston, Carlisle, Morecambe, Manchester, Hebdon Bridge, Leeds, Bury and Stockton.

They will be put through their paces in the workshops by four members of the Commandos Percu team – artistic director Raymond Gabriel, musician, production co-ordinator Lisa Trouilhet, and musicians and pyrotechnicians Metty Benistant and Ruddy Thery.

At the end of the weekend, a collection of 12 drummers and dancers will be selected to take part in the big event. One of the percussionists will be appointed as assistant musical director to work more closely with Raymond Gabriel on the music and one of the dancers will become the principal choreographer for the piece.

The chosen performers will work on the show with Commandos Percu at a series of rehearsal workshops that will take place at Lanternhouse over the next 6 months.

The selected dozen will join a host of international stars including Cate Blanchett, Jude Law and Damon Albarn taking part in the London 2012 Festival.

The London 2012 Festival marks the climax of the Cultural Olympaid – a 12 week UK-wide cultural celebration that opens on 21 June 2012.

David Hockney, Mike Leigh, Toni Morrison and Olafur Eliasson currently head the line-up of artists who will perform at some of the UK’s major venues including the Tate galleries, the Royal Opera House and the Barbican.

Ruth Mackenzie, director of Culture Olympiad, says: “From 21 June to 9 September 2012, across the whole of the UK, new work from the best artists, musicians, writers, comedians, film makers and other creative talent will be presented in the largest festival in the country. From food to fashion, street dance to digital, from pop to opera, the festival will offer a once in a lifetime chance to be inspired by the best in the world.”

Lakes Alive is one of the three Annual Legacy Programmes commissioned by Legacy Trust UK for WE PLAY, the Northwest cultural legacy programme for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. It is being sponsored by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and has also received funding from Arts Council England and the Northern Rock Foundation.

Further details about Lakes Alive can be found at For more details on the London 2012 Festival visit

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