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London 2012 gives athletes a magical welcome

London 2012 gives athletes a magical welcome

The man behind the colourful Team Welcome Ceremonies at the Olympic Village believes London 2012 has broken new ground by turning a Games protocol into a party.

Paul Roseby, artistic director with the National Youth Theatre, led a 160-strong group of performers in laying on an elaborate show involving costume, dance and Queen music as national teams are formally inducted to the Village.

The Team Welcome Ceremonies are usually more prosaic affairs built around a symbolic exchange of gifts, the raising of the flag and an airing of the national anthem. All these elements are contained in Roseby’s show, but with added razzmatazz.

‘We are the first theatre company in the history of the modern Olympics to be asked to create a real spectacle around the protocol of the team welcomes,’ said Roseby. ‘We were given the brief to shake it up a bit, get a large cast together and make it very youthful and very British.’

Asked about the reaction from athletes so far, Roseby added: “They have absolutely loved it and some have been dancing along. It’s a party atmosphere… it’s about marking their entry to the Olympics no matter their success rate and saying “you’re brilliant, we love you”.’