Festival of Culture set to light up Bridport as part of Cultural Olympiad

By Ben Miller | 10 August 2012
A dramatic photo of a group of people holding flaming sticks while standing in the sea
Festival: Festival of Culture, various venues, Bridport, August 11-27 2012

Between the tourist idylls of Cornwall and the stampede of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Dorset has perhaps been understated – or at least occasionally overlooked – in terms of cultural festivities.

This 16-day carnival of culture in the beautiful town of Bridport, where a thriving artist community and regular markets combine history and charm against a backdrop mercifully short on boutique pretension, should overturn all such notions with some gusto.

To launch proceedings, live music and local food in the town square accompany a time lapse sequence at the Bridport Arts Centre, showing the overhead skies at night in luminous detail in a work by local film-maker Stephen Banks.

Sport in the street and cider and skittles festoon the week ahead, but there’s also a brilliant film line-up including documentaries on Olympic political controversies, Chariots of Fire, and fancy dress themed film nights on the Mafia, Mama Mia and Doctor Who at the magnificent Electric Palace Cinema.

Dragons and wizards bring modern puppetry to the Lyric Theatre, which is also the home of Micki McCretton, the man who designed and choreographed a torchlit dance when the Olympic flame arrived in Weymouth. He aims to repeat the feat at West Bay here.

Circus opera with a Bosnian connection, folk dancing, busking and street music also feature, although the proudly local feel receives a series of sweet and savoury international twists in the culinary programme, which welcomes Greek, Indian, Caribbean and European food, each taking centre stage on particular days.

More pictures:

A landscape picture of a beach with golden orange sands and cliffs under blue skies
The town is one of the country's most picturesque places
A photo of a toy green dragon crafted so it can hold a tiny red puppet across a stage
Puppet theatre adventures aim to entertain all ages
A photo of a group of people smiling while holding up the word spirit across a street
Some of Bridport's best artists will be taking part
A photo of a group of people smiling as they hold up the word spirit in front of the sea
Open-air music, poetry, film and fairs are all planned
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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