Sparks Will Fly
Part of the UK Cultural Olympiad
“Staging unique, one-off events of huge ambition and scale such as East Meets West and Sparks Will Fly – [we] couldn’t have have delivered these landmark projects without you.”Cultural Development Team, Essex County Council
Sparks Did Fly
The Sparks Will Fly event was a special occasion with three distinct elements for an audience of 20,000. It was an interesting challenge to organise three large-scale and quite distinct events taking place consecutively and with hundreds of stakeholders.
The day commenced in the early afternoon with the county’s only celebration that was part of the official London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.
The daytime event featured entertainment by the three Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partners (CocaCola, Samsung and Lloyds TSB) as well incorporating specially choreographed performances by Pinpoint Create and Walk the Plank whilst also working with local community groups to include large-scale audience participation. The culmination of this part of the celebration was the arrival of the Olympic Torch and the lighting of the onstage cauldron from the Olympic Flame plus the appearance of Guglielmo Marconi performed by Mike Dodsworth.
Following the Torch Relay Celebration, the audience were invited into an adjacent area of the event site to ‘Feast, Drink, Play!’ – the second element of the special occasion. This event had a huge variety of entertainment together with, as the name suggests, the best of Essex food and drink. There certainly was something to see and do for everyone.
As the sun began to set, the world-renowned Red Devils Parachute Display Team descended on to the site with a spectacular display carrying with them the final glass bead to enable the Glass Bead Game to begin…
The expectant crowd were led towards the performance arena where Marina Mightier and Boreas Zephyr were due to compete on a huge stage.
Marina and Boreas and their crews began answering the Monty the quizmaster’s questions about all the areas of Essex they had visited during the last 6-8 weeks. The human-sized characters metamorphised into 20ft giant figures which emerged from the stage. After various shenanigans on stage and the end of the interactive quiz, the crowd of 20,000 people all shouted un, deux, trois and the fireworks began.
Please see the short film of the project below.
Sparks Will Fly Twilight Spectacle
preceded by Welcoming the London2012 Olympic Torch
& Feast, Drink, Play!
Among the other activities in the Feast, Drink and Play! event site there was the Tankton Slightly Odd Village Fete including the Art Cannon, a Storytelling Area with Mike Dodsworth and many others, the Bollywood Bling tent featuring a diverse list of song and dance talent.
There was an outdoor display area for bands, cheerleaders and the Blue Falcons gymnastic display team. Also several community stages and spaces for community workshops. There was also an acoustic music stage, a dedicated dance tent and a family cabaret tent.
The programme included over 9,000 performers and reached over 100,000 people at events – parades, storytelling workshops, carnivals and street theatre – across the county before heading to the Sparks Will Fly finale in Chelmsford.
There was plenty to do with displays of community sports and arts suitable for all the family. Local music, dance and other performances mixed with inspiring examples of physical prowess, accessible have-a-go sports sessions and an abundance of arts and crafts activities.
And as the Feast, Drink & Play name suggests, there were loads of different refreshments to feast upon – ranging from homemade cupcakes and sweets, to Indian food and hog roasts.