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100 days to the Olympics

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Today marks the official 100 day countdown to the 2012 London Olympics

The London 2012 games are just round the corner with only 100 days to go until the event of the decade begins! The official Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games will take place on Friday 27 July 2012, where the world’s eyes will be on the city capital. Be sure to check availability and see if you can grab one of our last rooms available at the four star luxury Apex City of London Hotel during the 2012 Olympics!

London 2012

The official Olympic countdown clock, unveiled 500 days before the games, can be found in Trafalgar Square. With celebrations taking place all over the city, keep your eyes on our up and coming London June, July and August blog posts, in order to keep up to date with all the activities going on during the summer of 2012.

For those of us that did not manage to get tickets for the London 2012 games, don’t be disheartened, as there will be plenty of Olympic Games that are completely free to watch! These free games include Road Cycling, Triathlon, Marathon and Race Walking where the streets of London will be lined with cheering fans that have come out to support their favourite sporting heroes.

This year will see London host the Olympic Games for the third time, making history for becoming the first city to officially host the Olympic Games three times. Each time the Olympics have been hosted by London, it has been iconic and record breaking – putting London on the map.

It all started at the London 1908 games where, for the first time, athletes paraded under their national flags at the Opening Ceremony. This was also the pioneering year that the distance of the Marathon was set to 26.2 miles, as this was the exact distance from Windsor Castle to the Royal Box in the Olympic Stadium.

The Games then descended on to London for the second time in 1948, after the World War II where London stepped in at the last minute to be hosting city. Again, this was a record breaking year for the Games, as it was the first time the competition was shown on home television!

From the extravaganza of the Opening Ceremony to the thrills of the sporting action, the 2012 games is an event not to be missed as it truly will be an unforgettable experience. Let’s see what records the London games can break this year!

Find out more on the London 2012 website.

Edinburgh Film Festival

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Edinburgh International Film Festival (20 June - 1 July 2012)

The Edinburgh International Film Festival is a world renowned celebration of International cinema held annually in Scotland’s capital. 2012 sees the 66th EIFF take place from 20 June to 1 July.

Films are showcased in venues across the city at the Filmhouse, Cameo, Festival Theatre and George Square Theatre, along with unique festival events including outdoor screenings, workshops and discussions.

Opening Night – 20 June 2012

It was announced today that William Friedkin’s thriller Killer Joe will be the festival's opening night gala.

Killer Joe - opening night film

From the director of The French Connection and The Exorcist and starring Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch, it is the story of drug dealer Chris Smith. Down on his luck, he hires hit man Killer Joe to murder his own mother for her $50,000 life insurance policy. With barely a dollar to his name Chris agrees to offer up his younger sister, Dottie, as collateral in exchange for Joe’s services until he receives the insurance money. That is, if it ever does come in.

"Killer Joe is about the Good and Evil in everyone, the struggle for our better angels to triumph over our demons. Often lost. The thin line between the policeman and the criminal. It's also a riff on the Cinderella story, wherein she finds her prince, but he turns out to be a hired killer. I would also like to thank the Edinburgh International Film Festival for honouring our film with this screening, uncut. Of a film the Motion Picture Association of America has expressed a desire to censor." William Friedkin, Director.

Closing Night - 30 June 2012

The closing night film has been announced as Brave, the latest Disney-Pixar animated movie. Set in Scotland and featuring a whole host of UK stars, Edinburgh is the perfect place for Brave to make its European Premiere.

Brave - closing night film

The film tells the story of courageous Scottish princess Merida, a skilled archer determined to carve her own path in life. Defying a sacred Scottish custom, she inadvertently unleashes the fury of her family and turns to an eccentric witch for help. The chaos which ensues forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery. With voices from the likes of Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson and Robbie Coltrane, this is sure to be another Disney-Pixar hit.

