Jack Morton Worldwide is beginning rehearsals in the City of Manchester Stadium next week for the £12m design and staging of the opening and closing ceremonies of this summer’s Commonwealth Games.
The consultancy is responsible for delivering the creative production of both showpiece ceremonies, which will be held on 25 July and 4 August, with a remit including set design, lighting and costumes.
Jack Morton Worldwide chairman Lois Jacobs is leading the project, with the consultancy’s artistic director David Zolkwer driving creative development.
Jacobs says, ‘The new, 38 000-seater stadium is the best showcase in the country for athletics, but it’s not designed for theatrical experiences. That’s our challenge, to transform the stadium into a space for scenic design and 6000 performers.’
The theme for the production is ‘unity through diversity’ and the aim is to create a uniquely British and Mancunian experience, she adds.
Jacobs describes ‘humour, irreverence and wit’ as the Mancunian qualities she is looking to express. Performers from local schools and other parts of the community will be involved.
‘The ceremonies will have everything you expect, but in an unexpected way, with ordinary people doing extraordinary things,’ Jacobs says.
Details of the creative content of the production remain under wraps but Jack Morton Worldwide has around 50 people working on the project and is pulling in experts from its global network.
The consultancy is also working with specialists in the production of stage shows and live events. They include theatrical lighting designer Andy Bridge, costume and prop designer Tim Goodchild and Pigi projection designer Andy Deig.
The design group was appointed last year following an extensive pitch process, which saw ten consultancies invited to tender.
Jack Morton Worldwide then won out against Imagination and HP:ICM on the final shortlist.