Heritage Flame Ceremony
2 September 2016
Type: Dance, Music, Theatre
In a wonderful celebration of diversity, sport and the arts, Stoke Mandeville Stadium hosted a Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony in 2016– the only one to be held outside of the host nation, Brazil.
Stoke Mandeville is famous internationally as the place where Dr Ludwig Guttman inaugurated the first sporting competitions for disabled people in 1948. This ceremony, which was supported by the Arts Council, saw 100 local residents come together with performers from StopGap Dance to celebrate Stoke Mandeville as the birthplace of the Paralympic movement.
Directed by Bradley Hemmings and with choreography by StopGap, the performance imagined the spirit and values of the Paralympics as ‘seeds of diversity’. Those seeds, then spread across the world, to share the Paralympic movement’s enlightened ideas about diversity.
The 2 September event ended with the lighting of the Paralympic Heritage Flame, which will then travelled to Brazil. The Heritage flame was combined with others from across Brazil to mark the beginning of the two-day torch relay. The flame arrived in the Olympic stadium on 7 September for the start of the Rio 2016 Paralympics.