NEWS
27/01/2012 07:44 GMT | Updated 27/01/2012 10:32 GMT

Isles Of Wonder: Danny Boyle Reveals London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony Theme

The opening ceremony of London 2012’s Olympic Games will be called Isles of Wonder, it was revealed today.

The announcement comes at the start of a six-month countdown to the event and was revealed by the ceremony’s artistic director, Danny Boyle.

Boyle, who directed Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire , said: “We've called the show Isles of Wonder, inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest.

"Our Isles of Wonder salutes and celebrates the exuberant creativity of the British genius in an Opening Ceremony that we hope will be as unpredictable and inventive as the British people.”

More than 900 East End youngsters will get the chance of a star turn at the London 2012 opening and closing ceremonies.

Dubbed the Mass Movement Team, the 7-13-year-olds who all hail from schools in the six east London Olympic host boroughs have been vying for a place in the spotlight when the Games begin on July 27.

They will be part of large-scale choreography, as well as dance routines.

Up to 1,650 youngsters, broken down into 7-9 and 11-13 age groups from 18 primary and seven secondary schools, have been auditioning in recent weeks.

The stage will be the 80,000-seater Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London, and a worldwide TV audience of more than a billion people is expected to tune in.

They will help to form the under-16s volunteer performer cast for the Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremonies.

There will be between 15 and 20 rehearsals at the schools before the young stars transfer to the London 2012 ceremonies rehearsal venues and, finally, in the Olympic Stadium.

All the schools involved are part of London 2012's Get Set education network.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said: "Being part of the ceremonies is a great way of inspiring young people. I'm delighted schoolchildren from the host boroughs will be part of the show and help tell our story to the world.

"The students involved will have an incredible experience which will build their confidence and a sense of pride in themselves, their friends, family, school and wider community."

Some of the selected schools are already looking forward to the buzz of taking part.

Kerry Tabb, of All Saints College in Barking and Dagenham, said staff and pupils are "overwhelmed", adding: "Pupils at the school will benefit so much from the chance to represent not only our school but our borough at this unique opportunity.

"A real sense of pride will be felt by all."

Julie Taylor, of Crown Woods College in Greenwich, said pupils are "delighted" at the chance to take part in a ceremony.

She said: "The excitement amongst the pupils is palpable as they wait to hear about the next step in the process.

"It has been my aim for the pupils to have a real sense of involvement in the Games and it couldn't have happened in a more dramatic way."

Katie Parks, of Colegrave Primary School in Newham, described it as a privilege.

She said:"We are proud beyond words and excited beyond belief. Bring on the Games!"

Jenny Wilkins, headteacher at Skinners Academy in Hackney, said: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which will be fantastic for our students and will be one that students, staff and parents alike will always remember."

Mary Todd, headteacher at Marner Primary in Tower Hamlets, said: "It is such a huge opportunity for our children and staff and will bring the Olympics alive for the whole of the school community.

"We are a school that celebrates sport and sporting achievement and so the Olympics are hugely important to us. To have them taking place just down the road and having such direct involvement is a rare and wonderful opportunity."

London mayor Boris Johnson said: "We want to create a legacy from the Games by inspiring our young people and ensuring they are at the heart of the celebrations."

Applications are open until February 22 for adult volunteer performers to audition to participate in the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Organisers are searching for 5,000 volunteer performers to fill roles as dancers, actors, percussionists and general all-round performers.

Anyone who is interested can go online - at www.london2012.com/ceremoniescasting - to apply.

A blog named Isles of Wonder, dedicated to the 2012 Games is inviting viewers and participants to submit their stories and opinions.