London 2012 Handover Cast Visit Wembley Stadium

Monday, 28, July, 2008

Cast members of the London 2012 team who will perform in the closing ceremony at the Beijing Olympic Games today visited Wembley Stadium to get a flavour of what it is like to perform in a large iconic stadium.

As the Olympic flag is handed over in Beijing, London 2012 will stage an eight-minute performance in the Beijing Olympic stadium. The segment, which will be watched by around 1.5 billion people worldwide, is London’s opportunity to ‘invite the world’ to London in 2012. The show is being created and staged by LOCOG’s Ceremonies team under the creative direction of Stephen Powell.

London 2012 also announced today that The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), based in the Barbican, have recorded a soundtrack of the national anthem, under the direction of Handover Ceremonies’ Musical Director Philip Sheppard, which will start London’s Handover segment.

The anthem was sung by 25 members of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, and they will travel to Beijing to perform in the Ceremony.

“This is very exciting news” said Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee. “We want the London Games to be all about young people and inspire the youth of the world, so what better way to start our handover section than by having young people singing our national anthem.”

Kathryn McDowell, LSO Managing Director, said: “The LSO has supported the London Games from the outset, and is delighted to have recorded the music for the handover ceremony. The LSO has extensive plans for young talent development in east London over the next four years and looks forward to working with London 2012 to realise these ambitions.”

Paul Roseby, The National Youth Theatre’s Artistic Director, said: “For the National Youth Theatre to be part of the historic handover ceremony in Beijing sends a positive message to all young people across the globe. We will not only be representing the best of Britain’s youth, but our group of culturally diverse, talented young people will take this life changing experience to inspire thousands more to celebrate youth, innovation and friendship at the London Games in 2012. We applaud it!”

“This visit to Wembley Stadium was a vital part of our rehearsal process“ said Handover Ceremony Director Stephen Powell. ”The object was to give the cast a sense of scale and occasion and of what it might be like walking onto the field of play in a beautiful and iconic stadium. It also reminds us that we are part of major sporting as well as a major cultural event. It has certainly done that and I can’t think of a more fitting start our Olympic Handover rehearsals.”