Sparks will Fly is the region’s only countywide cultural celebration of the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games, and will involve every district and borough in Essex, including Southend and Thurrock, engaging with more than 100,000 residents.
This celebration, created in partnership with internationally acclaimed outdoor performance specialists Walk the Plank, will see two mythical champions, Boreas Zephyr and Marina Mightier, coming to Essex to compete to be champion of the incredible Glass Bead Game.
The champions will journey across the county, in a customised chariot built around a Ford Cortina. They will be taking part in a daytime procession and performance at locally created events designed to welcome the champion to Harwich, Saffron Walden, Basildon, Harlow, Stansted, Rochford, Braintree, Maldon, Canvey Island, Southend, Waltham Abbey, Colchester and Brentwood from 18 May to 1 July 2012.
Then, on Friday 6 July, the champions will meet and the game will be played for the first time in 1,000 years at Hylands Park as Chelmsford welcomes the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay. Expect a carnival atmosphere, stunning pyrotechnics and special effects to create a breath-taking showdown.
Essex County Councillors Jeremy Lucas, Cabinet Member for Environment and Culture and Stephen Castle, Cabinet Member for Education and the 2012 Games said: “As a host county, Sparks will Fly will be one of the biggest events ever seen in Essex and will play an important role in the county’s contribution to the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and showcase the artistic talent we have in Essex.”
Chelmsford Borough Councillor Ray Ride, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture said: “We are delighted to host the finale of Sparks will Fly at Hylands Park, and proud to welcome the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Celebration to Chelmsford on the same evening. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for local people to experience the Olympic spirit on their doorstep.”
Helen Lax, Regional Director, Arts Council England, said: “Sparks will Fly will be a spectacular celebration of the passage of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay through Essex on its route around the country.
“Walk the Plank has created a rich programme of community events as well as its two champions, larger-than-life puppets, who will inspire a spirit of excitement and anticipation ahead of the opening ceremony. It will be a unique chance for people from across the county to come together to mark this historic occasion and set the festivities off in style.”
Sparks will Fly is commissioned by Essex County Council and Chelmsford Borough Council and created by Walk the Plank working with local authorities and communities throughout Essex. The project has been awarded the London 2012 Inspire Mark and is supported by Arts Council England. The finale is part of the London 2012 Festival and is a free ticketed event.
To follow the journey and discover more visit www.sparkswillfly.org.uk.