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Issue:- 1 December  2011

Northern artists given opportunity to win starring role in London 2012 Festival

DRUMMERS and dancers from across the North of England are being given an incredible chance to take part in the spectacular London 2012 Festival.  Up to 12 local artists will be chosen to perform at the opening and closing night of the arts festival which is designed to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  The lucky performers will join acclaimed French company Les Commandos Percu in the world premiere of their electrifying new open-air show On the Night Shift.   The professional drummers and contemporary dancers will be selected to take part in the 2 performances which will take place on the shores of Lake Windermere, following the arrival of the Olympic torch and for the opening day of the London 2012 Festival on 21 June 2011 and in Preston on 9 September 2011, as part of the finale of The Preston Guild. Les Commandos are renowned for their explosive shows that combine drama, drumming, pyrotechnics and music in one dazzling mix. They are keen to find local artists with passion, flair and talent to bring a new dynamic to their performance.  Commissioned by Lakes Alive, The Lake District National Park, We Play Expo and the London 2012 Festival, On the Night Shift promises to be their most ambitious show to date.

Julie Tait of Kendal Arts International which runs the Lakes Alive programme says:- "This will be the first time that Commandos Percu have worked on a show with dancers and other professional drummers and they’re just as excited as we are at the possibilities for creating something truly spectacular.  Talented local artists will get the chance to be a part of one of the biggest creative festivals the UK has ever seen. It’s a life-changing opportunity."

Professional or semi-professional percussionists of any style are invited to apply for the chance to join in this amazing event. One of the drummers selected will be appointed assistant musical director to work on developing the music and leading rehearsals.  Les Commandos Percu are also looking for dancers with a background in contemporary dance; one of whom will be made principal choreographer for the piece.

Raymond Gabriel, artistic director of Les Commandos Percu, says:- "Lakes Alive offers us the opportunity to collaborate with local artists in the creation of an unprecedented large-scale show. It will take the form of a choreographed musical and pyrotechnic spectacle that has grown through the collaboration of French and English artists, combining their professional skills."

The show will be developed over 4 residential workshop and rehearsal sessions leading up to the premiere on Midsummer’s Day. Up to 16 drummers and eight dancers will be invited to take part in the initial weekend of auditions before the final selection is made.  All of the residential sessions will take place at the Lanternhouse in Ulverston, Cumbria. Meals, accommodation and travelling expenses will be provided and following the first weekend artists will be paid £500 per training session and £750 per weekend.  Artists need to be available for rehearsals and performances on 27 January - 29 January 2012; 16 March - 19 March 2012; 4 May - 7 May 2012; 16 June - 21 June 2012; and 9 September 2012.

The London 2012 Festival is a spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration from 21 June and running until 9 September 2012 bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.  David Hockney, Damon Albarn, Mike Leigh, Toni Morrison and Olafur Eliasson currently head the line-up of artists who will perform at some of the UK’s major venues including the Tate galleries, the Royal Opera House and the Barbican.

Ruth Mackenzie, director of Culture Olympiad, says:- “From 21 June to 9 September 2012, across the whole of the UK, new work from the best artists, musicians, writers, comedians, film makers and other creative talent will be presented in the largest festival in the country. From food to fashion, street dance to digital, from pop to opera, the festival will offer a once in a lifetime chance to be inspired by the best in the world.”

Lakes Alive is 1 of the 3 Annual Legacy Programmes commissioned by Legacy Trust UK for WE PLAY, the Northwest cultural legacy programme for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. It is being sponsored by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and has also received funding from Arts Council England and the Northern Rock Foundation.

To apply to join Commandos Percu, applicants need to write a letter saying why this project excites them enclosing a short CV detailing all relevant experience. They can also include a short sound sample or dance video.  Applications can be sent to Jenny Graham via email.  Or you can send postal applications to:-

Kendal Arts International, 22 Riverside Park, Kendal LA9 7SX.

