An "innovative, individual and inclusive" Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games will be a party celebrating Glaswegian values but in a way that will have resonance for the rest of the world, head of ceremonies and creative director David Zolkwer promised here today.
Speaking in a briefing designed to provide a glimpse of what is to come when the Games open here on Wednesday (July 23), Zolkwer revealed the starting point was the people of Glasgow, with all elements set to reflect the "voice, character and personality" of the city.
In particular, he described how the Ceremony will be "like a party where the rest of the world is invited", with all 71 competing nations and territories set to be introduced by a different Glaswegian spokesperson.
But, he claimed, the aim is not simply to "tell people how great we are, like boring ceremonies tend to do, but it is about celebrating what we have in common across the Commonwealth".
"Yes, the compass is set to Scotland to embrace the local community, but we have also had the gumption to look beyond our borders to the rest of the world," the 50-year-old, project director for the Manchester 2002 Opening Ceremony, said.
"It will try to alert people to the needs of the Commonwealth community."
Zolkwer also revealed the Ceremony is being held at Celtic Park rather than the Glasgow 2014 athletics venue at nearby Hampden Park because it was deemed easier for athletes, who often complain about having to stand in cramped conditions at Opening Ceremonies so soon before competing.
Although the suggestion is that the Ceremony's message will be delivered in a subtler manner than that displayed through the lavish gestures seen earlier this year at both the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi, a star-studded list of performers has already been announced,
These include singing legend Rod Stewart, a regular to Celtic Park to watch his beloved Glasgow Celtic Football Club, as well as Scottish singers Susan Boyle and Amy MacDonald, who also hail from Glasgow.
There had also, of course, been plans to blow up the Red Road tower blocks as a dramatic finale to the Ceremony, only for these plans to be dropped after widespread opposition.
When asked if he was disappointed this would no longer happen, Zolkwer described the idea as something "we cared about, but always knew was a fragile proposition that could be pulled for a number of reasons".
"It wasn't just a stunt but a rich tapestry about Glasgow, but we hope the Ceremony is bigger than any single idea in it," he added.
The director also explained that plans for 500 dancers to perform to the Calvin Harris song Feel So Close had not been scuppered, as has been reported, because the Scottish artist had not given permission for the song to be used.
Because they had not heard back, an alternative song had been rehearsed, Zolkwer said, but permission has now been granted and the original choice of song will be used.
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