A lion fit for an Olympic Heroes parade
It's not often you get the chance to capture the collective mood of euphoria following an Olympic Games, but our challenge from the City and DCMS was precisely that: to create a lead piece that would set a triumphant symbol of pride for the 2016 Olympic Heroes parade through Manchester city centre. In addition, we were asked to bring additional elements to the parade to create a mix of spectacle and celebration amongst the convoy on Olympic medal winners.
Given the very short space of time at our disposal we were asked to come up with a creative response with artists illustrations of what we thought would best capture both the mood of the nation and the sense of pride among Rio Games medal winners.
Our experience gained from delivering parades in Manchester, Paisley, Newcastle, and Exeter, as well as European Capital of Culture celebrations in cities like Liverpool and Derry-Londonderry, meant that we had a good idea on how to capture the spirit of the occasion.
In essence, street parades are all about larger than life moments of theatre and spectacle - whatever you create has to stand out against the larger cityscape of tall buildings and long streets. And with an anticipated audience in excess of 150,000 we had to come up with a crowd pleaser that had a strong, iconic appeal to people of all ages.
And because this was team GB, we needed a symbolic piece that represented all four nations. Our response was an emblematic lion that reflected the designs worn by Team GB in the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Our final design was a 3D lion built on a motorized platform complete with a burning Olympic torch. Built in less than a week in a secret location, the final piece was wheeled to the front of the parade where it was followed closely by children from four local schools, each carrying Olympic medals tied to ribbons of red, white and blue.
This kind of commission plays to our strengths in delivering high impact spectacle across the broad canvas of a city centre.
Being able to work with Candida Boyes, No Eyed Theatre and a team of artists on a closely guarded creative secret for such an important event was a fantastic endorsement of our credentials as creators of great moments of public celebration and spectacle."