The Vitality Netball World Cup’s opening ceremony is set to be a celebration of the world in one city – with its distinct Liverpool twist being beamed to a global audience.
Due to its reputation for staging major, crowd-pulling events, the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 organisers agreed that Culture Liverpool, Liverpool City Council’s events experts, should produce and deliver the opening ceremony for the competition, which runs from 12-21 July.
Taking place in the M&S Bank Arena, located on the city’s world-famous waterfront – dance, music, projections and pyrotechnics will wow an arena audience of more than 6,000 people and an international TV audience of hundreds of thousands.
An impressive display of colour, costume and choreography will welcome players, officials, fans and spectators to the city as part of the 45 minute display which takes place on Friday 12 July during the second session of the tournament.
The ceremony will open with inspirational female voices, signalling a unique parade led by ‘Lady Liverpool’, portrayed by local artist Jennifer John, dressed in a flamboyant purple dress featuring an illuminated Liverpool skyline. She will welcome the 16 competing nations by singing Across the Universe by The Beatles.
This will be followed by the arrival of all the netball teams, who will enter the arena to a soundtrack of covers of famous Liverpool songs, such as Ferry Across the Mersey, Twist and Shout and The Story of the Blues – set to a South American, dubstep or Caribbean beat.
Following speeches, including a welcome by Minister for Sport Mims Davies, an interactive dance, projection, pyrotechnic multi-media show will take over the floor, along with stunning aerial performances by Wired Aerial. Dancers from Iceland, Spain, Russia and Mexico will form part of the troupe, and have been rehearsing for the ceremony for several months.
It will include the appearance of a special Liver Bird who will emerge to the sounds of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
A rousing finale will come courtesy of a 250-strong choir made up of Sense of Sound, Liverpool Signing Choir, Pop Vox and Voice to Voice.
The closing ceremony will take place on Sunday 21 July, which will focus around the medal ceremony and the official handover to the Netball World Cup 2023 hosts, South Africa.
The entire ceremony concept has been produced and directed by Culture Liverpool, which was recently named as the UK’s top event organiser, and 15th in the world overall, by the Eventex Awards.
The city council team has worked with globally acclaimed specialists including choreographers Darren Suarez and Valentina Temussi at the Institute of Arts in Barcelona, musical director Andy Frizell, Mary Lamb and Fabrication Studios who created the costumes along with projection experts Illuminos and world-renowned pyrotechnics company Titanium.
Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for culture, tourism and events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “It’s a huge coup that Liverpool City Council has been asked to produce the opening and closing ceremonies for this elite, global sporting event.
“Culture Liverpool’s CV speaks for itself when it comes to hosting events – for more than ten years, Liverpool has been an exemplar of best practice, bringing millions of people in to the city as they look on in awe at Cunard liners on the Mersey, Giant families or spiders wandering our streets, big-name music acts performing in our green spaces, or racing cars racing up and down The Strand.
“The Vitality Netball World Cup is bringing the world to Liverpool and that’s exactly what the two ceremonies will reflect. It will be a celebration of the game, the city and the incredible sportswomen who will themselves put on an incredible show across the ten days.”
Performer Jennifer John, who will become Lady Liverpool, said: “It is such an honour to be asked to lead the players onto the pitch as Lady Liverpool.
“Performing at the Netball World Cup in a magical city doing what I love – singing with people that I love from Sense of Sound Singers. For me, life just doesn’t get much better than that!”
Event Director Lindsay Impett, said : “The opening and closing ceremonies are set to be spectacular events, and I know that Culture Liverpool will deliver fantastic experiences for all involved as we welcome the world to their city. I am delighted that so many inspirational performers and individuals are getting involved, ensuring that 2019’s tournament will be opened and closed in style.”