One Year On from the Paralympic Opening Ceremony

Bradley Hemmings, GDIF Artistic DirectorBy Bradley Hemmings, Artistic Director at GDIF

It’s exactly one year on since the Paralympic Opening Ceremony which I had the great privilege of co-directing with Jenny Sealey. What an incredible, joyous, tear stained night it was. From the pre-show moment when the whole of the stadium looked up to see Dave Rawlings fly overheard courtesy of Aerobility, through Stephen Hawking’s profound series of statements bringing the world of science into an Opening Ceremony as never before, to the impassioned finale chorus of “I am What I am”, it was a night full of emotion.

Paralympic Opening Ceremony

The incredible creativity of headline artists, professional and volunteer performers, design, choreography costume, music, films and technical bravura made it the “game-changer” for Paralympic Opening Ceremonies – it was very aptly called “Enlightenment”.

Island Fair The Limbless Knight 648x644© Steve Eggleton

So one year on from that incredible night we’re preparing for a different kind of celebration, a stones-throw away from the Olympic Stadium in the new and quite extraordinary Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. GDIF will be producing National Paralympic Day featuring the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival on the afternoon of  7 September. It will be a completely free event – a day packed with all the excitement and spectacle of Paralympic sport and “try out” sports activities as well as thrilling street theatre, dance, installation, film, children’s activities and music from Deaf and disabled artists, some of whom you may remember from last year’s Ceremony. It will be great to be working with Jenny Sealey from Graeae once again, who is directing a wonderful new show called “The Limbless Knight” featuring some of the superb circus trained performers who were part of last year’s Opening Ceremony.

Heart n Soul Fish PoliceHeart n Soul who were a big part of the show last year will be back, alongside opera singer Denise Leigh, singer John Kelly (who led Spasticus Autisticus last year) and we’re even planning a finale POD Dancersrendition of “I am what I am” with the POD dancers from last year’s Olympic and Paralympic Ceremonies where you can join in the mass choreography!

NPD poster pic


So come along and enjoy a fantastic, free day out at National Paralympic Day on Saturday 7 September at the recently opened Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park featuring lots of great arts, performances and sports activities to get involved.

See you there!


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