Cultural Olympiad 2009: Where the world comes to play

    More than 400 performances; new touring and digital programs; one-year
    countdown concert highlight 2009 program

    VANCOUVER, Oct. 28 /CNW/ - Gravity defying dance, rousing music and a new
spin on graffiti art today gave a taste of the more than 400 free and ticketed
performances and exhibitions audiences will enjoy as part of the Cultural
Olympiad 2009 program.
    The complete program was announced by the Vancouver Organizing Committee
for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). Program highlights
include a one-year countdown concert on February 12, 2009, headlined by
multiple Grammy and Juno award winner Sarah McLachlan, the introduction of a
ground-breaking new suite of digital programs that extends the celebration of
Canadian culture online, and myriad other performances and exhibitions
spanning music, dance, theatre, visual arts and film. Cultural Olympiad 2009
will run from February 1 to March 21, 2009, with events to be held in more
than 70 venues throughout the Games region.
    "The Cultural Olympiad will engage audiences with cultural experiences
that intrigue, inspire and celebrate creativity in the 21st century," said
Burke Taylor, VANOC vice president, Culture and Celebrations. "Cultural
Olympiad 2009 takes this promise to the next step, expanding the scope of our
programs in our build-up to 2010."
    With more than 100 projects, 97 of which are presented in partnership
with 70 arts and culture organizations, Cultural Olympiad 2009 showcases the
vitality and breadth of Canada's creative community. The 2009 festival builds
on the success of the 2008 program, expanding its scope, scale and diversity
through greater participation by national and international artists. With 85
percent Canadian content - half from across Canada and half from BC - artists
from every province and territory of Canada are featured alongside artists
from five continents, bringing the world together through creativity and
    The 2009 program also extends the celebration across Canada through the
National Presentation and Touring Program and into the digital sphere with the
introduction of CODE (the Cultural Olympiad Digital Edition).

    Unique Programming

    From productions that meld divergent perspectives to emerging talents
re-inventing the voice of contemporary Canada, Cultural Olympiad 2009 features
music, dance, theatre, visual arts, film, outdoor spectaculars and digital
media experiences. Streets will buzz with digital graffiti, fire artists,
high-tech face painters as well as an inaugural Lunar Festival at the
Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza.
    This year's music program dives into a wide range of music styles, from
Australian cult band The Necks, to a rare performance of Steve Reich's
mesmerizing Drumming by a who's who of Vancouver percussionists, to the
Vancouver premiere of the legendary Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
    Theatre productions will include new and old world puppetry with the
latest creation from Canada's genius of puppet theatre, the masterful Ronnie
Burkett, and the classical form of Japan's Awaji Puppet Theatre. Skydive
provides an uplifting window into of the power of the imagination, while East
of Berlin takes a provocative look at history's psychological legacies.
    The visual arts programs on offer roam and explore the underworld of
China's outlaw performance art scene and revel in the magic of Canada's finest
ice carvers. Closer to home, a tribute to Stan Douglas and the seminal roots
of the Vancouver School reveals an intriguing snapshot of Vancouver's arts
scene in the 1980s. Cinephiles can enjoy historical and new films screened in
novel settings, such as snow banks and shipping containers. Israel's Batsheva
Dance Company, Quebec's Marie Brassard and Spain's flamenco master Maria
Juncal provide a glimpse of some of the most exciting dance marking today's
world stages.
    "As we build to the extraordinary Games-time program of 2010 the constant
for the Cultural Olympiad is our commitment to the vibrancy of our regional
and national arts and cultural scene," said Robert Kerr, VANOC's program
director, Cultural Olympiad. "Partnering with arts and cultural organizations
is fundamental to creating a successful program that truly engages our
community, celebrates its creativity and leads to legacies lasting long past
    For a complete list of Cultural Olympiad 2009 events, visit

    One-Year Countdown Celebration featuring Sarah McLachlan

    An all-star Canadian lineup headlined by the extraordinary
singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan has been assembled for a special event on
February 12 at 7:30 pm at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre to mark the official
one-year countdown to the 2010 Winter Games. One of the most gifted and
acclaimed performers of her generation, the multiple Grammy and Juno award
winner will perform songs drawn from her legendary 20-year multi-platinum
recording career.
    The stellar program will also feature the exuberant alt/rock of Halifax
singer/songwriter Joel Plaskett; the sublime music-making of the dynamic young
Canadian violinist Adrian Anantawan; and Alberta Ballet's performance of If -
an excerpt from the exhilarating 2007 ballet The Fiddle and Drum by Joni
Mitchell and choreographer Jean Grand-Maître.
    Tickets for the One-Year Countdown Celebration go on sale Saturday,
November 1, 2008 at

    Sounds of Canada

    The 2009 festival also features a number of Cultural Olympiad-produced
music events, which collectively reflect the sounds of contemporary Canada.
Two of the country's hottest bands - Toronto's Broken Social Scene and
Calgary's Tegan and Sara - set the stage with a hot double bill at the Orpheum
Theatre on February 6 at 8:00 pm. Tickets go on sale Saturday, November 1,
2008 at
    Looking down the road, the New Songs, New Voices series at the Waterfront
Theatre, from February 26 - March 1, features four nights of music from a
dozen of the next great Canadian singer/songwriters. Additional concerts will
be announced in the late fall.

