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A £215k grant from Arts Council England will bring a large-scale intergenerational dance project to Milton Keynes.

An avenue of trees
The commissioned work is inspired by the Cathedral of Trees in Milton Keynes’ Campbell Park.
Photo: 

Phil W Shirley via Creative Commons (cc by-nc-nd 2.0)

The first project to be supported through Arts Council England’s Lottery-funded Exceptional Award scheme will be ‘Under The Vaulted Sky’, a dance performance which will form part of the 2014 IF: Milton Keynes International Festival in July this year. The £215k award has been made to festival producers The Stables for a commission from choreographer Rosemary Lee. It will be the culmination of her year-long residency working with professional and non-professional dancers from across the region. The work, inspired by the Cathedral of Trees in Milton Keynes’ Campbell Park, will involve 100 dancers, live music and a soundscape commissioned from composer and instrument maker Terry Mann. Eight performances will be presented over five days and a special film adaptation of the performance will be shot on location over three days following the live event.

The Exceptional Awards programme was announced in July 2013, described as an opportunity for ACE to “respond to a one-off opportunity to create a project that is of such ambition that it sits outside the normal programme of the organisation and does not fit into existing Arts Council funding routes.” Each award made under the scheme will be worth more than £50k, and the successful projects must show “great ambition” and be completed in addition to the organisation’s core programme. Fewer than 25 of such awards will be made before the scheme ends in March 2015. Monica Ferguson, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of The Stables, said: “We are delighted and honoured to receive this Exceptional Award from Arts Council England to enable us to bring the beautiful Cathedral of Trees to life with dance and, with the support of all the partners involved, deliver a truly inspiring event.” 

Author(s): 
Liz Hill