Danny Boyle inspired by ‘The Tempest’ for Olympics ceremony

Danny Boyle, at a recent unveiling of his designs for the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics.
(Getty Images)

Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle said that William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” served as an inspiration for his recently revealed designs for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. The live extravaganza, which will be broadcast on television July 27, comes with an estimated price tag of $42 million and will mark the opening of the Summer Games.

At an event in London earlier this week, Boyle helped to unveil the designs for the ceremony. The designs emphasize an idealized pastoral vision of England, with farm animals including chickens and sheep. The title of the ceremony will be “Isles of Wonder,” a reference to a line from “The Tempest.”

The title is derived from the line “Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises, Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not,” spoken by the character of Caliban. In “The Tempest,” Caliban lives on a magical island on which Prospero and his daughter, Miranda, find themselves shipwrecked.

Boyle told the BBC News that in addition to farm animals, the opening ceremony will feature the participation of 900 schoolchildren from across Great Britain.


The Guardian reported that the ceremony will begin with a bucolic scene evoking pastoral Britain, then evolve into something more modern. Boyle has not revealed all of the ceremony’s details, and the names of many of the performers remain under wraps. (Some names have been confirmed, such as Paul McCartney.)

The opening ceremony will take place at the new Olympic Stadium and is expected to last approximately three hours.

Boyle, who won an Oscar for directing"Slumdog Millionaire,” most recently directed a stage production of “Frankenstein” at the National Theatre in London.



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