Opening Ceremony Costume As part ofDelivered by theYouth Sport Trust
The Opening Ceremonies of theOlympic and Paralympic GamesThe Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic andParalympic Games mark the moment where theGames begin and the eyes of the world focus onLondon and the United Kingdom. It is our chanceto welcome the world to our Games and to showthe world what we, as a nation, can do.The Opening Ceremonies will be a wonderfulmix of celebration, national pride, formalitiesand friendship. All the different parts willcombine to form the Opening Ceremony andone of the most important ways to get across theexcitement of this mix is through costume. Opening Ceremonies rely enormously on visual impact for their success and the combination of colours in the costumes of the thousands of performers, alongside the way those performers move or dance, will create a stunning impact for spectators in the stadium and watching on television. ‘Costume is really important because we have 15,000 volunteers taking part in our Ceremonies and we want them to look their best; over six months we’re going to make about 26,000 costumes for people to wear. Apart from the big sets that we build, everybody will be looking to the costumes to bring colour, lightness and excitement into the show.’ Martin Green, Head of Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
Your opening ceremony Did yo u know? – London 2012 the costume For department is producing so many costumes you could wear a new costume every day for 63 years. Coincidentally, this is the number of years difference in age between the youngest performers in the Opening Ceremony, who are seven, and the oldest, aged 70. – There are enough costumes to fill 75Once you have the format of your opening containers, which is equivalent to oneceremony you need to decide about costumes. third of a container ship that sailsYou may want to put someone in charge of around the world’s oceans.costumes who, in turn, could look after a team of One mile of costume rails is required – people to help create the costumes. to store the costumes.Tahra Zafar, Head of Costume for London 2012, has many different teams producing the thousandsof costumes needed for the Opening Ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic and ParalympicGames, but you’ll just need the one team. One of the advantages of working as a team is not onlyin the creation of the costumes but also in the ideas that can flow through creative discussions.When deciding about costumes here are 10 things to think about:1. Theme – what is the main theme of your opening ceremony and how can the costumes reflect that?2. Planning – talk to one another and work out a plan: start with a ‘creative brief’ that reflects your own environment and something about who you are and where you live.3. Variety – costumes should be appropriate to the individual and their role in the ceremony.4. Groups – a group of people combined in the right costume can have a big visual impact.5. Ideas – throw all your ideas into the ring. Something that may seem crazy and brilliant but impossible may be doable when the whole team thinks about how you might achieve it if you really want to.6. History – costume can very quickly portray a moment in history.7. Colour – colours are unlimited. But always keep in mind the overall theme.8. Material – it doesn’t always have to be cloth; you could use all sorts of materials from plastic to paper. Think about the impact of texture and sound, as well as colour.9. One picture – try and imagine the one picture you want everyone watching your ceremony to take away with them – how will the costumes bring this picture to life?10. mile – your performers’ faces will set the S costume off (they may even be a part of the costume if painted) so make sure they’re smiling.
Costume wisdom from Tahra ZafarThink about placard bearers – in the Opening Ceremony they get the most time on TV so whatthey wear is very important. Try to think who might have that role in your ceremony: what type ofperson and what should they wear? ‘See if you can produce a spectacular costume for your placardbearer(s) with a placard to match. Use the internet to research what Host Nations for the Olympicand Paralympic Games have done in the past. Let your ideas run free and remember that complexideas can often be created from simple resources paired up with a few volunteers.’ 3-11 years 11-19 years Acti vity idea Acti vity idea – Just by using children in different There could be all sorts of different elements coloured T-shirts create a set of costumes in your Opening Ceremony, for example: so that, when grouped together, they create an image. What else could you 1. Athletes’ Parade add to the T-shirts to give the image a 2. Nations’ flags greater impact? 3. Speeches – Ask everyone in the class to think of five 4. Dance individual words or phrases that sum up 5. Music the Olympic and Paralympic Games to them, the school and the local community. – What is the purpose of each of these Ask them to pick one of those words or different elements and how might you use phrases and design a costume based on it. costume to reinforce their purpose? – Look at the years in which the Olympic Think about combining two or more of – Games have been hosted in the UK – how these elements in a specific has what athletes and people in general costume design. wear changed over the years? – Think about how you might design – One colourful and important element of costumes for a group of people so they the Opening Ceremonies is the Athletes’ combine to create a maximum impact. Parade where you see all the athletes – Ask everyone in the class to think of 10 walking behind a placard bearer and individual words or phrases that sum up a flag carrier. Try and design a set of the Olympics and Paralympics to them, the costumes based on the theme of ‘flags’ school and the local community. Then ask that could be used in your opening them to pick one of those words or phrases ceremony. They could be used in an and design a costume based on it. athletes’ parade or elsewhere in the – Look at the 1908 London Olympics – what ceremony. Have a look at the Fun with was the Opening Ceremony like and did Flags resource from the World Sport Day they use costume at all? How do you think website to help you. it will be different in 2012 and why? Tahra’s challenge for Tahra’s challenge for primary schools secondary schools Try and incorporate recycled materials Try to create something that involves into your costumes. Produce your design different departments or subjects working first then agree which recycled products together, for example art, design and you could use in the design. It may not be technology, English and history. the whole costume, just parts of it.