Paralympic Games: Festival of Flame theme for ceremony

Paralympic cauldron
Image caption The cauldron will be extinguised at the end of the ceremony signalling the end of London 2012

The Paralympic Games closing ceremony will be a "Festival of Flame" with the athletes at the centre of it, according to artistic director Kim Gavin.

Music by Coldplay will take the audience on a journey through the four seasons during the performance which is due to start at 20:30 BST on Sunday.

The athletes will be in the centre of the Stadium at the start.

There will also be a tribute to the Help for Heroes charity in the show which features around 1,200 performers.

'Storm the Stadium'

"The idea is the coming together as one," Mr Gavin explained.

"We are known as a nation for having the most festivals, it is something that we do with 600 festivals a year.

"The festival approach is purely to bring the celebration of the last night of the Games being in London. We pay tribute to the all the human spirit and achievement through this wonderful sport of the last two weeks.

Image caption Coldplay's music will be at the heart of the performance

"What we have managed to do is to put together a unique group of people that storm the Stadium and bring this festival to life. The whole night is about a celebration that the flame will finally be going out in London.

"One of the first bands I approached, even before the Olympic closing ceremony, was Coldplay way back into last year.

"They jumped on board immediately and took the reins. They said they would love to be involved and believed in what we were doing. I wanted it to be one act, one major band.

"We have 120 child volunteers from east London, a 200-strong cast, disabled aerial performers from Circus Scape and The British Paraorchestra put together by Charles Hazlewood.

Special guests

"We have also worked with Help for Heroes for a tribute to to honour our servicemen and women. The union jack will be revealed for the national anthem in a special way.

"There will also be a few surprises and we are hoping the show will take you somewhere new. It is very different from any of the ceremonies you have seen before.

"I want it to feel less spangly and more raw, and be more about the people and their performances.

"With it being a festival of the flame there will be a lot of flame and the whole show will be very exciting."

He added that they had only been able to start preparing for the ceremony on the first Friday of the Games and that they would be unable to get into the Stadium for the first time until Sunday morning.

They did stage a full rehearsal in a Dagenham car park on Friday involving Coldplay and around 1,000 volunteers.

Coldplay's Chris Martin said: "Being asked to play at the closing celebrations for the Paralympic athletes in London is such a great honour for us and we are so happy to be involved. It will be one of the biggest nights of our lives."

Executive director Stephen Daldry revealed they had turned down people who wanted to play at the ceremony because Mr Gavin wanted a single main act.

He did add, however, that there would be some special guests.

The ceremony is due to finish at 23:00 BST.

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