GDIF 2019 | London’s free, annual outdoor performing arts festival | Dates to be announced

Great North Run One Million Ceremony

4 September 2014

In 2014 the Bupa Great North Run was the first event of its kind in the world to reach its one millionth finish.

On Thursday 4 September, the Newcastle Gateshead Quayside and the River Tyne was transformed into a huge outdoor arena for an Opening Ceremony, which marked the start of the official countdown to the millionth finish of the Bupa Great North Run in South Shields on Sunday 7 September.

Written by David Almond and narrated by Jill Halfpenny and Tim Healy, the Opening Ceremony told the spectacular story of the North East. From the dawn of time through to the millionth finish of the Bupa Great North Run, it was a story of energy, endeavour and inspiration!

Devised by Bradley Hemmings, (co-artistic Director of the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony and Artistic Director of GDIF), the Great North Run Million Opening Ceremony told the incredible story of the North East, of ordinary people working together to achieve extraordinary things – all inspired by the energy of a million runners powering Tyneside’s past and future.

It featured musical performances from local hero Mark Knopfler, Mercury Music Prize nominees The Unthanks and platinum-selling drum’n’bass Chase & Status, as well as show-stopping acts from Lords of Lightning and Alchemy.

The Newcastle Gateshead Quayside came to life with spectacular set pieces designed by Jon Bausor, a specially commissioned film and animation by BAFTA award-winning artist Tal Rosner, music composed by Ivor Novello-winning Dan Jones and performed by Northern Sinfonia, and performances by hundreds of volunteer performers choreographed by Nathan Curry.

Watch the full ceremony on YouTube

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