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London 2012: Enlightenment theme for Paralympics ceremony

Category: England

Published: 2nd May 2012 11:59:04

The opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games will be called Enlightenment, organisers have revealed.

The event will showcase the skills of disabled artists, with a cast of 3,000 adult volunteers including injured soldiers and past Paralympic athletes.

Co-artistic director Jenny Sealey said blood, sweat, tears and a lot of pain was going into the rehearsals.

"We have a duty to make sure what we present is exquisite," she said of the 29 August event. "We don't want pity."

She and co-artistic director Bradley Hemmings said the event would be a spectacular celebration of the inspirational spirit of the Paralympic Games that challenges perceptions of human possibility.

"We are on a rollercoaster of a journey and with us we have an awesome creative team, a wonderful professional cast and an extraordinary team of volunteers," she said.

The Paralympic opening ceremony will begin at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford at 20:30 BST with a fly past by Aerobility, a British charity that trains disabled people to become pilots.

Some 50 of those performing at the ceremony will also take part in an eight week circus skills training programme at Circus Space in Hackney, funded by Arts Council England.

These skills will help them perform on a 35m (115ft) high rig at the opening ceremony.

The cast will include 100 child volunteers and some 100 professional deaf and disabled artists.

Many of the children hail from the Games host boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

Organisers also announced Barking and Dagenham would host a key rehearsal site for the London 2012 ceremonies, with the crew and cast starting rehearsals at the disused Ford plant in Dagenham on 19 May.

The formerly derelict site will now be transformed into a thriving, fully operational rehearsal unit, they said

Seb Coe, chairman of Games organisers Locog, said: "This is undoubtedly a fantastic opportunity to showcase talents to the world and I'm delighted that the host boroughs have such an important involvement."

The Paralympics will run from 29 August until 9 September 2012. The Games originated in the UK as the Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948.

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