The Special Olympics World Games 2019 grand opening took place in the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on 14th March and was graced by the presence of UAE and world leaders. Commissioned by People, eclipse had crew on site for a month in the lead up to the Opening Ceremony, providing full lighting support for the event, as well as the rigging infrastructure for all the lighting, audio and video components.
Being widely praised as the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world in 2019, the occasion delivered excitement and inspiration to spectators, not to mention the athletes from the largest participating nations in its history. The event promotes the values of inclusion to embrace diversity, unifying people of determination.
Speaking of fulfilling the first ever Special Olympics World Games to be held in the MENA region, eclipse Staging Services’ Project Manager, Duncan Shortt comments, “In terms of challenges, beyond the duration of the build running up to the Opening Ceremony, there was a major overhaul and redesign of the stage and scenic elements prior to the Closing Ceremony, which involved 24-hour work across all departments of the event to facilitate the change around, and allow for the technical creative team to then reprogram and choreograph a spectacle fit to be televised on the world stage.”
Designed by dbnAudile’s Lead Lighting Designer, Stephen Page, the lighting rig for the event consisted of an impressive array of over 800 lighting fixtures; from the Clay Paky range, there were around 60 Scenius Unicos, 100 Mythos 2, as well as Sharpys and Super Sharpys, and Spots, Profiles and Washes from the Alpha 1500 stable. Robe brought a further 80 BMFL Blades and 50 Robin 150 LED Beams to the party, with Philips, Martin and SGM bringing a further 100 VL3500 Wash FX, Mac Auras and P5 LED Floods respectively, all controlled from a network of 5 GrandMa2 consoles.
The lighting team comprised around 10 technicians, on night and day rotation covering about 18 hours a day on site to maintain and manage the continuous functionality of the lighting rig in quite testing atmospheric conditions over a six-week period to see things through to the end of the Closing Ceremony.
For rigging, eclipse supplied over 120 motors and 500m as well as deploying high speed winches to move LED panels while the main LED screen was built to a height of approx. 20 metres. “Health and Safety was of utmost importance,” remarked Duncan. “Ensuring that the event achieves the highest HSE standards, People drafted in the support of Gallowglass to manage the Stadium side work, and Flash Entertainment ran the overall Special Olympics site infrastructure, including a separate set of HSE inductions.”
“The Special Olympics has been touted as the single biggest event the UAE has ever hosted, and so to play such a major supporting role in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies is a great privilege and a very rewarding experience. Our crew worked day and night to keep everything at the highest possible level of production,” concluded Duncan.
Photo Credit: Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019