The deadline is noon, Friday 9 December 2011 and applicants will be notified by 19 December 2011. For more information see:- and  For more details on the London 2012 Festival visit:-

Public unaware of their rights on medical treatment

A poll commissioned by Compassion in Dying found that 62% of adults in the North West would only want comfort care at the end of their lives, with fewer than 8% of people wanting full treatment to prolong their life. However just 2% had made their treatment wishes clear in an Advance Decision. The majority (58%), also wrongly believed that they had the legal right to make treatment decisions on behalf of their loved ones, if their loved ones lost the ability to communicate their wishes.

The results of this poll highlight the need for people to be better informed about their legal rights at the end of life, so that the medical treatment wishes they express are respected.

Compassion in Dying, a national charity focused on end-of-life rights, has a new Information Line dedicated to informing people about their existing legal rights and supporting them in ensuring their end-of-life wishes are respected. The freephone number is:- 0800 999 2434.

Mrs Glenys Crossley from Cheshire said:- "When my husband became terminally ill last year I was extremely glad his Advance Decision was in place. In his last days he was given excellent palliative care in hospital and there was no question of unhelpful intrusive medical intervention. My own Advance Decision is on file at my GP's and hospital and my family is aware of my decision. The Information Help line will be invaluable for advising people that to ensure their wishes at end of life are complied with they need to make an Advance Decision and ensure it is lodged with their GP Practice."

Dr Richard Scheffer, retired consultant in Palliative Medicine and Medical Director of an independent hospice, said:- "I think this poll result will come as a surprise to many people. There is an assumption that doctors must always do all we can to keep people alive. However, when someone is clearly dying, it is often in their best interests for medical staff to focus on using palliative treatments to ensure they are comfortable rather than to continue more aggressive life sustaining treatment. This poll shows that a majority of the public shares this view. Ultimately, what an individual wants at the end of life is of the utmost importance. People clearly have preferences about what treatment they do or don’t want once they know that they’re dying, but few people have made those preferences clear in Advance Decision documents. People often believe that decisions about their treatment can be made on their behalf by family or friends, while the reality is that in the absence of an Advance Decision or Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), these decisions are made by healthcare professionals. Doctors or nurses will consult family members, but ultimately it is the healthcare team who must decide what they believe to be in the best interests of the patient - and that may not always be the treatment the patient would have chosen.  I am delighted to be able to support the formation of an information line on end-of-life rights. I believe the Information Line will be of enormous help and support to patients facing their own deaths and also to loved ones trying to ensure that those they care for most have the best treatment at the end of life, based on their own wishes."

As well as the new End-of-Life Rights Information Line, Compassion in Dying also provides free Advance Decisions, guides to Rights at the End of Life for the general public, and toolkits for medical professionals on how Advance Decisions can be integrated into their patients’ care.

Statement From The Knowsley Area Commander About The Huyton Murder

THIS is a copy of a statement that was read out to media by Knowsley Area Commander, Ch Supt Darren Martland:- "We are appealing for information to help with an investigation into a fatal stabbing of a 30 year-old man at a newsagents in Huyton, at around 9pm last night. The brutal and unprovoked attack was on an employee at Stanley News in Kingsway, Huyton. He is believed to be from Sri Lanka and had been working at the newsagents for some months. Officers are tracing the man’s family to inform them of his death and offer them support. Until this is done we cannot confirm his name. We have launched a comprehensive investigation into this murder. Detectives and crime scene officers have been working through the night to secure and search the scene and surrounding area. House to house inquiries and further searches of Kingsway and Whitelodge Avenue area are ongoing. Although, the investigation is at an early stage, the attack appears to have been unprovoked and the motive is currently unknown. Detectives are pursing a number of lines of enquiry. At this stage we believe the offender to be male, stocky built, wearing a dark tracksuit. He covered his face and entered the shop at around 9pm and attacked the shop worker. A post-mortem examination will take place to establish cause of death and the Home Office pathologist has been informed. Someone must know something about this tragic incident and we urge anyone who has any information who can help us to come forward. If you have seen or know of anyone who has been acting suspicious or unusual please let us know. We understand that this incident will shock the community and we are working with our partners in Knowsley to offer reassurance. Anyone with any information is asked to call Merseyside Police on:- 0151 777 6565, or 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on:- 0800 555 111."

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