London 2012: Olympics opening ceremony details revealed - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

London 2012: Olympics opening ceremony details revealed

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The Olympic Stadium will be transformed "into the British countryside" for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Games on July 27.

A cast of 10,000 volunteers will help recreate country scenes, against a backdrop featuring farmyard animals and landmarks like Glastonbury Tor.

The opening scene of the £27m ceremony will be called "Green and Pleasant", artistic director Danny Boyle revealed.

He added the show would create "a picture of ourselves as a nation."

"The best way to tell that story is through working with real people," said Boyle, who has reserved a role for NHS nurses in proceedings.

There have already been 157 cast rehearsals and Boyle added: "I've been astounded by the selfless dedication of the volunteers, they are the pure embodiment of the Olympic spirit and represent the best of who we are as a nation."

The set will feature meadows, fields and rivers, with families taking picnics, people playing sports on the village green and farmers tilling the soil.

Real farmyard animals will be grazing in the "countryside", with a menagerie of 30 sheep, 12 horses, three cows, two goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine geese and three sheepdogs.

One billion people worldwide are expected to watch the opening ceremony.

Boyle, best known for directing Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting, said the show was inspired by The Tempest and would be about a land recovering from its industrial legacy.

Europe's largest bell will ring inside the stadium to start the Shakespeare-inspired spectacle, featuring 900 children from the six Games host boroughs.

The stadium's 27-tonne bell was cast at London's Whitechapel Foundry, where 13.5-tonne Big Ben was cast in 1856, and is inscribed with a quote from The Tempest's Caliban: "Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises."

It will hang at one end of the stadium, and Boyle said he wanted people to hear it "for hundreds of years".

A full dress rehearsal will be held for a capacity crowd of 80,000 in the Olympic Stadium, which will be fitted with a million-watt sound system.

The production team at 3 Mills Studios is completing work on nearly 3,000 props, while staff in the production department are creating 23,000 costumes.

Lord Sebastian Coe, who chairs the Organising Committee Locog, said it would be one of the biggest sets ever built for a show.

"I'm sure [it] will be a fantastic celebration that will welcome the 10,500 athletes from around the world and make our nation proud," he said.

-from The BBC