The artistic director of London 2012’s Opening Ceremony, Danny Boyle, has spoken of his respect for the 10,000 volunteers, cast and crew who are putting all their efforts into making the event a night to remember.
In the preceding months there have already been 157 cast rehearsals, but with just 45 days to go until the Olympic Games, preparations are moving up a gear. Volunteer performers have been spending evenings and weekends at the new site in Barking & Dagenham, where 37 of the rehearsals are taking place.
Meanwhile, the London 2012 Ceremonies Team working at the production base at 3 Mills Studios has been tasked with the creation of 2,956 props, and staff in the costume department are working tirelessly to complete the 23,000 costumes required for all four ceremonies, including sewing on 24,570 buttons.
On the technical side, installation for ceremonies lighting is due to commence in the Olympic Stadium, which includes 1,100 automated lamps, 1,000 conventional lamps, 500 LED fixtures, and 32 follow spots. A million watt sounds system using more than 500 speakers and 50 tonnes of associated sound gear will also be required.
Creating the set for the Opening Ceremony – entitled ‘Green and Pleasant’ is another monumental task. Work has begun on the opening scene, where spectators will be greeted with a view of the traditional British countryside as they enter the East London stadium.
One of the largest sets ever built for an Opening Ceremony, it will feature meadows and rivers, picnicking families and real farmyard animals. Each of the four nations will be represented by their national flower– the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, the daffodil of Wales and flax from Northern Ireland.
Speaking of his experience of working on the spectacular show, Boyle explained: “The Ceremony is an attempt to capture a picture of ourselves as a nation, where we have come from and where we want to be. The best part of telling that story has been working with our 10,000 volunteers. I’ve been astounded by the selfless dedication of the volunteers, they are the purest embodiment of the Olympic spirit and represent the best of who we are as a nation.”