They were engrossed in the premiere of 'The Iron Man', drawn from the original story
by Ted Hughes, at this year’s Greenwich + Docklands Festival.
The book has been vividly brought to life by Festival Director Bradley Hemmings and Jenny Sealey, Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre.
Just minutes before the production started, we announced
Bradley and Jenny as the joint Artistic Directors for the Opening Ceremony of
the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Through her BSL interpreter, Jenny told the assembled media about the 'fire in her belly' for presenting work that is joyously inclusive for performers and audiences alike. Her company, Graeae Theatre, is generally recognised as the UK’s leading disabled-led theatre company, and for over a decade she has led an organisation which has expanded in ambition, ability and profile and now takes its place amongst the most innovative drama companies in London.
Bradley then explained the inspiration they have taken from the spiritual home of the Paralympic Movement at Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire, sharing his delight at how the Paralympic Games are 'coming home'. He spoke thoughtfully about the impact the Games will have, as well as the importance of storytelling.
As a pioneer of outdoor theatre, Bradley has been telling great stories in amazing locations for more than 15 years. With the support of Arts Council England and Greenwich Council, he has built the Greenwich + Docklands Festival into the place to catch the best and newest in street theatre.
Articulate and expansive as Jenny and Bradley are, I eventually feel compelled to break into the conversation. 'Everything you’ve heard is correct about what makes Jenny and Bradley tick, but they’ve missed an important reason we’ve chosen them to build our Opening Ceremony; they both make great, entertaining shows that people love – simple as that'.
Jenny and Bradley will rightly take their place amongst the high-calibre creative team that Martin Green has brought together to lead our Ceremonies – Danny Boyle, Kim Gavin, Stephen Daldry, Mark Fisher, Catherine Ugwu and Hamish Hamilton.
An hour later, the giant Iron Man had done his stuff. I can’t wait for Bradley and Jenny’s Opening Ceremony to next year’s Paralympic Games – and I think 300 London school children agree with me.