Last night was a special night for a number of Deaf performers, artists and filmakers who graced the world stage as part of the dazzling opening ceremony for the Paralympics in London.
Their contribution to the event involved months of preparation, hard work and planning, and Limping Chicken would like to congratulate every single one of them. This was a night they, and we, will never forget.
For starters, the opening ceremony was co-directed by Jenny Sealey MBE, who is Deaf and has worked for years with Deaf and disabled artists in her role as Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre Company. Her joint vision (with Bradley Hemmings) was seen by billions of people last night: including aerial ballets, mass apple-eating, and much much more – spectacular moments that took the breath away.
Our first glimpse of Deaf performers at the event was the signing choir who signed ‘God Save the Queen,’ and if you’re from the UK, you might recognise one or two of the faces in the screengrab below!
After the procession of athletes into the stadium, Deaf actress Deepa Shastri took to the stage to sign ‘Spirit in Motion’ along with Soprano Denise Leigh, who sang the song, just before the speeches that finally marked the beginning of the games.
I’m almost certain that this is Deaf actor Stephen Collins, dancing here on the left of the stage during the song ‘Spasticus Autisticus,’ displaying enthusiasm in its purest form with fellow members of the cast from Graeae’s ‘Reasons to be Cheerful.’
At the close of the ceremony there was one final treat for Deaf viewers when Caroline Parker signed ‘I am what I am’ with Beverley Knight, which rounded off the night with an uplifting, rousing finale as a massive firework display lit up the London sky.
One of the proudest people in the stadium must have been Deaf filmmaker Ted Evans, who made the film that was shown just before the ceremony began (hopefully this will be available online and we’ll alert you to it as soon as we can). Ted has spent several months making a series of short films for Channel Four, highlighting some of the athletes involved in the games.
As well as those we managed to spot, there were numerous Deaf performers dancing, swirling umbrellas, and swinging high up on the poles who could often be seen in the background performing with other disabled and non-disabled artists. We didn’t see them all on screen but thanks to Facebook and Twitter, we know how many of them were there, playing their part.
Well done to all of you. You did us proud.
The Limping Chicken is supported by Deaf media company Remark!, provider of sign language services Deaf Umbrella, training and consultancy Deafworks, the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Look, Smile Chat campaign, and the National Theatre’s captioned plays.