Inspired Chess

Echo Echo production awarded Inspire Mark

The Chess Piece from Northern Ireland’s dance company Echo Echo, has been awarded the Inspire Mark, a prestigious award that recognises exceptional and innovative projects inspired by the London 2012 Games.

The Chess Piece is an original and spectacular dance theatre production performed in The Guildhall June 23-26. Part of Echo Echo’s Into Contact programme, The Chess Piece received £125,000 funding from Legacy Trust UK’s Connections Programme, which is managed by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The ambitious participative show will feature 32 performers on a giant chessboard. Alongside the professional dancers, the company invited local people to join in with the performances.

Local children and teenagers aged 8 upwards as well as some of the adult participants of all abilities and backgrounds have been taking part in Echo Echo’s development workshops throughout the spring term.

Steve Batts, Artistic Director of Echo Echo said: "This is going to be really good fun, for the 32 performers and for the audience too. I can't wait to see the magic that choreographer Ayesha Mailey will bring to the giant chessboard made up of 64 one and a half metre, black and white squares covering the floor of the Guildhall.

"It will be a big, energised and crazy show influenced by our partnership with In Your Space who bring their costume, street performance and big event expertise to the production. I'm sure there will still be the characteristic Echo Echo warmth and friendliness though."

Over the past year more than 100,000 people have participated in cultural projects in communities across Northern Ireland as part of the celebrations leading up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Then Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister, and Chair of the NI 2012 Leadership Group, Nelson McCausland said: "With just two years to go until the Games begin, Echo Echo's production of The Chess Piece picks up the mantle of a highly successful year by kicking off a new programme of activity this summer. Cultural projects like The Chess Piece inspire young people across the country to be involved in the spirit of the Games and understand the Olympic values in their own communities. Echo Echo should be congratulated for the launch of their Legacy Trust project which will bring the celebration of the Games through participation across the North West.'

Seb Coe, Chair, London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, also provided his endorsement for the project. He said: 'The Chess Piece is encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to fulfil their potential. I am proud that with the help of partners such as Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, who are delivering on our vision to use the power of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to boost participation in dance and sport.'

Moira Swinbank, Chief Executive of Legacy Trust UK said 'Legacy Trust UK is an independent charitable trust, which supports cultural and sporting activity that promotes the widest possible impact of London staging the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to leave a lasting legacy in communities throughout the UK. The Trust is proud to fund Echo Echo, through the Connections programme in Northern Ireland, as we believe the Chess Piece will inspire people through a truly innovative production and performance.'

For more information about the show or Echo Echo, visit www.echoechodance.com

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