2012 Olympics Ceremonies Performer
July-August 2012: Olympics 2012 Opening + Closing Ceremonies Teams, London.
Performance Team 384, Orange Mechanicals.
I had an extraordinary Summer taking part as a ‘Mechanical’ in the now legendary Danny Boyle directed ‘Isles of Wonder’ Opening and Closing ceremonies to the London 2012 games at the Stratford Olympic Park.
Auditions started 9 months earlier and after 2 rounds I joined a team of about 100 for my particular role. I don’t think I will ever see anything as incredible again in terms of performances as it literally was a defining point for Britain. The atmosphere in the stadium was breathtaking and it was so surreal being on a stage knowing the entire world was watching those evenings (280,000 in the stadium over the 2 dress rehearsals and 2 shows, and 900 million on TV). I will never forget waiting in the ‘vom’ behind the curtain to walk out on the stage for the Athletes Parade and seeing Team Britain and India walk past from the stage perspective- the sense of pride was amazing. I think this pretty much defines ‘once in a lifetime’ and it was extra special as it was in my home town- East London. I think very few things will come close to being behind the scenes and seeing the development and co-ordination of the show weeks before the rest of the world got to see it.
Just trying to remember the famous faces I saw or met in there during rehearsals and shows: The Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William + Kate, Michelle Obama, PM David Cameron, Mayor Boris Johnson, Lord Seb Coe, Rowan Atkinson, Sir Paul McCartney, JK Rowling, Muhammed Ali, Usain Bolt, Kobe Bryant, Michael Phelps, Ban Ki-Moon, One Direction, Spice Girls, Take That, David Beckham, Sir Steve Redgrave, Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal, George Michael, Emili Sande, Jessie J, Tinie Tempah and of course the legendary Danny Boyle.
I especially enjoyed how the production team worked hard to find what was best about Britain- the best designers- Damien Hirst made the flags, the best performers did the background score- London Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Lloyd Webber, the Shakespearean inspired script, the endearing tribute to the NHS and Great Ormond Street Children through the mind-blowing Peter Pan and the Mary Poppins sequences.
I loved the fact that the organisers took it to the next level in making things happen that would not have for any ordinary event- the Queen acting briefly with Daniel Craig for the James Bond helicopter sequence (which was kept secret even from us performers during rehearsals), AR Rahman producing ‘nimma nimma’ for the brief indian dance interlude (nodding to our community!), the Spice Girls reuniting for the first time and the Red Arrows planes. The sense of unity and togetherness within the British community was inspiring.
I remember in the final farewell email afterwards the choreographers for my team said that whilst everyone disappears back to their corners of the world, we can always cherish together ‘that amazing Summer in London when we made history.’ Not to forget a thank you letter from the Prime Minister as well!
Proud to be British.
On stage after the flame was lit. Waiting in the vom with the flags before Athletes Parade.