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30 August 2012

Paralympics 'transforms perceptions'

THE duo behind the Paralympic Games opening ceremony said they 'couldn't be prouder' to have directed the show. 

Jenny Sealey MBE, Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre in Hoxton, and Bradley Hemmings, from the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, devised a show featuring flying performers, the Big Bang theory, acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking, actor Sir Ian McKellan and, aptly in view of the downpour just hours before, an umbrella dance to ring in the 14th Paralympics.

The ceremony on 29 August was inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest and celebrated a homecoming for the Games, while putting disabled artists at the heart of the performance.
 
The show in the Olympic Stadium dealt with themes of exploration, discovery and enlightenment, with Stephen Hawking urging Miranda (played by wheelchair user Nicola Miles-Wilden) and the 80,000-strong audience to 'look at the stars and not down at your feet' to highlight humanity's limitless possibilities.
 
Additionally the Graeae house band Reasons To Be Cheerful performed Ian Dury & The Blockheads' disability battle-cry Spasticus Autistius, ­which was famously banned in the 1980s by the BBC.
 
Jenny said: "Working with such a dedicated cast of disabled and non-disabled professional and volunteer performers on the Paralympic opening ceremony has been the most wonderful experience.
 
"Together with the team behind the ceremony, we worked together to create an event which would transform perceptions and get people to embrace disability in a way they never have before. Through marrying sport and theatre, Bradley and I have created something which will leave a legacy of excellence for future deaf and disabled athletes and artists."
 
Based on Kingsland Road, Graeae aims to dispel myths about people with disability through theatre. For more info, visit: www.graeae.org

Reasons to be Cheerful band played at the Paralympics opening ceremony

Reasons to be Cheerful band played at the Paralympics opening ceremony

Reasons to be Cheerful band played at the Paralympics opening ceremony

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