Bernadette Burbridge, Big Screen Manager, reflects on the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony at Big Screen Birmingham.
You’ll have to forgive me a great big fat cliché but it was a night to remember at the Birmingham Big Screen. Some had rocked up for the duration armed with blankets and drinks ready for whatever the proclivities of this summer’s weather might throw at us. Curiosity drew others into the fold. And it felt a bit like a fold, huddled around the 'Floozie in the Jacuzzi' as bucolic images of sheep, horses, geese and farm workers and a life worked out with the land gave way to the grinding destruction of the industrial revolution. We recognised the history of Britain unfolding in giant iconic images. Is that Kenneth Branagh speaking Shakespeare? Yes! Is that Evelyn Glennie? Genius! Now we’re cheering for the NHS. My friend Rachel is dancing in there somewhere – really proud of her. Children everywhere in the telling of our story, we are celebrating childhood, we are acknowledging the power of our successors to create new worlds. All those kids bouncing up and down on hospital beds and here comes flying Mary Poppins. This is a breath-taking homage not only to the creativity and diversity that is Britain but to our history, to ingenuity, to faith, to justice and kindness. And now we’re at the palace. The Queen? Surely not. Yes!! Look at her! Who’s that tall man, the one who isn’t dashing Daniel Craig? Where’s the Milk Tray? The National Anthem brings everyone to their feet. It’s not just about the Queen, it’s about who we are and we are celebrating together. I’m often embarrassed to be British. I often think we could do so much better. Last night I was glad to be British. I was glad to be part of that Birmingham crowd celebrating belonging through the genius of one of the most creative and inspiring Opening Ceremonies you could ever hope to see.