Arts Council England backs The Stables' bid to produce another International Festival for Milton Keynes
Following the success of the inaugural IF: Milton Keynes International Festival in 2010, Arts Council England has agreed to support The Stables’ plans for festivals of a similar scale in both 2012 and 2014, and the ambition for IF to become a landmark event in the UK calendar.
The 2012 Festival will present ‘10 amazing days’ in Milton Keynes between Friday 20 and Sunday 29 July 2012.
Festival Director and Chief Executive of The Stables, Monica Ferguson, said: “As 2012 is an Olympic year, we will seek opportunities to present work inspired by London 2012 and to foster deeper relationships between arts and sports through the Festival programme.” Bill Gee, Creative Producer in 2010 returns for 2012, and has already begun work on shaping the programme.
The 2010 pilot Festival received great media and public acclaim, and was produced in response to Arts Council England’s ambition to stimulate the level of investment in the arts in Milton Keynes. The funding awarded acted as a catalyst to draw in a range of other public and private sector partners, and resulted in the delivery of a multi-site, mixed art-form festival comprising 10 extraordinary days, with an audience reach in excess of 90,000 and delivering over £4.5 million of economic benefit for the Milton Keynes area.
The award from Arts Council England of just over £400,000 for each Festival in 2012 and 2014 requires The Stables to raise as much again in sponsorship and other fundraising.
Sally Abbott, Regional Director of Arts Council England, said: “It is with great pleasure that Arts Council England is able to support the second Milton Keynes International Festival in 2012. Festivals should always be about bringing together the best artists for the biggest audiences possible with the broader cultural sector – and all in the most imaginative way. With the support of everybody in Milton Keynes, and all the local organisations and stakeholders, I have no doubt that IF 2012 will build on the extraordinary achievements of the first festival and on the sense of community pride it created. The event will help engage and inspire new audiences in Milton Keynes and be of great economic and cultural benefit to the area.”
Dr Ann Limb OBE, Chair of the Destination Milton Keynes Board believes the staging of an innovative international arts festival in the city represents a sound investment, and a massive vote of confidence by Arts Council England in the artistic leadership of Milton Keynes and support for the new Council as it strives for official city status: “Look at any of the UK’s major cities like Manchester, Nottingham and Edinburgh - a thriving artistic infrastructure is integrated with an enterprising economy and a cohesive community. Without a doubt festivals are good for the local economy, bringing in visitors and helping to develop a sense of place for residents. The IF:Milton Keynes International Festival 2012 will be a marvellous opportunity for the citizens and businesses of Milton Keynes, and we hope as many people as possible will become involved.''
One of the early projects under development this year in readiness for IF2012 is ‘The Boat Project’ by performance company Lone Twin. The Boat Project is part of ‘Artists Taking The Lead’, a series of 12 public art commissions across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
The Boat Project is the winning commission for the South East region and is funded by Arts Council England. Residents, businesses, schools and community organisations in Milton Keynes are invited to contribute pieces of wood towards this unique boat-building project.
The wood can be as small as a pencil or as large as a sideboard, but each piece of wood must come with a story which will be documented through photographs and audio recordings when donated. The wood will then be woven together and encased in resin to form the hull of a 30ft sailing boat that will sail around the South East coast before coming to rest in Milton Keynes (one of the furthest points in the UK from the sea!) during IF2012.
The wood collections will take place this year, on Tuesday 19 July 2011 at Midsummer Place Shopping Centre in Milton Keynes, from 11am - 5pm. For more details about the Boat Project go to www.theboatproject.com