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Vision for Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony revealed

Host Boroughs play major part in Ceremonies.

A picture of two person standing and one rapeze artist. Artistic Directors Bradley Hemmings and Jenny Sealey outlined their vision for the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony. © • Getty Images
By IPC

"The Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games is always a magical occasion and I am extremely impressed at what London 2012 has in store for the global audience."

Co-artistic directors Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings outlined their vision for the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony taking place at 8.30pm on the 29 August 2012. Called ‘Enlightenment’, they promise a spectacular celebration of the inspirational spirit of the Paralympic Games that challenges perceptions of human possibility.

Groundbreaking in its inclusivity and innovative staging, the Ceremony will showcase the excellence of artists with a disability and will open with a fly past by ‘Aerobility’, a British charity that trains people with an impairment to become pilots.

The Ceremony promises to be an electrifying celebration to mark the occasion when the Paralympic Games, which originated in the UK as the Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948, will come home.

50 specialist performers in the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony are also taking part in an eight week circus skills training programme taking place at Circus Space in Hackney.

The programme, which starts this week and is funded by Arts Council England, will see performers with a disability, including established artists and people new to the arts such as rehabilitating soldiers and non competing Paralympians, learn circus arts skills. These new skills will not only help them with their specialist roles in the Ceremony where they will perform aerial work on a 35m high rig, but also build on these skills after the Games.

The London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony will include an adult volunteer cast of over 3000, children volunteer cast of over 100, and a professional cast of over 100.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) today confirmed that Barking and Dagenham will host a key rehearsal site for the London 2012 Ceremonies bringing further benefits to the Host Boroughs.

From 19 May the London 2012 Ceremonies crew and cast will move to start rehearsals at the once derelict site in Dagenham, which will now be transformed into a thriving, fully operational rehearsal unit.

The space will replicate the performance area in the Olympic Stadium and will see 110 days of rehearsals take place for all four Ceremonies. The rehearsals will continue right up to the days leading up to the Games whilst the Stadium is prepared for Games-time use.

All of the Host Boroughs are playing their part in the Ceremonies. 3 Mills Studios in Tower Hamlets continues to be the main base for the Ceremonies Team and students from Get Set Network schools in Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest taking part as the under 16s Volunteer Performer Cast.

Following the announcement of the schools taking part in the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in February, the schools participating in the Parlaympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies have now been confirmed.

Seb Coe, LOCOG Chair, said: ‘Jenny and Bradley’s spectacular Paralympic Opening Ceremony will be a great showcase of the skills and excellence of disabled artists. The London 2012 Ceremonies are truly global events, with billions of people across the world watching the four shows. This is undoubtedly a fantastic opportunity to showcase talents to the world and I’m delighted that the Host Boroughs have such an important involvement.’

Jenny Sealey, London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony Co-Artistic Director, said: ‘Bradley and I are relishing this opportunity of creating our Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony. We are on a rollercoaster of a journey and with us we have an awesome creative team, a wonderful professional cast and an extraordinary team of volunteers. It is immensely exciting and always terrifying especially as the days are passing at the rate of knots. But we will be ready to show the world the story we have so carefully developed and nurtured.’

Bradley Hemmings, London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony Co-Artistic Director, said: ‘Jenny and I want our Ceremony to be both spectacular and deeply human at the same time. Having worked together in outdoor theatre over a number of years we’re determined that the Ceremony should speak from the heart, whilst rising to the emotional and historic occasion of the homecoming of the Paralympic Games.’

Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, said: 'The Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games is always a magical occasion and I am extremely impressed at what London 2012 has in store for the global audience.

'The theme ‘Enlightenment’ is a fitting one as I am sure the cumulative TV audience of 4 billion that will watch the Games, as well as the spectators in the stadiums, will be enlightened by the stunning performances of all 4,200 athletes who take part in London 2012.’