Portland butterflies herald Olympic sailing

12:00pm Tuesday 3rd April 2012

THOUSANDS of silver studded blue butterflies unique to Portland will be playing a key role in a dramatic performance to herald the Olympic sailing events.

A total of 2,692 butterflies – the number representing each child on the island – will be handmade by youth and community groups for the Battle for the Winds grand finale.

Battle for the Winds is a huge theatrical project that tells the story of a fight to regain the seven winds of the south west from the evil Doldrum in time to release for the Olympic sailing events.

It aims to reach an audience of 530,000 through 40 events across the South West region from April to July.

The event’s grand finale will take place in Weymouth and Portland over three days from July 26 to 28.

Battle on Weymouth Beach will commence with huge pieces of equipment being used by the evil Doldrum to capture the wind.

The next day will be on Portland with a performance at the High Angle Battery where the butterflies play a key role in Doldrum’s Lair.

The performance will feature Doldrum in eerie quarry tunnels where he has imprisoned winds and trapped the voice and breath of youth.

Organisers have been busy recording people’s memories of the battery, known as ‘The Ghost Tunnels’ to put into listening pods placed around the site.

Lorna Rees, creative producer from Activate Performing Arts said: “Portland is such a special community and place. It’s an outpost of a place and has a character that’s all its own and it inspired me so much going to the High Angle Battery – it’s such an evocative and amazing place.

“It’s one of the best-preserved in the country.”

She added: “We are hoping as many people will get involved as possible and use as many creative ways of making the butterflies as possible.

“I’m desperate for people to use their creative muscles and make what they think using paper, acetate, even old crisp packets.

“It’s about getting people’s creative muscles going.”

The first butterfly-making workshop will be on Saturday, May 26 at the Portland Fair.

Butterflies must be under three inches, blue edged with black and then a white outline that can be attached to floristry wire.

Battle for the Winds is part of the 80 or so projects that make up the Maritime Mix, the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad by the Sea.

Opportunities are also available for people to act as ‘Fire Torch Waders’ and carry lit torches from Weymouth Beach into the sea during the final battle on the evening of July 28.

Vist battleforthewinds.com or maritimemix2012.com

Grand finale

• Thursday, July 26, Weymouth Beach – The Gathering and Ceremony of the Winds: Throughout the day, the seven wind-gathering teams and their vessels arrive in Weymouth and Portland to present their winds to Aeolus, the ruler of the winds.

On the beach, the winds battle it out in a spectacular performance involving hundreds of artists that takes place on land and in the air.

• Friday, July 27, High Angle Batteries, Portland – The Search for Doldrum’s Lair: Come if you dare! A 20-minute dance performance and multimedia installation among Portland quarries and an abandoned Napoleonic fort explores the myth of Doldrum.

• Saturday July 28, Weymouth Beach – The Final Battle: Disabled and non-disabled performers will tell the story of Doldrum’s defeat by ‘the Breathers’ in a stunning outdoor performance.

The Battle for the Winds ensemble will join the Breathe Company in a final dramatic celebration of the release of the winds, including a massed squibbing – firework holders – performance, fire torches in the sea, performances on stage and in the air, video projections and pyrotechnics.

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