On the 28th of July, the 2022 Commonwealth Games began. Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium housed an opening ceremony of 30,000 spectators. A creative team featuring artistic director, Iqbal Khan, and executive producer Steven Knight – renowned for creating Birmingham’s emblematic series: The Peaky Blinders – directed an opening ceremony honouring the city’s history. Giant puppets and stunt cyclists represented notable Brummie figures, including Charlie Chaplin, who is believed to have been born in a caravan park outside the city.
Much of the opening ceremony focused on the Black Country’s industrial past. A sequence of female chain-makers, responsible for manufacturing slave-trade implements, pulled a 10-metre armoured bull into the stadium. This exhibit not only represented Birmingham’s Bullring Market; established in the 12th century, but the dire circumstances of working women. However, in a tribute to the 1910 minimum wage strike, the women regain control by breaking their chains, and the bull is now on public display at Victoria Square.
After a stunning flypast performed by the Royal Airforce’s world-famous Red Arrows display team, the games were officially opened by the Prince of Wales, acting on behalf of Queen Elizabeth. From the 28th of July to the 8th of August, 72 nations and territories will be competing. Alongside some of the most anticipated athletics, gymnastics, and cricket events, for the very first time, Birmingham 2022 will feature more medal events for women than men, in addition to a fully integrated para-sport programme.
With upwards of 1.2 million ticket sales, Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games will also make history as the most attended ever! Australia currently leads the medal table, but all is still to play for, and together with global TV coverage and thousands of visitors, the West Midlands is undoubtedly set for a spectacular two weeks.