DCMS blog

Performing in the Opening Ceremony

by

Lucy Hartley

Olympic Open Ceremony Perfomer

Lucy Hartley is performing in tonight’s Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.


If you had told me a year ago that I was going to be a part of the greatest show on earth I wouldn’t have believed you. Yet here I am sat in hair and makeup getting ready to perform in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 opening ceremony. Gulp.
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People have asked me throughout this journey – and believe me it really has been a journey – how I got into this performing malarkey. Me, being a humble civil servant with no real performance experience unless playing third fairy from the left in Iolanthe aged 11 counts, taking part in the world’s most watched theatrical experience is hard to imagine.
The reason I applied to be part of the ceremonies was for the reason that I wanted to be part of ‘it’ – ‘it’ being the Olympics. I wanted to feel that wasn’t on the outside of this monumentous event, I wanted to be centre stage soaking up every glorious moment. Sadly my opportunity of being one of Team GB’s gold medal hopes passed me by sometime ago. Enthusiastic dancing and passionate overacting at my audition back in November was my one big shot at Olympic glory.
So Danny Boyle and company decided that I was just right for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. When I received my role offer I don’t think there was a single person in the office who didn’t hear my squeals of delight. At that point I may as well have been Usain Bolt winning the 100m – my Olympic dreams had come true. Score. Then came the hard work.
Our rehearsals began in May in a TV studio in East London. To say that I was nervous would be an understatement. I remember queuing up to ‘check-in’ at the studios and feeling quite overwhelmed with the amount of fellow volunteers. All the unfamiliar faces, from every walk of life, made me feel like it was the first day at school. Would I make friends? Would everyone be a world-class dancer?
But most of all, what was Danny’s vision for the ceremony going to be? I toyed with the idea of dramatically flouncing out of the room if I thought that he really had missed the mark.
As we snaked our way into the rehearsal space and I saw the man himself with a scale model of the stadium and set, I felt myself well up. Mr Boyle was from that moment on a creative genius to me. He has made me proud to be a part of this show but, more than that, proud to be British.

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