Story boards (2), Closing Ceremony, Olympic Games, Sydney, 2000, paper/cardboard, concepts designed by Ric Birch, Sydney, c.1998- 1999
These two story boards depicts some the initial, abandoned themes for the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Stamped 'Sample Only', they illustrate an impressive pyrotechnics display over Sydney Harbour, and a sea of multi-coloured hot-air balloons anchored to pontoons on the water. Emblazoned on each balloon is the name of a country that participated in the XXVII Olympiad. This concept was probably designed by the Director of Ceremonies, Ric Birch, and was illustrated by the Drawing Book Studios of North Sydney.
The closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games took place on Sunday, 1 October, at Stadium Australia, Homebush Bay. It included solemn formalities, an informal parade of athletes and a farewell party that took the form of an unregimented parade with floats that celebrated and often mocked aspects of Australian popular culture. The intention was to conduct the ceremony with decorum until the extinction of the Olympic flame, and then to unleash a party. The artistic director of the closing ceremony David Atkins explained: 'The athletes have finished competition, and are ready to party, and we have set about creating a party to end all parties. We have decided to invite everyone into our giant Australian backyard - fully equipped with Hills Hoists, barbecues, an eclectic mix of music, performers and all manner of Australiana. Australians have a tradition of throwing great parties, and this one will be imbued with a sense of fun, larrikinism and goodwill.' According to Ric Birch (speaking on Channel 7's 'Olympic Sunrise'), the Opening Ceremony was to represent Australia at large, but the Closing Ceremony was Sydney's show.
The opening ceremony told a mythic story of nation-building that dwarfed individuals. It was evocative and subtle. The closing ceremony, however, celebrated personality, celebrity and attitude. Loud and brash, more like a rock concert than a profoundly theatrical event, it was an extravagant send-off; fun, festive, shamelessly excessive and, for an international audience, decidedly weird.
As the ceremony unfolded the proliferation of suburban images, such as Hills Hoists, blowflies, lifesavers and thongs, was treated with self-deprecating irony rather than clichÂ?. The wit and quality of the 'Parade of Icons' - a gala of Australian celebrities - reflected the influence of the late Peter Tully and his experience as artistic director of the Sydney Mardi Gras. His 'pit chicks', for example, donned silver hot pants and stiletto shoes and carried giant eyelashes and mascara for the prop, the Priscilla Bus - a prop that celebrated the Australian film, 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert', and local gay culture.
These two story boards depicts some the initial, abandoned themes for the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Together, they illustrate the ideas of the Director of Ceremonies, Ric Birch, and his creative team.
These story boards were probably made in early 1999, before the Ceremonies Workshop commenced the construction of props for the Closing Ceremony.
These story boards were used by the Director of Ceremonies, Ric Birch, and his team in developing the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games.
Made for and owned by the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and donated to the Powerhouse Museum after the Games.