Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow 2014: Let the fun and Games begin

Celtic Park
Image caption The Celtic Park pitch has been turned into what looks like a dance floor for the opening ceremony

At a secret location in Glasgow, hundreds of people are rehearsing for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

They come from a variety of backgrounds. I spoke to someone whose day job was in logistics, another was a joiner, a third worked in public relations.

Very few of these volunteers have a professional background in theatre or dance.

But what they do have in common is a huge amount of enthusiasm and energy and a willingness to commit hours of their time to the rehearsals.

One of the creative team involved in the ceremony says they were looking for people who had an attitude which reflected the city in which the Games are taking place.

They were looking for people, said Andy Cannon, who reflected Glasgow's welcoming spirit.

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Media captionGlasgow is getting ready for Commonwealth Games

It's this friendliness, energy and confident attitude which the organisers are hoping will come across in the opening ceremony which takes place in less than a fortnight's time.

James Cameron is one of the 2,000-strong volunteer cast for the show. He decided to get involved after watching the London 2012 opening ceremony.

He said the experience so far has been brilliant, and added that the hardest part of the rehearsals has been getting his feet and arms to coordinate with each other.

It is, he said "the typical man syndrome. My feet are in one direction, my arms are in the other. I fail spectacularly."

Image caption Glasgow 2014 choreographer Rocky Smith says the ceremony will be very different to anything that has been put on before

But outside of challenges like this, neither the cast nor the organisers are giving much away.

Plans to demolish several Glasgow tower blocks during the ceremony were withdrawn after the proposals attracted controversy, and further details of what will happen in the two-hour show are scarce.

We managed to tease out what may be a few themes.

Rocky Smith is one of the choreographers working on the opening ceremony. She's no stranger to this type of big event. This is the 45th ceremony she's worked on.

But she says the Glasgow opening ceremony is going to be very different from those she has worked on before.

"Ceremonies usually have a set formula. They have a creative section and they then have a bit of protocol, but we've mixed it all up."

Then there's Celtic Park where the opening ceremony will take place.

It feels like a very intimate setting, and the audience will be very close to the show.

The field of play has been covered with what looks like a large dance floor and one entire side of the stadium has been taken up with a huge LED screen which the organisers say will be a window on the Commonwealth, taking the 40,000 spectators out of the confines of the stadium to other places.

And of course, this being Scotland, they assure us that the opening ceremony will be waterproof.

Glasgow will, the organisers say, have all the usual ingredients found in any opening ceremony at a big sporting event.

Perhaps, then, it would be fair to assume we can expect some fireworks, some props, some dancing and some surprises. But how they come together might be very different from anything that has gone before.

Another member of the volunteer cast, Bruce Lee, is giving nothing away.

His mantra to those who ask what will be in the show is this: "I can't tell you. Just watch on the night."

His friends, family and work colleagues will be joining a potential worldwide television audience of over a billion.

The hope is the opening ceremony will reflect the fact that the friendly games are being held in a very friendly city.