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Rio Paralympics Heritage Torch Lighting Ceremony

Seeds of Diversity

Heritage Torch Lighting Ceremony, Stoke Mandeville Stadium

A Heritage Flame once again burst into life at Stoke Mandeville Stadium this September, to celebrate the launch of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Following its support for previous events, Aylesbury Vale District Council was pleased to announce that Arts Council England will be providing £138,000 in funding for this year’s Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony.

Stoke Mandeville is famous internationally as the place where Dr Ludwig Guttman inaugurated the first sporting competitions for disabled people in 1948. In recognition of its status as the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement, Stoke Mandeville Stadium is now the host of the Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony. Previous events were also held there to commemorate the start of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London and the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Once again, the Artistic Director for the event is Bradley Hemmings MBE, who was Co-Creative Director of the Opening Ceremony of the London Paralympic Games in 2012 and who was the producer of the 2014 Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville. Rachel Gadsden is, Visual Artist, Rebecca Brower is the Designer and Dan Jones is the  Composer.

Gadsden was delighted to have teamed up with Draw and Code, Liverpool, to create an animation that forms part of the performance celebration. D&C Director Andy Cooper and Senior Designer Michael Snowdon have worked with Gadsden's expressionistic visceral drawings to create a dynamic and powerful narrative animation that sets the scene for the performance spectacle and Torch Lighting Ceremony. Nickie Miles Wildin narrates Bradley Hemmings' story, and Dan Jones has composed the score.

Gadsden has also created a series of paralympics inspired artworks that will adorn the windows of the Green House -  which forms a key part of the revolving stage set.

Please click here to be be able to watch Rachel Gadsden and Draw & Codes animation that has been created as part of the performance.

The Seeds of Diversity




Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East for Arts Council England, added: 
Stoke Mandeville is recognised as the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement and so we are delighted to continue our support for The Paralympic Heritage Flame Ceremony. It is a project that highlights the important role arts and culture have in celebrating our heritage. But more than that, it celebrates the achievements of our Paralympic athletes. It resonates strongly with our own work to support diverse artists and create opportunities for them to flourish on a local, regional, national and international stage.”

Please click to see the Gallery of photos of the artworks and Celebratory Event