Last night performers, athletes and spectators welcomed the world back to London for the 2012 Paralympic Games.
The spectacular Opening Ceremony, created by artistic directors Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings, saw Professor Stephen Hawking and actor Sir Ian McKellen introduce scenes exploring the theme of “Enlightenment” and showcasing the world’s leading deaf and disabled artists.
During the ceremony, more than 3,000 participants brought Sir Isaac Newton’s garden, the Large Hadron Collider and the Big Bang to life in a celebration of science and its capacity to change perceptions.
London-based performers and groups made a special impact throughout the night. “Principia”, an emotional choral composition, was sung by six London based choirs: the Hackney Community Choir, Barts Choir, the London Gay Men’s Chorus, the Hackney Singers, the London Chorus, and the Lewisham Choral Society. You can enjoy these volunteer choirs throughout the year across London, and each have performances coming up in the next few months.
The Graeae Theatre Company, based only a few miles from the Olympic Stadium in Hackney, performed an explosive cover of Ian Dury and The Blockheads’ “Spasticus Artisticus”. The company champions the inclusion of deaf and disabled performers in the arts thorough new plays and training initiatives. Graeae and their incredible sway poles can be seen this September in The Garden, part of Unlimited Festival at Southbank Centre.
Also appearing at Unlimited Festival, leading disabled dancer David Toole performed a solo dance while 16-year-old singer-songwriter Birdy performed “Bird Gerhl”. In perhaps the most stunning moment of the night, David ascended into the air supported by wires and “flew” above a stadium floor packed with the world’s Paralympians. You can see the incredible David Toole in a brand new work, The Impending Storm, on 7 and 8 September at the Southbank Centre.
Did you enjoy the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony? Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.