The Tree of Light

The Tree of Light

Charlie Morrissey is the artistic director of The Tree of Light.

A major new site-specific project with a series of large scale performances taking place in the South East of England during June and July 2012.

The Tree of Light is one of four large-scale community celebrations in the UK to be funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to create a cultural and sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games across the UK. The award recognises the exciting potential of this project which will ensure that new audiences will be developed and the excitement of the 2012 Games will be shared with many thousands of people at community level, in large scale regional events and as part of the 2012 celebrations in London.

South East England’s natural environment will be celebrated as community members make an unforgettable contribution to the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Participants from schools and community groups along the River Thames will take part in performances in Oxford, Henley, Reading and Windsor/Slough around a central Tree of Light – a monumental, sculptured work of art – in visually stunning spectacle events featuring music, choreography and cutting edge digital arts in spectacular settings.

Between 2011 and 2012 arts and science partners will work with ten groups in each of the Oxford, Henley, Reading and Windsor/Slough ‘hubs’ to elicit responses to the project’s themes. Participants’ ideas and aspirations will then be expressed artistically as groups work with the Tree of Light’s lead artists towards the final performances. These include installation design team Block9, artistic director Charlie Morrissey and composer Orlando Gough, working with a team of choreographers including: Sophie Arstall, Caroline Bridges, Debbie Camp, Leila Chebbi, Morgan Cloud, Paula Conduit,  John Darvell,  Aya Kobayashi, Fiona Millward and Rachel Palmer working with groups of all ages to create the performance. The sound of the tree is being specially created by Matthew Herbert and James Matther.

The massive Tree of Light that Block9 produces will use LED lighting and will be powered by Electric Pedals’ adapted bicycles and rowing apparatus. The large-scale celebrations will embody the powerful sustainability message that is at the heart of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Games as dance, music and movement combine with cutting edge digital technology to create a blaze of light – a visually stunning public spectacle that involves more than a thousand people.