Page last updated at 15:34 GMT, Thursday, 24 November 2011

Culture calling: London 2012 isn't all about sport

School Reporters Anna, Lucy and Freya outside BBC Broadcasting House
School Reporters Anna, Lucy and Freya put their interviewing skills into practice at a BBC Cultural Olympiad event

by Lucy, 13, Freya, 13 and Anna, 12
From Blackheath High School, London

It seems an obvious thing to say that 2012 Olympics is all about sport and London but today we found out its more than that as we attended the BBC's announcement about the Cultural Olympiad.

We went to BBC Broadcasting House in central London where we found out that the Cultural Olympiad includes a season of programmes celebrating art, drama, dance and music.

The first speech was by the Director General, Mark Thompson. He said he hoped BBC coverage of 2012 will "deliver something for everyone even if you're not a sports fan."

After the short film we interviewed various people involved in the BBC's Cultural Olympiad plans, including grabbing Mark Thompson on his way out!

He told us the three main themes for the BBC are music, Shakespeare and London.

Musical theme

One focal element in the Cultural Olympiad is music, whether it is hip hop or classical, and for all different tastes.

The Proms are the biggest classical music festival in the world
The Proms are the biggest classical music festival in the world

For example, the BBC Proms will last across the entire period of the Olympic and Paralympic Games so will be part of the BBC's 2012 Cultural celebrations.

Roger Wright, the Controller of Radio 3 told us that there should be something for everyone and that although they haven't announced it yet, young people will be part of the 2012 Proms. He said there will be more information in April, so "wait and see!"

Another exclusive announcement today was that the BBC's Olympic theme music will be by award-winning band Elbow. This music will be introduced in May with the start of the Torch Relay and will be used throughout the Games.

When we asked Roger Mosey, the BBC's Director for London 2012 about why Elbow were chosen he said "they have broad appeal, they appeal to young people, people my age and older people."

Perhaps one of the most exciting and anticipated music events of the Cultural Olympiad is Radio 1's Hackney weekend which will be "the biggest live music event Radio 1 has event put on."

Hot tickets

We spoke to Jason Carter who is in charge of the event. He told us there will be more information on the Radio One website in January about how to apply for tickets - they will probably sell out faster than tickets to see Usain Bolt!

Confirmed already are Leona Lewis, Plan B and today they announced Tinie Tempah and Florence and the Machine but these are just a few of the 100 acts who will perform.

Tinie Tempah will play Radio 1's Hackney weekend
Tinie Tempah will play Radio 1's Hackney weekend

As big One Direction fans we wanted to know whether they will be involved too so we put the question to Jason and we are pleased to say he didn't say no!

Jason explained that not all the performers are decided on until much nearer the time as they need to know they are still "relevant" - we think they will be!

He said that although tickets will be in "high demand" everyday 50% will be given to young people in East London as "Radio 1 has found out that some young people have seen the [Olympic] Park being built but don't feel very connected still."

Shakespeare showcase

We also spoke to Mark Bell, the BBC's Commissioning Editor for Arts about how Shakespeare's plays will be a big part of the BBC's Cultural Olympiad, including on radio, television and in theatres.

Mark said "you are never too young to enjoy Shakespeare" and told us about the Off By Heart project which encourages students to read Shakespeare and about new resources that will be available for teachers.

He said "Shakespeare is the world's playwright" so hopes everyone can enjoy something in the special BBC Shakespeare season.

The Cultural Olympiad, as well as the Olympic and Paralympic Games, is a way of bringing everyone all over London and the UK together.

2012 Festival

It wasn't just BBC people at the event. We also spoke to Jenny who is the Creative Producer for the London 2012 Festival who told us about other projects they hope young people will get involved in.

She introduced us to the Big Dance and a project called 'All the Bells' which hopes to get everyone ringing a bell for three minutes at 8am on 27 July, 2012 - the first day of the Olympic Games.

One London 2012 Festival project is to get everyone bell-ringing
One London 2012 Festival project is to get everyone bell-ringing

These are something everyone can do and make us all feel a part of the 2012 events.

There are a lot of things we can take away from today. We feel more informed what the Cultural Olympiad is and what is happening next year and more confident in our interview skills.

So tune in next year, wherever you are as there will be a great summer of art and culture as well as sport. We hope to get involved in some of the amazing opportunities on offer too!


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