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Jack Morton Plays Key Role in FIFA WORLD CUP SOUTH AFRICA 2010™ Opening and Closing Ceremonies

New York – June 22, 2010 – Global brand experience agency Jack Morton Worldwide is announcing it is playing a leading role as Creative, Production and Technical Consultant to the consortium producing the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 opening and closing ceremonies.  The agency brings extensive global experience to the role which includes serving as creative, technical and production consultant for the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and producer for the opening and closing ceremonies for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and the Manchester 2002 and Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. 

The spectacular opening ceremony took place on the 11th June at the Soccer City Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg and was broadcast live on ITV1.  The closing ceremony will take place at Soccer City on the 11th July and will also be broadcast live on ITV1.

The much anticipated opening ceremony described in the UK national press as “a breathtaking visual spectacular”* thrilled the crowd with a stunning and colorful display involving over 1500 South Africans plus performers from Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria including Thandiswa Mazwai, Hugh Masakela, Khaled, HHP and TKZee.

David Zolkwer, Jack Morton’s Director of Public Events and Creative Director for the South African ceremonies said: “Our goal was simply to express the warmth, vibrancy, colour and passion of Africa as it welcomed the world to this unique place. We’re thrilled with the public and media response to the Opening Ceremony – the curtain raiser to the first FIFA World cup to be held on African soil”.

The ceremony content, which was kept under wraps until the day, began with a traditional African Praise Poet ‘Calling’ that heralded the arrival of 300 women - representing the tribes of South Africa – who in turn introduced the other nine stadia across South Africa that will play host to tournament matches.

To the sound of Thandiswa Mazwai singing ‘uQongqothwane (‘The Click Song’) a parade entered led by a giant dung beetle that broke off from the group to irreverently roll a giant jabulani ball off the pitch.

The costume trains of the parade performers were then dramatically spread open to create a patchwork quilt image of the African continent surrounded by the rest of the world. The introduction of giant footsteps across the land masses conveyed the notion than humankind was born in Africa and that, after migrating across the world; it was now time to return home.

The building of a golden calabash (complete with steam rising from within) – African symbol of friendship and hospitality and the inspiration for the design of Soccer City - was built in the centre of the space and served as a backdrop to a tribute to Africa and the six African nations that are competing in the finals.

Multiple Grammy Award-winning R&B star R. Kelly then sang the ceremony's showpiece song, ‘Sign Of A Victory’, with the Soweto Spiritual Singers.

The opening ceremony concluded with a display of flags from the 176 competing member associations that failed to qualify, surrounding the 32 that did, with children calling out the names of all the 32 qualifiers before then uniting to form a human pixel picture of the official tournament logo.

The agency is working as consultant to the VWV Group and Till Dawn Entertainment. VWV Group is Jack Morton’s alliance partner in Africa.  Jack Morton was consultant to the consortium which previously produced the opening and closing ceremonies of the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2009.