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London Olympic Ceremonies

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London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

Beijing 2008 Opening Ceremony

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London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony
London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony
London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony
London 2012 Paralympic Closing Ceremony
 

 

Before the Summer Games get underway, spectators in the Olympic Stadium and the world over will be treated to a lavish opening ceremony that should dictate the tone for both the Olympics and Paralympic programmes in London. The closing ceremonies will celebrate the sporting achievements of both Games before handing on the baton to the next host nation.

 
 

London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony

27 July 2012: Danny Boyle directs under the world's gaze

Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST

Tube: Hackney Wick Overground Station

 

Dates: 27th July 2012

 

An estimated worldwide audience of one billion should tune in to watch the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony from the new state-of-the-art Olympic Stadium in the Olympic Park on 27 July 2012 – that's 15 percent of the world's population. To kick off the XXXth Olympiad, the London Organising City of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) have called on the artistic expression of Danny Boyle, the Oscar-winning director of Slumdog Millionaire, who will have Stephen Daldry of Billy Elliot fame as his trusty sidekick. Given the vast scale of Beijing's opening ceremony in 2008, you pity Boyle the sheer size of his task – although the Scot has promised "a thrilling, enthralling, captivating evening". The latest rumour is that a 27-tonne bell inscribed with a line from Shakespeare's The Tempest – "Be not afeard: the isle is full of noises" – will form the centrepiece of the £81m ceremony. In 2008, China reminded the world of its growing clout – not to mention controversially computer-simulated fireworks and that lip-synching young singer – with a four-hour spellbinding spectacle that was dubbed "the greatest ever" by many press outlets, although was delivered at vast cost: a cool £100m. In a world still reeling from the global financial crisis, there's little chance of London even coming close to Beijing in terms of sheer size and exuberance – but that's not to say it won't be a memorable event all the same.

Opening ceremonies are a chance for host city and nation to wow the world with their own culture and values – and London, with its red double-decker buses, bowler hats, umbrellas, royal heritage, Union Jacks, black cabs, bobbies on the beat and bearskins, has a whole raft of inspirations to draw from. There's even been talk of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performing together in a demi-reformation of The Beatles. As well as the camp theatrics, the Opening Ceremony must also include the staples, such as: the receiving the Head of State of the host nation, the parade of nations, the speeches (from LOCOG chairman, Lord Coe and President of the IOC, Jacques Rogge), the playing of the Olympic anthem, the entry and raising of the Olympic flag, the oaths, the arrival of the Olympic Torch and, or course, the lighting of the Olympic Flame. All in all, don't expect anything as long or as overtly expensive (or political) as Beijing 2008 - but do still expect a jolly good show.

 
 
 

London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony

12 August 2012: Sun sets on London as Rio is welcomed on board

Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST

Tube: Hackney Wick Overground Station

 

Dates: 12th August 2012

 

The grand finale of the London 2012 Games takes place at the Olympic Stadium on 12 August 2012 and includes a handover to the next host city, Rio. For the elaborate closing ceremony at Beijing 2008, media estimates put the global television audience at anything from one to four billion people – so it's safe to say all eyes will be on London as the 30th Olympiad comes to an end. Leading choreographer and creative director Kim Gavin, the inspirational force behind many Take That shows and performances, has been appointed Artistic Director for the Closing Ceremony, which traditionally features a march of the athletes, the hoisting of the flags, speeches and the poignant extinguishing of the Olympic Flame – as well as one final cultural spectacle, plus a look ahead at the 2016 Games and the next host city, Rio. If the handover at Beijing 2008 is anything to go by – it included a red London bus and an appearance by David Beckham – then the global audience will be treated with a mini Rio Carnival and a cameo by Pele.

 
 
 

London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony

29 August 2012: Second phase of the 30th Olympiad commences

Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST

Tube: Hackney Wick Overground Station

 

Dates: 29th August 2012

 

Just over a month after the start of the London 2012 Olympics, the London 2012 Paralympics get underway with the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium. Leading British creative talents Bradley Hemmings and Jenny Sealey MBE are the Artistic Directors of the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony, which will showcase some of the UK's best creative performers as well as run through a raft of traditions, such as the raising of the Paralympic and Host Nation's flag, the Athletes' Parade, the speeches, the arrival of the Paralympic Torch and the lighting of the Paralympic Flame.

 
 
 

London 2012 Paralympic Closing Ceremony

9 September 2012: As the Flame is put out, the Brazilian flag is raised

Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST

Tube: Hackney Wick Overground Station

 

Dates: 09th September 2012

 

Held at the wonderful Olympic Stadium, the Paralympic Closing Ceremony on 9 September 2012 will signal the conclusion of the London 2012 Games and the 30th Olympiad. Kim Gavin, one of the UK's leading creative directors and the inspirational force behind many Take That shows and performances, is the Artistic Director for the Paralympic Closing Ceremony, which will include a flamboyant stage show celebrating not only the host city and nation, but also the ideals of the Games. The ceremony will start with the arrival of flagbearers from each participating country followed by athletes en masse, arriving into the stadium without any national distinction. Once the Paralympic Flag is taken down, the national flag of the next host nation, Brazil, will be symbolically raised before the extinguishing of the Paralympic Flame marks the end of not only the Paralympics but also London 2012 as a whole.

 
 
Sophie Wallace

EDITOR

Sophie Wallace

5th May 2015

 

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