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In photos: Paralympic Games opens in London

2012-08-30 13:05

By (Agencies)



Highlights of the opening ceremony of London 2012 Paralympic Games:

Scene 1 Miranda introduces the central character, Miranda who encourages people to look at the world with a sense of wonder and curiosity. Nicola Miles-Wildin, who plays "Miranda" is a professional actress and Assistant Director of Graeae Theatre Company's power- wheelchair dancing troupe Rhinestone Rollers.

Professor Stephen Hawking - perhaps the world's most brilliant physicist - appears on the 'moon stage' and speaks of the quest for understanding the origins of the universe. Hawking, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease at the age of 21, has carried out groundbreaking work in the fields of quantum gravity and general relativity throughout hisdistinguished career.

The cast includes 42 deaf and disabled people who took part in an eight-week training program at Circus Space in London.

Scene 2 Majesty: As the choral performance ends, the ensemble cast position themselves around the central umbrella and switch on their umbrella lights once more for the entrance of The Queen. This is the first time a British monarch has officiated at the openings of both the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games.

Scene 3 Spirit in Motion is the motto of the Paralympic Movement and as athletes from across the world enter the Stadium, they receive a suitably energizing welcome with a global music mash-up created by three London DJs. Teams from 165 countries and regions, the largest ever number in the history of the Paralympic Games, enter the Stadium in alphabetical order - except for the host country, Great Britain, who, following tradition, enters last.

Scene 4 Homecoming: The United Kingdom is the spiritual birthplace of the Paralympic Games and the official opening of the London 2012 Paralympic Games therefore represents a homecoming. The chairman of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Sebastian Coe, and the President of the International Paralympic Committee, Philip Craven, both make speeches.

Scene 5 Brave New World: Miranda returns in a scene which starts in a Stadium-sized library as she investigates the twin themes of the Ceremony: reason and rights. They are brought together through images of learning and empowerment, alongside Paralympian aerial performances.

Scene 6 Navigation: Miranda boards an upturned umbrella boat and embarks on her voyage of discovery. As she departs, a page opens on the book stage propelling the little boat out to sea. Stephen Hawking reminds Miranda that there are no boundaries to human endeavor and, as she sets sail, she encounters a whale, a flock of seagull books and an orrery (mechanical model of the solar system) to help her find her way.

Scene 7 Gravity: Miranda, wearing a shirt printed with words from The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, lands in the middle of a maze of books in a formal 17th-century garden and learns about British scientist and mathematician Isaac Newton's discoveries concerning gravity and his three laws of motion. Performers enter dressed in stylized grassy costumes to create the garden and maze.

Scene 8 Collision: Ian McKellen, who has acted on stage and screen for 50 years, looks up at the Celestial Sphere and speaks Prospero's words from The Tempest, "I find my zenith doth depend on a most auspicious star." Up to this point, the Ceremony has focused on historic journeys of discovery. Now, Ian Mckellen and Miranda walk together towards an exciting future and current scientific endeavors, such as the Large Hadron Collider.

Scene 9 Empowerment: Miranda's journey of Enlightenment is nearing completion. she uses the lessons she's learned en route to become a human rights protestor. Ian Dury's "Spasticus Autisticus" is performed by Graeae Theatre Company, accompanied by energized protest-style mass choreography. It's followed by more music from Orbital.

Scene 10 Enlightenment: A short, emotionally charged film shows the journey of the Paralympic Torch to the Stadium. Stephen Hawking sets the Paralympic Games in a wider context of human endeavor and achievement. And pyrotechnics in the colors of the Paralympic logo are set off around the Stadium roof.

At the end of the film, Joe Townsend, an aspiring Paralympic triathlete, is revealed with the Torch at the top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, just outside the Stadium, and descends on a zip wire onto the field of play.

Scene 11 I Am What I Am: The dandelion seeds shown on the audience pixel screen moving around the Stadium from the Cauldron create a transition into the final segment - a special performance of the inspirational song "I Am What I Am". It's performed by Beverley Knight, Lizzie Emeh from Heart n Soul, song signing diva Caroline Parker, and six backing vocalists. Before the show, the audience was taught to sing, "I am somebody, I am what I am".