Our Olympics - part one

Our Olympics - part one

Imagination experience labs

Imagination's blog for industry insight, innovation, inspiration and general life contemplation.
  • Peter Goodrick-Clarke
  • Creative Director

Our Olympics - part one

First let's be clear. None of us here at Imagination have run the 800m in one minute and 40.91 seconds during the past two weeks; nor did any of us - to my knowledge - set a team time trial record on our bikes during the morning commute. But a few of us did, in our own small ways, contribute to this astonishingly-good and morale boosting Olympic Games.

I played the part of a smelter in the Industrial Revolution section of the brilliant Danny Boyle opening ceremony.
As one of the working men and women, our task was to destroy the pastoral idyl of the countryside, paving the way for the rise of the city, the National Health Service and all the modern facilities and infrastructure we take for granted.
It was an honour, but it didn't always feel that way...
Rehearsals started in the pouring rain at the Old Ford Works, where two blueprints of the stadium had been set up. We were only let loose on the Olympic Park at the end of June. And that's where the real fun began, meeting as we did, all the other performers in their finery.
The operation was super slick from beginning to end, evidenced by this video from the dress rehearsal, which is overlaid with the sound of our inspirational and amusing stage instructions. 

On the big day, we waited on the indoor running track beneath the stadium seats for our time to emerge, while 150 stagehands lurked even further down, buried under the fabulous set, operating all the machinery - unseen heroes to the end.
The buzz was amazing. Never has time passed so quickly.
When our brief moment of fame was over, we retreated to Westfield for a cold beer, waving to the athletes, who were gathered for their entrance, on our way.
In all, we had 150 hours of rehearsals for 15 minutes of fame, (10 minutes of choreography and 5 minutes of serious smelting to be precise). It was worth every minute of effort just for the absolute high of standing close to the heart of the industrial rings as they burst into flame.
Once in a lifetime. The Greatest Show on Earth...



The video is of the actual

The video is of the actual opening ceremony, not one of the rehearsals.

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