Danish festivities get off to a fairytale start

The $40m (£21m) bicentennial celebrations of the birth of Danish storyteller and poet Hans Christian Andersen began last month with an event in front of 35,000 people at Copenhagen's Parken Stadium, involving a host of UK companies.

British production agency Initial was commissioned by the Danish Broadcasting Company to produce a two-hour show entitled Once Upon A Time, featuring 300 artistes who performed 13 of the Dane's fairytales.

Draping supplier Blackout teamed up with production rigger Summit Steel, sound supplier Britannia Row and lighting firm PRG to help transform the Danish national stadium into a fairytale environment.

The stories were told against a backdrop of more than 3,000 metres of shimmering silver voile, used by Blackout to create four giant 'icicle' columns on stage. Lit inside, the columns were made to gyrate and swirl by two large fans and helped recreate trees in a forest, seaweed in the depths of the ocean, burning flames and icicles. Backrow Productions provided theatrical show Tap Dogs to re-choreograph a performance that helped to tell one of the 13 stories, The Red Shoes.

"The key to such projects is the planning and solving problems before getting on site. Communication between all service companies was great and the planning paid off," said Summit Steel project manager Jon Bray.

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