© Simon Hadley Photography

Birmingham Theatre Photographer

© Simon Hadley Photography

#BRUM – Birmingham 2022.

I have spent the last couple of weeks photographing the rehearsals for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Handover performance.

The handover took place at the 2018 Games closing ceremony on Australia’s Gold Coast. Towards the end of the ceremony (watched by a potential worldwide audience of one billion…no pressure!) the cameras switched to Victoria Square in Birmingham and the show stopping performance of ‘Go the Distance’ a specially choreographed piece set to the music of ELO’s Mr Blue Sky.

Amazingly the cast of volunteers was only assembled a month ago by Birmingham choreographer Rosie Kay and rehearsed for the first time together as a group 10 days before the event at Edgbaston Stadium.

I was privileged to be behind the scenes to record the development of the performance, from the first group session to the final run throughs on a bitterly cold April afternoon in the stadium car park.

It was amazing to watch all of the individual sections practised and refined before being brought together as one flowing piece of work. Taped outlines on the floor marked out the architecture of Victoria Square as ballet and hip hop dancers, parkour runners, choirs, robots and a wedding party swept around imaginary steps, Council House and Floozie in the Jacuzzi before forming into a living #Brum to wave to an imaginary drone lifting up into the sky.

Even though I had seen the routine run through perfectly countless times I was still nervous on Sunday waiting for the live link…no need to worry, the intricately choreographed five and a half minutes was perfect, beautifully performed, full of joie de vivre, all that hard work and talent paid off it looked effortless.

Bravo everyone!

© Simon Hadley Photography

© Simon Hadley Photography

© Simon Hadley Photography

© Simon Hadley Photography

Watch the live BBC footage of  ‘Go the Distance’ here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/commonwealth-games/43775463