Preparations are well underway for a spectacular Opening Ceremony which will kick-start Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011) on the night of September 9.
The 20-minute ceremony will be unveiled to a 60,000-strong crowd at Eden Park and a predicted television audience of millions worldwide just before the opening match between hosts New Zealand and Pacific rivals Tonga.
“We are absolutely bang on track,” said Head of Choreography Shonah McCullagh. “I am incredibly excited about what we are going to do. We are going to have a great show.”
The ceremony will feature a mix of traditional and contemporary New Zealand culture as well as a strong international flavour to represent the Tournament’s position as the third largest sporting event in the world.
IThe ceremony concept is being kept tightly under wraps until September 9, but for a sneak peek behind the scenes, click here:
New Zealand musician and composer Victoria Kelly is the Music Director for the ceremony and has written the score which will be revealed for the first time on September 9. “The scale of this production is beyond anything I could have imagined when I started working on it,” she said.
Costume designer Jane Holland has been busy preparing thousands of costumes with a small team including a number of design students. In explaining the requirements for her designs, she said “I was thinking about how things would appear from a distance for the live audience, but also because it’s televised, how they will appear close up as well.”
Robin Rawstorne is heading up the design team responsible for developing and building the set and props required for the event. “It’s a really intense, consolidated experience that will hopefully showcase to the world some of those amazing things that make up New Zealand” he said.
The ceremony will feature over 1,000 volunteer performers as well as hundreds of backstage crew.
“One month to go now and preparations are going extremely well. We’ve got a fantastic cast of highly enthusiastic volunteers.” said Shona McCullagh. “They’ve actually been a joy to work with.”
Fans going to the opening match are advised to leave early and allow plenty of time to get to the stadium ready for the 7.30pm start of the ceremony. Limited tickets are still available for the Opening Ceremony and opening match. To get your tickets, please click here.
For those not going to the match, Auckland city is putting on its own opening night celebrations on the waterfront at including performances from the Finn Brothers and Dave Dobbyn at the Queens Wharf Fanzone, a spectacular fireworks display and the match live on big screens. For more information, please click here.
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