    Bringing the Olympiad into the digital realm

    One of the highlights of Cultural Olympiad 2009 is the introduction of
CODE - the Cultural Olympiad's Digital Edition. CODE is a suite of digital
programs intended to engage a wide range of audiences through the use of
digital platforms and media.
    During Cultural Olympiad 2009, CODE will issue its biggest call to
participate with the launch of The Canada Code, an online collaborative art
project that invites Canadians everywhere to contribute text, images and their
creativity to this massive grassroots art project. The goal is to create a
unique picture of contemporary Canada for the world to see in 2010. The 2009
program also includes the first in a series of digital stages intended to
carve an online spotlight for Canadian talent. Further developments will
unfold online throughout the year as the momentum builds to CODE on the
Ground, a two-week digital arts festival during Cultural Olympiad 2010.
    CODE is presently working in partnership with national and local arts and
new media organizations to develop the platforms, tools and content for CODE's
range of initiatives. Additional details will be announced in late 2008 and
early 2009.
    "Digital platforms overlook time and geography, which are among their
greatest advantages. CODE can enhance the 2010 commitment to reach out to all
Canadians, and extend the overall capacity and impact of the Cultural
Olympiad," said Rae Hull, director, Media Programs and Partnerships, Cultural
Olympiad. "Canada is one of the most wired countries in the world, and CODE
can help focus a spotlight on the nation's creativity that everyone can see."

    Taking the Cultural Olympiad across Canada

    Designed to ensure Canadians from all regions can participate in the
Cultural Olympiad experience, the National Presentation and Touring Program
(NPTP) will bring to large cities and smaller rural centres some of Canada's
most dynamic talent. By facilitating tours of participating Cultural Olympiad
artists, the NPTP will help build new connections between artists, audiences
and presenters, creating positive post-Games arts legacies for all Canadians.
    The program is a unique partnership between VANOC, the arts community,
and Canada's federal, provincial and territorial ministries responsible for
culture and their arts funding agencies. The NPTP starts in 2009, and will
expand significantly in 2010. Touring activity will take place concurrently
with the Cultural Olympiad 2009 and 2010. Additional information about the
NPTP is available at

    About the Cultural Olympiad

    The Cultural Olympiad is a series of multi-disciplinary festivals and
digital programs showcasing the best in Canadian and international arts and
popular culture. Launched in 2008, this multi-year celebration features an
expanded program in 2009 (February 1 to March 21, 2009). The program
culminates with the 60-day Cultural Olympiad 2010 (January 22 to March 21,
2010), which begins before and continues throughout the 2010 Olympic and
Paralympic Winter Games.



    Bell is proud to be a Premier National Partner and the exclusive
Telecommunications Partner to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter
Games, and the presenting sponsor for the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad.
    Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers with
solutions to all their communications needs, including telephone services,
wireless communications, high-speed Internet, digital television and voice
over IP. Bell also offers integrated information and communications technology
(ICT) services to businesses and governments, and is the Virtual Chief
Information Officer (VCIO) to small and medium businesses (SMBs). Bell is
wholly owned by BCE Inc. For information on Bell's products and services,
please visit For corporate information on BCE, please visit


    The Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad is grateful for the support of the
following governments and their cultural agencies: Government of Canada; all
of Canada's provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba,
Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island,
Newfoundland and Labrador; and all of Canada's territories: Nunavut, Northwest
Territories and Yukon.
    In addition to the Cultural Olympiad's government and corporate partners,
CODE is proudly supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the National
Film Board of Canada. New Media BC and Wavefront Innovation Society are also
both active participants in the project.
    The National Presentation and Touring Program is generously supported by
the Canada Council for the Arts.

    About VANOC

    VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging
of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The
2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from
February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic
Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit

    FTP Information
    Information from the media kit is available electronically at:
    Username:  CulturalOlympiad09
    Password:  C0rnuc0p1a

For further information:

For further information: Media inquiries: Erin Mikaluk, VANOC
Communications, Tel.: (778) 328-3371, E-mail:;
Wendy Soobis, VANOC Communications, Tel.: (778) 328-1119, E-mail:

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