PRESS RELEASE: December 2013
The Stables has been selected to receive a prestigious ‘Exceptional Award’ of £215,000 from Arts Council England for ‘Under The Vaulted Sky’ - an ambitious dance project commissioned from choreographer Rosemary Lee for IF: Milton Keynes International Festival 2014.
Award-winning choreographer Rosemary Lee has been inspired by Milton Keynes’ magical Cathedral of Trees in the city’s Campbell Park to create ‘Under The Vaulted Sky’. The performances in July 2014 will be the culmination of a year-long residency that will have seen Rosemary work with professional and non-professional dancers from across the region.
Situated on an ancient ley line that runs through Central Milton Keynes, The Cathedral of Trees was planted more than 40 years ago on the exact footprint of Norwich Cathedral by landscape architect Neil Higson. Different species of trees represent the character of the Cathedral's sections - hornbeam and tall-growing lime for the nave, evergreens to represent the central tower and spires, flowering cherry and apple as a focus in the chapels. In springtime, colourful bulbs represent the sun shining through stained glass windows onto the ground.
Rosemary’s vision for ‘Under The Vaulted Sky’ will feature the participation of 100 dancers and live music and a specially-composed soundscape commissioned from award-winning composer and instrument maker Terry Mann. The audience will be invited to ‘promenade’ - to move and follow the performance as it weaves around the atmospheric environment of the Cathedral.
The Exceptional Award is one of a handful of strategic investments to be made this year by Arts Council England to help deliver its strategic vision of Great Art for Everyone. IF: Milton Keynes International Festival was founded in 2010 and is produced every two years by The Stables as part of its commitment to help raise the artistic adventure of one of the UK’s fastest growing cities.
Monica Ferguson, Chief Executive and Artistic Director said: "We are delighted and honoured to receive this Exceptional Award from Arts Council England to enable us to bring the beautiful Cathedral of Trees to life with dance and, with the support of all the partners involved, deliver a truly inspiring event."
Moira Sinclair, Executive Director for London and the South East, Arts Council England, said: "It is wonderful to be able to support an artist of Rosemary’s stature. This work follows ‘Without’ for Derry/Londonderry city of culture and we’re proud to support these large scale, exciting and ambitious works with dancers of all abilities. The Exceptional Awards programme provides us with a unique opportunity to recognise truly remarkable ideas of national, or even international, importance; rewarding innovation and ambition in arts and culture. Two further organisations have also received awards. One project will support emerging artistic talent from across England, the second focuses on creating an impactful, large-scale, site-specific piece of work in London. Details will be made public in the very near future."
Rosemary Lee said: "I am delighted to have the opportunity to work in such an unusual site and look forward to enhancing its magic and stillness through the fleeting presence of a cast of performers of all ages. I relish the chance to meet and work closely with a new group of performers from the locality working alongside a small team of professional dancers and musicians and the creative team of designer, composer and film-maker. I hope this project will introduce more residents to their unique green cathedral in a memorable way."
‘Under The Vaulted Sky’ is also supported by Milton Keynes Council, The Parks Trust and South East Dance, and sponsored by the University of Bedfordshire. It will premiere over the first weekend of the 10-day International Festival that will also feature music, comedy, contemporary circus and cabaret in a beautiful Belgian Spiegeltent; a spectacular fire and water event on Willen Lake; and a festival for children.
IF: Milton Keynes International Festival runs across various locations and venues in Central Milton Keynes from 18 to 27 July 2014.
Read more about 'Under The Vaulted Sky' here