What to expect from the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony

olympic stadium
olympic stadium Image credit:

Tonight sees the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games and the event is set to be one of the most spectacular performances in history for those with physical and mental limitations.

As with the opening ceremony of the Olympics last month a few surprises are tightly being kept under wraps, although we can reveal Beverly Knight will be singing live during tonight’s show.

The two and a half event will see Professor Stephen Hawking addressing the worldwide audience and feature injured soldiers with disabilities who have learnt incredible acrobatic skills just for tonight’s breathtaking event. They will perform their death defying feats on top of a rig positioned 35 metres off the ground.

The soldiers performance won’t be won’t be the only activity happening above ground level tonight, the ceremony will commence with a fly-past from a charity called Aerobility which specially teaches pilots who have a range of disabilities.

Another spectacular to look out for is when six Paralympic athletes, including Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, fly into the stadium in golden wheelchairs.

Titled ‘Enlightenment’ tonight’s breath taking show will be watched by an estimated billion people as well as the Queen, Prince Harry and the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge. Joining the royals will be Michael Watson MBE, Mayor Boris Johnson, PJ Harvey and, taking a break overlooking his government which is currently reducing disability benefit, Prime Minister David Cameron.

The athletes themselves will enter the stadium earlier than those who took part in the Olympic Games last month, once inside the venue they will sit on the track to join the audience.

Of course, tonight’s ceremony will bear comparisons to Danny Boyles show in July, yet organsiers stress the Paralympic opening ceremony will be more ‘thoughtful’ then last month’s show and focus more on Britain’s discovery and science; including reference points to the Large Hadron Collider and the Big Bang theory. Although in parallel to the former opening ceremony the show will have resemblance to English literature as the event will be based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest seeing disabled actress Nicola Miles-Wildin play the part of the lead character, Miranda and lines from the novel will be read out by Sir Ian McKellen.

How about the cauldron? Well the same one will be used which we saw in the Olympic ceremonies although the cauldron tonight will have 166 ‘petals’ compared to the 205 used in the former games in reference to the number of countries taking part in the prestigious games over the following 11 days.

We probably won’t be seeing Beckham arriving down the Thames tonight to light the cauldron; this honour will go to 32 year-old David Clarke, captain of Britain’s five-a-side football team and Joe Townsend, a Royal Marine Commando who lost both legs in Afghanistan, they will be joined by 84-year-old Margret Maughan, a veteran of five Paralympic Games

The Paralympics 2012 opening ceremony is also expected to go down in history for being the first to sell out.


London 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony is on Channel 4 tonight (29 August) at 8pm