Performance costume, 'Lawnmower Man', fabric, designed by Jennifer Irwin, made by the Ceremonies Costume Workshop, used in Closing Ceremony of Olympic Games, Sydney, 2000
The Lawnmower Man costume was designed by Jennifer Irwin and featured in the Welcome segment of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony. The costume was assembled from purchased components: green overalls, a Stadium Australia 'bucket' hat, goggles and a khaki T-shirt.
The Welcome segment featured a staged 'skit' in which a ground keeper goes berserk on a motorised lawn mower and causes havoc and mayhem amongst press, officials and a performing school group. The lawn mower breaks apart during the segment. There were three Lawnmower Men in the segment: one 'hero' lawnmower man and two stunt men.
The costume was worn by Neil Gladwin of performance group 'Los Trios Ringbarkus'. Gladwin also directed the segment.
The closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games took place on Sunday 1 October at Stadium Australia, Homebush Bay. The ceremony 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.
After Vanessa Amorosi's performance of 'Absolutely Everybody', the arena was transformed into a huge dance- floor as 960 ballroom dancing couples in fluorescent costumes danced the samba, tango and jive to the beat of John Paul Young singing 'Love is in the Air'. Although there was no direct allusion to the film 'Strictly Ballroom', the link was implied. The dancers were accompanied by 208 giant dancing feet and the incongruous assembly of oversized kewpie dolls while in mid-field the athletes formed a huge conga line.
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' showed the influence of the late Peter Tully artistic director of the Mardi Gras. For example, the 'pit chicks' in silver hot pants who carried large eyelash props, the stiletto shoe bikes and giant mascara for the Priscilla bus.
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.
Jennifer Irwin (born Sydney 1958) has designed costumes for numerous Australian dance and theatre productions. Her designs for dance have been seen on stage in 24 countries. She has designed costumes for over 25 works by the Sydney Dance Company and has worked extensively with director and choreographer Stephen Page on his productions for the Bangarra Dance Theatre and the Australian Ballet. Also with Stephen Page, Irwin designed costumes for the Opening Ceremony for the Festival of the Dreaming (1998) and for Tubowgule - the Opening Ceremony for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival. Irwin also designed the costumes for the Official Ceremony for the Centenary of Federation on 1 January 2001.
Her many costume design commissions for dramatic works include collaborations with directors Gale Edwards and Marion Potts for the Sydney Theatre Company and with Neil Armfield for Company B at the Belvoir St Theatre. Irwin was awarded a Theatre Board (Australia Council) grant to study scenic design at La Scala Opera in Milan, Italy.
Her designs for the Closing Ceremony demonstrate her unique talent of infusing contemporary, cutting edge design with a sensitivity and understanding of dance, movement and cultural significance.
Maker name Co-ordinated by the Ceremonies Costume Workshop.
The costume was used in the Welcome segment of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony. This segment featured a staged skit in which a ground keeper goes berserk on a motorised lawn mower and causes havoc and mayhem amongst press, officials and a performing school group. The costume was used in the 'Lawn Mower Man' segment of the Closing Ceremony. It was worn by Neil Gladwin of the performance group Los Trios Ringbarkus, who also directed the segment.
Presented to the Powerhouse Museum by the Olympic Coordination Authority, on behalf of the NSW Government