The opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics in London will feature the parade of nations, a fireworks display … and a flock of sheep.
That’s the word from Danny Boyle, the “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Trainspotting” director who is serving as artistic director for the opening ceremony on July 27. The opening tableau will be called “Green and Pleasant” and will present “a picture of ourselves as a nation,” Boyle tells the BBC.
That picture includes a set that will depict pastoral scenes such as families picnicking, people playing sports on the village green and farmers working their land, including a menagerie of 70 sheep, a dozen horses, 10 chickens and sundry cows, ducks, goats and sheepdogs. The scene will also feature a pair of mosh pits representing the Glastonbury rock festival and the more genteel Last Night of the Proms concert. Fake clouds will be suspended from wires at the top of Olympic Stadium, one of which will “rain” on the countryside below.
Also in the ceremony: the world’s largest “harmonically tuned” bell, weighing in at 23 tons. It’s there because “That’s how communities notified each other that something important was going to happen,” Boyle says. “… After the war the bells were rung in London to announce the peace, and we will begin our Games with a symbol of peace.”
The spectacle will take place before the 10,000-plus athletes file into the stadium. Their entrance will be followed by the lighting of the Olympic cauldron, a fireworks display and a performance by Paul McCartney to close the ceremony.