The theme of the London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony was ‘Enlightenment’, Co-Artistic Directors Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings sent the audience on a journey of discovery through the realm of ideas, science and creativity. Professor Stephen Hawking introduced the theme, urging people to create a brave new and better world, by challenging perceptions and stereotypes that limit the potential of the human body, mind and spirit.
The ceremony included more than 3,000 adult volunteers, a children volunteer cast of over 100, and 100-plus professionals. In the groundbreaking spectacle, deaf and disabled artists performed on a world stage and included a fly past by Aerobility, a British charity that trains disabled people to become pilots.
There are certain elements that must feature in every Ceremony, as outlined in the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) charters.
Parade of Athletes
After the Host Nation's flag has been raised and the national anthem played, the spectacular Parade of Athletes begins. Teams enter in alphabetical order, according to the language of the Host Country, apart from the team of the Host Nation (in this case ParalympicsGB), who march in last.
Once all the nations have arrived into the Stadium, LOCOG Chair Seb Coe and President of the IPC Sir Philip Craven address the audience. The Games are then declared open.
Paralympic Anthem and Flag
Once the Games have been declared open, the Paralympic Flag is carried into the Stadium and hoisted into the air as the Anthem is played. The Paralympic Flag features three 'agitos' (Latin for 'I move') in red, blue and green – the colours most represented in national flags around the world.
A participating athlete and judge from the Host Nation stand on the rostrum and, holding a corner of the IPC flag in their left hand and raising their right, take the Oath, vowing to compete and judge according to the rules of their respective sport.
The Torch and Cauldron
The big finale is the entrance of the Paralympic Flame into the Stadium. It is passed to the final Torchbearer, who ceremoniously lights the Cauldron, indicating the beginning of the Games. The Flame will continue to burn for the whole of the Games.
A host of world-class British directors and producers led the artistic team to stage the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Co-Artistic Directors Bradley Hemmings and Jenny Sealey share a long history of staging exciting live events, including work with deaf and disabled artists.