Peaky Blinders writer helping to create Birmingham's Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

The writer of Peaky Blinders is to help deliver the opening and closing ceremonies for next year's Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Stephen Knight, Joshua ‘RTKal’ Holness, Maeve Clarke and Iqbal Clarke
Stephen Knight, Joshua ‘RTKal’ Holness, Maeve Clarke and Iqbal Clarke

The Birmingham 2022 creative team also includes renowned theatre director Iqbal Khan, two-time BAFTA award winner Hamish Hamilton, international rapper Joshua 'RTKal' Holness, published novelist Maeve Clarke and international set designer Misty Buckley.

The opening ceremony will take place on July 28 and will include a mass cast of 1,200 participants. It will welcome the return of the Queen’s Baton following its 300-day relay around the Commonwealth.

It will host a live audience of 30,000 at the newly redeveloped Alexander Stadium.

Steven Knight will be the executive producer. As well as creating and writing Birmingham’s most famous TV export, he has also written screenplays for the films Closed Circuit, Dirty Pretty Things, and Eastern Promises, and has directed and written the films Locke, and Hummingbird.

The team has been bought together by Birmingham2022’s chief creative officer Martin Green, who also led the Olympic and Paralympic ceremonies in London 2012.

He said: “As a showcase of creativity and innovation, a successful opening ceremony will be remembered by athletes, spectators, and broadcast audiences alike for many years to come. It is a defining moment for Birmingham, the West Midlands, and the UK as we welcome the Commonwealth and set the stage for the Games ahead.

A revamped Alexander Stadium will host the ceremony

"As we create these Ceremonies, it is our intention to utilise the new range of tools at our disposal. From CGI to special effects, the UK is a world leader in cutting-edge broadcast technology. The core creative team assembled to imagine the Opening Ceremony is drawn from a diverse range of disciplines, from theatre to literature, TV to stage production; we have had access to the very best UK and West Midlands talent to create this.

"This talent and these tools are nothing without a story, and this city and region are full of rich and diverse narratives to share with the world. Ten years, almost to the day, since London 2012’s opening ceremony, these Games in Birmingham present a unique opportunity to create a global advert at a moment of renewal as we emerge from the challenges of the pandemic.”

Full details of the story of the opening and closing ceremonies will be revealed in the coming months, as well as the musical performers, special guests and moments that will make up the shows.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “The opening ceremony of Birmingham 2022 will be one of the highlights of an extraordinary year of major events here in the UK. British creativity will once again take centre stage _ showing the world our incredible talent of leading directors, writers and set designers, and the dedication of the 1,200 volunteers taking part.

“After such a difficult time for us all, this will be a wonderful chance for us to come together and celebrate the very best of Birmingham, the West Midlands and the whole of the UK.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “In under a year the eyes of the world will be on Birmingham and the West Midlands, and we know the opening and closing ceremonies will be key to a successful hosting of the Commonwealth Games.

“That’s why I’m delighted this first-class team has been assembled, and I know they will help create two magnificent spectacles that showcase the very best of our region.”

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