Olympic Opening Ceremony Brings Deaf and Hearing Impaired onto the World Stage
Who saw the Olympic opening ceremony? Well, who didn’t more like! And most would agree that it was a fantastic and heartfelt show of what it is to be British in 2012- minus the cynicism. The key message was inclusion and the LCD lights glowing the message “THIS IS FOR EVERYBODY” bright into the homes of millions worldwide confirmed this.
OK, yes, the surmising of British youth – as Facebook users caught up in an Eastenders plot line alongside the incomprehensible amount of airtime given to Dizzee Rascal (unlike Bowie-blink-and-you’ll-miss-him) – was perhaps slightly lamentable. But still it was the overwhelmingly warm and fuzzy feeling of inclusion the burst though.
Multi-culture, multi-class, multi-capable – Unlike the stringent uniformity of Beijing, our ceremony said- we’re all different, we’re all slightly out of sync and we’re all “in it together!” – oh hang on, now that’s a different news topic…
And it was truly fantastic, to see that amongst all of this, the world stage was given to the needs and achievements of the hearing impaired. Firstly, for those fortunate enough to be in the stadium itself, the evening’s host was shadowed at all times by a very prominent signer, who was proudly introduced as an asset not a distraction.
Then came the remarkable Dame Evelyn Glennie, for those who need reminding this was the rather feisty looking lady who banged her drums meticulously with 1,000 others, to hail in the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Having suffered from profound deafness since childhood this was an immense demonstration of how we can challenge perceptions of what it actually is to hear. To learn more on how Evelyn views the misunderstanding of hearing impairments, you can read her fascinating online essay here
The Kaos Singing Choir for Deaf and Hearing Children also appeared during the opening ceremony. Dressed in pyjamas, they performed the British national anthem (in both English and BSL) to the excited crowds and Her Maj the [skydiving adrenaline junkie] Queen. As the only one of its kind, the Choir for Deaf and Hearing Children was a fantastic addition to the show and with some 200 participants nationwide, a fantastic initiative in Britain. To find out more from their website, click here.
So, all-in-all a roaring success of a night for GB and the hearing impaired community. Let’s hope there’s more to come of this kind of awe inspiring exposure.
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