Commonwealth Games 2002

Date: 4 August 2002

Location: Manchester

Client: Commonwealth Games

To create an epic, visually engaging piece of work that communicated a universal message of hope to a live stadium audience and millions of TV viewers around the world. Simplicity, poignancy and inclusivity were key drivers in this landmark commission for such a prestigious event.

Manchester’s Commonwealth Games closing ceremony demanded a diverse and aesthetically beautiful event, and we created a truly memorable goodbye, sealed with an international message of hope.

The event, directed by Nigel Jamieson, saw us work with more than 50 artists over the course of just eight weeks. Huge anticipation from a sell-out audience of 38,000 in Manchester, and a further one billion worldwide was met with an ambitious, inclusive and inspirational performance.

Combining large scale spectacle with spirituality, a series of large scale lanterns merged to form a 50ft luminous human body, surrounded by religious structures from across the world. A tightly choreographed display formed a river of light symbolising common humanity, as specially commissioned soundtrack by Dave Stewart filled the stadium.

A further 2000 smaller handcrafted lanterns - carried by local community members -entered the stadium to form a giant dove, whose wingspan stretched the entire diameter of the venue. The audience watched on as the dove slowly dissolved to form the poignant message ‘seek peace’.

The show underlined the spirit of collective achievement, and the potential to be uncovered when communities come together.

At the end of the ceremony, the lanterns were handed back to the participants, as a permanent legacy of their involvement.

"Magic lanterns – giant minarets, mosques, and menorahs lit up the stadium in Manchester’s multifaith extravaganza."

The Times

Project Specification
Project Scale
Creative Content
Costumes and props
Parades and processions
Site responsive performance