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Meet the people who created Stormzy's Glastonbury show

Image copyright Getty Images

Stormzy tore up the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury this weekend with a performance praised for its beauty and political power.

The Croydon rapper's headline set on Friday incorporated ballet, hip-hop dancers and a full gospel choir.

There were also guest spots from Chris Martin and Dave, and spoken-word elements from Labour MP David Lammy and author Malorie Blackman.

"We knew we were going to do something that was going to blow people's minds," says creative director Chris 'Bronski' Jablonski.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The set carried messages about the dangers of knife crime, and racial injustice

He and fellow director Amber Rimell started working on the show around a year ago, and say Stormzy had lots of input.

"We wanted to do a performance that was entirely a celebration of himself, his achievement, but not only that - where he's from, his culture, and just something that would touch people's hearts in different ways."

The duo have been working on Stormzy's stage shows for around seven years.

In that time, the 25-year-old has blossomed from small-scale grime star to headlining the world's biggest festival.

Bronski says it was important to make the Glastonbury show appeal to everyone - not just grime fans.

They wanted Stormzy to show off his full emotional range, from tough tracks like Return Of The Rucksack to the more poppy Blinded By Your Grace Pt. 2.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stormzy's jacket was designed by Banksy

"The first section of the show is hard-hitting, that's just a given.

"We have to see Stormz in that light. But we also know that Stormzy is the most incredible, humble, beautiful person, and that also had to come across."

Dancers from Ballet Black, and the ten-year-old hip-hop dance star Princess K helped them bring out the emotion of Stormzy's songs.

"Stormzy himself was very adamant that sharing the stage was a big thing.

"We brainstormed and spoke about working with Ballet Black, Princess K and we ultimately worked together to create these beautiful moments that touch your heart and give the audience something else to grasp on," he says.

Lighting designer Tim Routledge and his team had just an hour to build the gigantic set and lighting rig for Stormzy's set after George Ezra came off stage.

"What we wanted to do was make something that wrapped around him and immersed Stormzy in this world that we created on stage.

"We had to light everything, from intense grime to a beautiful ballet scene."

Designing for such a varied show was a challenge - but Tim has an incredible range of experience to draw on.

He's lit Beyonce's Formation tour, The Spice Girls recent reunion shows and The X Factor, among many huge projects.

"I tend to light Stormzy in a very different way. He's a huge presence.

"He's 6ft 5, he's chiselled, he's a very sculptural form, his body's in incredible shape, and when he strips down to the waist on stage and he's covered in sweat we can light him in a very, very different way."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption "He's a huge presence... a very sculptural form," says lighting designer Tim Routledge

"We play with silhouettes of his body. We don't tend to front light him sometimes, we cross light him a lot, so you're just seeing the form.

"We're lighting him like we light dance, so you're seeing the body of someone, this huge stature, and when he glistens with all that sweat, he just looks incredible on camera.

"On the last day of rehearsals we ran the show twice in three hours and he gave it his all for that entire three hours."

Image copyright Ian Gavan
Image caption The set was lit from all sides

Stormzy's show made history, as the first Glastonbury headline set by a British rapper. Amber and Bronski say everyone on the team felt that excitement.

"It was something that was really hard to keep secret," says Bronski.

And Stormzy had a surprise of his own for them: revealing only two weeks ago that artist Banksy had created a costume for him.

"Stormzy told us and we were like 'Wow, that is one of the most incredible things'," says Amber, who says they're already looking ahead to his next shows.

"We're not sad that it's over because this is just another milestone that we've hit. Now we just want to take it to another level."

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