Performance costume, 'Sturt Desert Pea', fabric/plastic/aluminium/foam, designed by Eamon D'Arcy, made by the Ceremonies Costume Workshop, used in Opening Ceremony of Olympic Games, Sydney, 2000
The Stuart Desert Pea costume consists of a green nylon lycra unitard and an elaborate head-dress which fits into an aluminium frame harness. It was worn with a cape (object 2001/84/341). The costume featured in the Nature segment of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony . It is one of approximately 120 identical costumes worn male and female performers. The costume was designed by Eamon D'Arcy and manufactured in the Ceremonies Costume Workshop in Redfern, NSW.
The Nature segment of the Opening Ceremony, directed by Peter Wilson, presented a theatrical representation of Australia's native flora and fauna.
The Sydney 2000 Post-games Report describes the segment: Fresh green shoots appeared, plants began to bloom, leaves grew along the branches of the eucalypt trees, as desert and bush and rivers came alive to the strident laugh of the kookaburra and the screeching of parrots. Dominant among the budding, swelling, ultimately blooming flowerbuds were red waratahs, red and black Sturt's Desert peas, pink waterlilies and yellow banksias. Following them came pink and purple honey-myrtles, blue wildflowers and swamp daisies. As the lakes and waterholes of the inland filled, flocks of birds arrived to breed, and then Australia's unique animals came to visit, among them the kangaroo, platypus, echidna and goanna.
Through creative choreography and puppetry, and sequence after sequence of fresh new images, and a continuing fusion of colour, the stadium took on the look of a beautiful living garden. Through this great flowering landscape walked the Songman Djakapurra, stopping at a giant waratah to collect the Hero Girl, who was still dreaming. (Sydney 2000 Post- Games Report, http://www.gamesinfo.com.au/postgames/en/ pg002508.htm).
During the segment the lights in the stadium were dimmed as the costumes 'lit up' creating a floral wonderland. The head- dress is fitted with a light powered from a battery pack around the waist of the performer; during the 'light up' sequence the performers activate a switch causing the costume to illuminate.
Eamon D'Arcy originally trained in theatre design at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney. He later continued his studies at the English National Opera Theatre Design School (London) and recently completed his Master of Philosophy degree in the Department of Art History and Theory, University of Sydney.
In addition to his designs for the Opening Ceremony, D'Arcy was also Production Designer for the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, Opening and Closing Ceremonies including all Medal Ceremonies.
He was Production Designer for the Handover Ceremony at the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, USA and Production Designer for the Handover Ceremony, Manchester Commonwealth Games 2002, the Melbourne 2006 Games Committee
Other work includes Designer of the NSW Float for the recent 2001 Federation Day Parade in Sydney and Festival Designer for the Queensland Biennial, Festival of Music, 2001.
Theatre design work includes; ? Associate Designer for the musicals Singing in the Rain 2001 and Cabaret 2002. ? Production designer for the musical Hot Shoe Shuffle and The Man from Snowy River Arena Spectacular in 2002 ? Set and Costume Designer for Black Chicks Talking 2002 - 2003. ? Set Designer for the musical Hair touring Australia 2003 and Burn the Floor touring USA in 2002 - 2003
D'Arcy's designs for the Nature segment featured animated flower costumes in which the performers body became part of the flower. In addition to the complex sculptural forms featuring a variety of colours and textures, the costumes are
The costume is based on the state flower of South Australia the Stuart's Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa).
During the performance the individual Sturt Desert Peas spread their wings and clustered together around the Waratah poles forming an image of the Waratah (Telopea speciosissima), the state flower of NSW. During the 'light up' sequence the performers activated a switch and the head- dresses lit up.
Worn by one of approximately 120 male and female performers who during the performance spread their wings and clustered together around the Waratah poles forming an image of the Waratah.
Presented to the Powerhouse Museum by the Olympic Coordination Authority, on behalf of the NSW Government