“Brave will be the most high-profile film ever set in, and themed around, Scotland, featuring Scottish stars. We are looking at a film which comes from the award-winning team behind such box office smashes as Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Up, and will create global buzz when it is released.” Alex Salmond, First Minister for Scotland.

A full programme of showings and events will soon be available to view on the EIFF website.

The Tempest in Dundee

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The Tempest at Dundee Rep Theatre (6 - 23 June 2012)

Dundee's Rep Theatre has become renowned for its productions and as its award winning Dundee Rep Ensemble prepares for a new, exciting production of Shakespearean comedy The Tempest, we caught up with director Jemima Levick to talk great playwrights, ensemble casts and Dundee as a significant centre for the arts.

Special offer

Don't miss half price tickets to The Tempest for guests staying at Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa in Dundee.*

The Tempest is thought to be Shakespeare's final play. On the surface it's the story of the exiled and shipwrecked Prospero seeking vengeance on his brother for stealing his rightful place as Duke of Milan. Learning that his brother is on a vessel in nearby seas, Prospero raises a magical tempest to wash the ship ashore and exact his revenge. There's more to the story, though, as the fates of the island dwellers and the ship's various passengers become entwined in a tale of love, friendship, redemption, magic and theatre itself.

Tempest director Jemima Levick talks to us about her latest production.

We're pretty excited about the Rep's production of The Tempest. It's just over 4 weeks away – what stage are preparations at and how are they going?
Very well, it's an exciting piece of work! We're only in the second week of rehearsals so we're only really just getting it 'on it's feet' as we've been discussing it round the table up until now. It's important to ensure that everyone has a literal and functional level of understanding about the text and clear about what exactly they're saying. The designs are all in place now, it just needs to be built!

What can audiences expect from the Dundee Rep Theatre's production of The Tempest?
I'm hoping it'll feel like a fresh look at the text, of the story, the characters and the world in which it's set - a play for today, not just for 1611! I've taken a new look at it in terms of the island dwellers and their relationship to the environment in which they live and the people that arrive on the island. But I won't tell you what that is... you'll have to come and see it!

This is your first time directing Shakespeare. You're no stranger to theatre's great playwrights, having tackled plays by Ibsen, Tolstoy, Chekhov and Tennessee Williams already, but is there something special about taking on Shakespeare?
It's an obvious answer, but the language makes all the difference. Also his reputation! Everyone knows his plays so well. Even the less known ones have been studied and pulled apart by scholars and audiences for many many years. If I had a pound for each person that's told me that this is their 'favourite Shakespeare'...!

Do you have a favourite adaptation of the play, on stage or screen?
I love the Derek Jarman version. It's extraordinary but would never work on stage.

What's it like directing an ensemble company, like the Rep Ensemble, compared to working with actors brought together for a single production?
Essentially with the ensemble you have a shorthand between yourself and the actors and that the company has with one another. They trust each other as performers and so there's far fewer days spent 'getting to know you' than there tends to be when people are brought together. Also, the sheer number of shows that they have under their belt means that they are hugely experienced and so they have technique in spades.

Dundee has a vibrant arts and cultural environment, with the likes of the Rep Theatre, Scottish Dance Theatre, DCA, graphic arts organization NEoN and soon the new V&A. What does it mean to you to live in a city with a buoyant cultural scene? Are there any others you'd like to highlight?
Dundee has many high profile and also hidden arts organisations and venues. It's what makes Dundee such a fantastic place to visit. There is always something going on and never very far to reach. I would recommend that you come and explore Dundee for yourself, you won't be disappointed.

The Tempest runs from 6 - 23 June 2012 at Dundee Rep Theatre, Tay Square, Dundee, DD1 1PB.

* To book half price tickets for The Tempest, you'll need to have a booking confirmation for Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa for a night during the show's run. Call Dundee Rep box office on 01382 223530 and tell them you're a guest at Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa. When collecting your tickets from the box office, you'll be asked to show your hotel room keycard so please bring it with you.