Paralympic Performer Story
|Author: Beacon Financial Ltd||Published: 6th September 2012 10:23|
Katie Kitson performed at the Paralympic Opening Ceremony on Wednesday (29th August 2012) and shares her story of the event.
Katie Kitson 25, who works at Beacon Wealth Management Ltd in Kimbolton and lives in St Neots, initially entered online for the chance to perform. "I only found out about this opportunity after Amie Brotherton who I work with told me she was entering online to perform at the Ceremonies. As part of the application you had to state what type of performing experience you had, and so to increase chances of being successful I pretty much ticked every box, hoping I wouldn't become unstuck if I was able to get through to auditions. - Fortunately I was alright and successful in performing at the opening of the Paralympics" commented Katie.
Katie rehearsed for around 72 hours over two months, at three different locations across London (including the Stadium) and was on stage for about 20 minutes.
‘When I arrived at my first rehearsal I had no idea what to expect, as I didn't know what I had been chosen for; dance, acting etc. When we arrived we were first sat down and watched snippets from previous Paralympic ceremonies and then told that we would be doing something completely different. In short our section was about letting everyone know that the Paralympics are just as good as the Olympics and shouldn't be seen as ‘the other one' stating that everyone should be treated as an equal. Our Co-Artistic Directors Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings were very passionate about this message, and it was exciting to know that we would be at the climax of the show.'
When asking Katie about her experience of performing at the Opening Ceremony she commented:
"At 3pm I entered the Olympic Park for what would be the last time, although I still had a rehearsal to go. By this time every rehearsal we'd had in the stadium had never been the same twice, and my section was asked to arrive at the stadium early on the day to add a further minute of choreography, which we had a chance to go over three times before exiting ready for the audience to arrive and give us time to change into our costumes.
We were each presented with a certificate to represent our achievement in taking part in the ceremony, as well as a program, which included everyone's names and photographs! It took a while but eventually I managed to find my photo in a collage at the back of the book.
At about 8:00pm we started to get very excited and did our hair and makeup for the last time, making sure we took lots of photos together once ready.
At 8:20pm a television was wheeled into our dressing room, (which was inside the stadium) so we could see the start of the show. It was crazy watching people I had got to know performing live on television knowing that we would be on there later that night as well. Once the athletes had finished entering the stadium, we listened to the rest of the show through our 'in-ears' (FM Radios we were listening to via headphones all the way through) whilst we made our way to our entrance and excitedly waited for our turn. Most of us had managed to hide our cameras on us so we could take lots of pictures whilst waiting and during our second entrance.
Once the group before us entered we all started to go crazy, running to our Pods ready to start, managing to grab a quick picture of Beverly Knight and her backing singers before entering. When we got the call to run on stage I couldn't help smiling.
I couldn't believe how quick our section was over (I was in the empowerment section with the song ‘Spasticus Autisticus', which started with carrying red pods - tents - followed by protest dancing). Although as soon as we had existed the stage it was a mad dash to the complete other side of the stadium to enter for the final song ‘I Am What I Am' which as a whole cast we mimed the title words. It was at this time that we all started to realise what we were doing (performing to such a large audience) and could really soak up the atmosphere - it was electric! It was great to see so many athletes and the audience also joining in. After the cameras stopped filming we all started mingling with the athletes, taking photos etc. it was fantastic.
I have never experienced anything like this before and if the opportunity ever arises again for something similar I would absolutely grab it with both hands, and would encourage others to give it a go as well. The people I met were from all parts of the world and from every type of background you could possibly think of, it really was an all-encompassing, excepting environment that everyone thrived off.
I plan on meeting a lot of people who I met through this again in a couple of weeks, once we have all had a chance to watch recordings of it ourselves."