Special Olympics Australia - Opening Ceremony

In October 2022, we collaborated with artists, creatives and event specialists from all across Tasmania to deliver our biggest production to date, the Special Olympics National Games Opening Ceremony at the Launceston Silverdome. It was a huge honour and creative opportunity to showcase the Agency’s purpose and broader abilities in staging this historical event.

Special Olympics Australia is part of a global inclusion movement for people with intellectual disabilities using sport as a platform to create community and promote inclusion. 

The SOA Games offers athletes the chance to show the world who they are, and what they can be – not focusing on their disability, but on their ability in competing and achieving beyond their boundaries. The SOA motto is: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Local, national, and international dignitaries attended the event, along with thousands of Tasmanian and interstate visitors to celebrate athletes from every state and territory.


The Challenge
SOA engaged us to develop the creative theming, full graphics package, and ‘stadium-size’ AV design – including all aspects of the event’s sound, lighting and staging production, technical and creative direction, and event content and performance management.

The brief was to coordinate an inclusive, all-abilities performance that also included indigenous and internationally renowned artists and entertainers like never before seen in the state.

Critical to the overall strategy was to develop a theme with authentic values and expressions to unite and inspire athletes, as well as the Tasmanian community and supporters across the country.


Our Approach
The event’s ‘Dare to Dream’ theme centred around the idea that sport has the power to transform lives.

The theme then drove the selection of relevant performers, songs, and visual effects that offered a Tasmanian context, intertwined with more familiar, universally-loved music and lyrics that captured hearts and minds to unite everyone in sound, voice, and movement. 

We engaged local disability artists, motion graphics designers, videographers, technicians, musicians, Auslan interpreters, and an array of production specialists. Our creative collaborators Second Echo Ensemble managed the identification of all-abilities performers and rehearsals conducted online from all corners of the state. 

The team worked passionately over many months to plan and design an accessible multi-sensory show with a mix of theatre, drama, and high-energy musical and dance performances in a fun and collegial atmosphere. 


The Result
The show included Denni Proctor’s graceful indigenous song ‘lutruwita’, with stunning big-screen images and graphics that fused music with visual storytelling. The program seamlessly transitioned through a sequence of all-abilities performers in custom-made outfits, backed by leading musicians, a roaring Taiko drumming display and tracked thematic lighting to bring the whole show to life!

Watch a short video of the drumming and dance performance here.

Custom-designed visual effects graphics, roving live video imagery of the performers, the excited audience and Auslan interpretation were projected from a huge 12m x 9m screen, creating an atmosphere of celebration and inclusiveness.

The grand finale delivered a breathtaking end, culminating with singer/songwriter Mia Palencia performing her inspirational song ‘So Many Hands’ accompanied by live dance and circus performance.

By all reports, the audience was captivated, surprised, and delighted with a show full of joy and excitement that will hold fond memories for athletes and supporters alike for a lifetime. 

Watch a short video of the torch entering the arena here.

And the resulting increase in Special Olympics’ brand awareness in Tasmania has seen an increase in participation in local statewide sports programs and the opportunity for more intellectually disabled athletes to be considered for state and national representation.

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