Nick Clegg today visited the Rhondda Valley and was given a sneak preview of one of the highlights of the London 2012 Festival in Wales.
On the visit, the Deputy Prime Minister hailed the lasting impact the Olympics will leave for Wales in bringing new cultural and sporting talent to the fore.
The Deputy Prime Minister dropped in on rehearsals of Mzansi Cymru - a major arts project spearheaded by community regeneration charity Valleys Kids - that will culminate in a large-scale spectacular performance “Torchbearers” at the Wales Millennium Centre next month. The performance is one of the key events in the calendar for the Wales arm of the London 2012 Festival, a spectacular 12-week celebration which starts on June 21 marking the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad.
Mzansi Cymru links disadvantaged people and communities of the South Wales Valleys and Townships in Cape Town, to uncover untapped potential in both communities and celebrate cultural traditions. The Deputy Prime Minister met with young people who showed off their music, dance and drama skills in the performance during their rehearsal at the Soar Centre, Penygraig.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:
The arrival of the Olympics in the UK is about so much more than sport - it’s also about celebrating our culture and bringing talent across the country to the fore. The London 2012 Festival will showcase the incredible diversity of culture in the UK, and leave a lasting impact by bringing out previously untapped potential.
Mzansi Cymru is a fantastic project and illustrates the very best of the cultural side of the Olympics, celebrates the Valleys’ cultural heritage, and gives opportunities to young people who need to be given a chance. It was a huge pleasure to meet the inspiring young people taking part in the project.
In Wales, the London 2012 Festival will feature 19 different events taking place in 12 towns and villages across the country. It is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, which is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic movements. Spread over four years, the Cultural Olympiad is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.
Denise Lord, Project Coordinator at Valleys Kids, said:
We were delighted that the Deputy Prime Minister could come to the Mzansi Cymru rehearsal and meet with some of the young people from the South Wales Valleys who are taking part. It’s fantastic that he’s showing his support for the project, into which an enormous amount of work is going and which will give so many young people from here the chance to shine.
Before his visit to Penygraig, the Deputy Prime Minister visited Fitzalan High School, Cardiff, where he spoke to pupils across all age groups before taking questions. The Deputy Prime Minister was speaking as part of the ‘Speakers for Schools’ programme, which gets high-profile speakers in to state schools to talk to pupils for free, and was backed by the Deputy Prime Minister when it launched in England last year. The programme will officially launch in Wales this November, making pupils at Fitzalan the first to preview the programme in Wales.
The Deputy Prime Minister is determined that all young people should go on to fulfil their ambitions, regardless of their background, and this approach forms the backbone of his strategy for social mobility ‘Opening Doors, Breaking Barriers’. He spoke to the pupils about talent and encouraged all of them to fulfil their potential.
Notes to editors
The London 2012 Festival takes place from 21 June to 9 September.