Students flying the flag for Northampton at the Olympics

Date 12.11.2015

They are part of the volunteer army of performers and are working with Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, the artistic director, in the opening and closing ceremonies.

Debbie Daws will be dancing in a fifteen minute sequence in the Olympics opening ceremony. The 22-year-old who graduated last year with a BA (Hons) Dance said: “We just can’t say what is happening and who we are working with, but it is exciting. Danny Boyle is often around during rehearsals and is very hands-on. He thanked me personally as we all left rehearsals the other day.”

Boyle, best known for directing Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting, said the opening show for the Olympics was inspired by The Tempest and 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.

Danny Boyle, Director

Kate Lindley, 23, said: “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and some of the choreography is awesome. Just taking part in the auditions was an experience in itself. There were groups of 200 dancers at a time so to get picked was pretty special.”

Paul Middleton, Executive Dean of the School of the Arts, said:

I think it is fabulous that our students will be involved in the Olympics and Paralympics in this way. It is a fantastic opportunity for them and I know they will be great ambassadors for the University, and also for Northampton.

While their role might be voluntary, we wanted to recognise their achievement with some funding to help towards the travel costs for attending countless hours of rehearsals.

Paul Middleton, Exectutive Dean of the School of The Arts

Second Year BA Dance student Emily-Jane Bloor who will be performing in the closing ceremony for the Paralympics in August said: “I will have to be travelling down from my home in Stoke to London probably twice a week for rehearsals so the funding will really help cover my costs. We are all volunteers and as such only travel costs on the London Underground are paid.”

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

Olympic Opening ceremony in figures:

  • Pre-show starting at 20:12 BST 27 July
  • 1,100 automated lamps
  • One million watt sound system with 500 speakers
  • 50 tonnes of sound equipment
  • 15,000m sq metres of staging
  • 12,956 props
  • 24,570 costume buttons for one of opening sequences