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Special Olympics Leicester 2009
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Opening Ceremony


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Special Olympics Opening Ceremony
Walkers Stadium

Saturday 25th July

6.30pm (Gates open 5.30pm)

Adults: (Over 16’s) £5
Children:  (Under 16’s) £1
(only available with a purchase of one adult ticket)
Concessions: £3


Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased from the Leicester City
Football Club ticket office through to Saturday, July 25th 2009.

Contact Leicester City Football Club to purchase your Opening Ceremony tickets by:

Telephone: 0844 815 5000
Email: ticket.sales@lcfc.co.uk
Or in person!


The Opening Ceremony will be a fantastic launch to the Games week and as well as the official ceremonial activities there will be a range of amazing performances commissioned especially for this one off event, involving hundreds of people from Leicestershire bringing the stadium to life.  
The main host for the evening will be Alan Birchenall joined by 2 SOGB athletes

The Ceremony
  • Athletes Parade – The real highlight of the night is the opportunity to welcome the 19 regions from across Great Britain into the stadium, parading in their teams along with Ambassadors of the Special Olympics and accompanied by a variety of live music including the Philharmonia Brass section, Dhol Enforcement Agency, Seaforth Highlanders and Sambando.
  • Raising the Flag – SOGB athletes representing various regions will bring in the flag.
  • Entry of the Torch – In the days leading up to the opening ceremony the torch has been carried by a group of police officers to the stadium as part of The Law Enforcement Torch Run. The Torch will light the Games Cauldron which has been specially commissioned and sponsored by National Grid.

Premier Star Cheerleaders
The Leicester based cheerleading squad will be performing various routines building up the atmosphere in the stadium. Over 11 years they have performed at many charity events, competitions and for the Leicester Riders Basketball team.

Nupur Arts
Bringing a Bollywood Extravaganza, with a mix of traditional Indian dance and modern Bollywood to contemporary and popular music, showcasing the huge talent within the Midlands, through a range of dance cultures.  Produced and choreographed by Nupur Arts Dance Academy, which specialises in promoting and providing professional training in South Asian and British Dance, including Bollywood, Bharat Natyam, Contemporary and Street Dance.

The Philharmonia Orchestra
One of the world's greatest orchestras and proud to be resident at De Montfort Hall, is working with composer and project leader Tim Steiner to create a special fanfare for the Special Olympics Opening Ceremony.  The fanfare will be performed by members of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and members of local brass bands Youth Brass 2000 & Enderby Youth Brass Bands. They will also be joined by students from Ashfield, Netherhall, Dorothy Goodman, Westgate and Ellesmere Schools - who have participated in a series of workshops to assist Tim in the writing of the piece. This project has been funded by Find your Talent.

Anjali Dance Company
Inspired by the Olympic sport of synchronised swimming and featuring special Olympic athlete Hannah Dempsey, Anjali Dance Company combine their Youth Company and Main Company for a dance extravaganza as part of the Opening ceremony.  Anjali Dance Company is a pioneering professional company that
exists to realise and celebrate through dance the potential of people with learning disabilities.  Anjali Dance Company is a registered charity and needs to raise money to run its activities: please visit their website, www.anjali.co.uk, if you would like to donate.

Inertia BMX Display
Some of the best riders in the world performing an amazing BMX freestyle display including European Champion Keelan Philips and Lee Musselwhite.

Gymnastics Display
Joining the BMX display will be a medley of gymnastic displays from:
Falcon Spartak Disabilities Rhythmic Display Team
Made up of members of the British Gymnastics, Gymnastics and Movement for People with Disabilities (GMPD) Rhythmic National Squad. The gymnasts have a variety of learning, physical and sensory disabilities.

The Kangaroos Gymnastic Display Team
Will be performing 'The Big Move' the longest and highest continuous vaulting move performed anywhere in the world. The team are now recognised as being one of the leading gymnastic vaulting teams in Europe with many appearances at major events and on television.
The British Gymnastics National Disabilities Display Team
Performing their gymnastic routine the team represent Great Britain at National, International and World events and was the first group ever to enter a team of gymnasts with disabilities in the Gymnaestrada.

Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze - Lyric Lounge
Internationally acclaimed poet and performer, Jean 'Binta' Breeze will be performing 2 specially commissioned pieces for the first time ever. Jean is patron of the Lyric Lounge, seven days and nights of poetry and live literature which runs during the games week at The Y Theatre - in celebration of the Special Olympic Games.

Celebrate Humanity
As the SOGB flag is raised a choir of over 150 from Leicester specially brought together for this event will perform the song ‘Celebrate Humanity’ (written & composed by Denni Harris), celebrating the spirit of all humanity, bonded by human principles and shared values, Freedom, Truth and Justice, Equality, Peace for all humanity Irrespective of Race, Culture, Creed or Religious beliefs.

Mahogany Carnival Arts – One-derland
Mahogany, is delighted to present One-derland for the Opening Ceremony.

In five short movements this stunning, new spectacular piece of visual theatre is derived from Britain’s traditional and contemporary cultural heritage.

Mahogany’s Carnivalesque inspired productions, performances and presentations have graced the street, theatre and public spaces in many cities across the world. The company’s work embraces cultural diversity and special needs as core ingredients within its continued developments.

Mahogany’s creative team brings together many of Leicester’s young people, of many different capabilities and sees the Special Olympics as an exciting challenge that will demonstrate how Leicester is the City to showcase this very special occasion.   

TOGETHER WE ASPIRE, TOGETHER WE ACHIEVE

Mahogany has formed an exciting collaboration with Leicester’s creative community where:

Talented MOVERS from SPEAKEASY THEATRE COMPANY are lead characters, Movers is the Learning Disabled Theatre Company for Leicester. A partnership project between Speakeasy Theatre Company, and The Richard Attenborough Centre, the group was set up to provide performance opportunities for people with a Learning Disability who have some experience of drama and performance.

- BAMBOOZLE THEATRE COMPANY has worked with young people with special needs from West Gate School, Maple well Hall School, Dorothy Goodman School, Forest Way School, Birkett House School, and Ellesmere College. Bamboozle Theatre based in Leicester work with students with Learning disabilities to access ideas and enagage with theatre experiences and opportunities, using a team approach to explore a magical, multi sensory mix of theatre, music, design, puppetry.

Louise Katerega’s FOOT IN HAND DANCE GROUP has played a major part in the choreography of the piece. Foot In Hand are a professional company of disabled andnon-disabled dancers from across the UK led by Leicester-based dancer, LOUISE KATEREGA,  Louise was invited onto Mahogany Carnival Arts creative team to help them link and work with local dance groups for the Opening Ceremony, actively leading on the inclusion of learning disabled young people courtesy of S.O.L.A.R - The Special Olympics Legacy and Recreational Dance Project supported by Dance Development Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.FOOT IN HAND are appearing with the other dance groups in ONE-DERLAND, in their own show "One Night Only" at The Peepul Centre on Wednesday 29th July as well as leading fun family dance workshops all week at The Peepul Centre, The Olympic Village and New Walk Museum.

- MAHOGANY has worked with Caldecote School, Nether Hall School, Oakland School, Rushey Mead School, Moat College, City of Leicester College, and Leicester Caribbean Carnival in producing costumes and characters that, following this occasion, will also feature at the Leicester Caribbean Carnival on August 1st.

Special thanks to Clary Salandy Artistic Director, Geraldine Connor,
Associate director, David Hamilton Choreographer, Donald Edwards Associate choreographer, Michael Ramdeen Technical director,  Graeme Nixon Production manager , Michael Lovelock and Roy Johnson Music and all the teams of artists and volunteers contributing to the success of this visual spectacle.

New Beautiful South
The Beautiful South are now New Beautiful South having taken a two-year sabbatical.Formed 20 years ago, the band have sold over 15 million albums worldwide and packed out stadiums and arenas throughout that period. They've had a string of hit singles such as Old Red Eyes Is Back, Rotterdam, Don't Marry Her, Perfect 10 and Number One single A Little Time. Their greatest hits album, Carry On Up The Charts, was one of the fastest-selling albums in UK history, entering at Number One and staying there for weeks, becoming one of the country's most popular albums ever.

The Special Olympics performance will feature original lead singers Dave Hemingway (vocals), Alison Wheeler (Vocals) performing acoustically as a duo.

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