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Travers Lewis, performing arts technician at school, tells his Olympic story.

I was lucky enough to be a volunteer performer in the Olympic Opening Ceremony. I was one of over 2000 volunteer performers in the Industrial Revolution section. 

I first applied to be a performer back in September last year; I sent off the application form and waited for a reply. I then got called for two audittrav 3ions just before Christmas; these were held at 3 Mills Studios in East London. In the New Year, to my surprise I received an e-mail letting me know that I've been successful and informing me of my rehearsal schedule. 

Our first couple of rehearsals took place at 3 Mills Studios where we met Danny Boyle for the first time. He introduced a short CGI video of his vision for our section based on the Industrial Revolution. After the video we started to learn our choreography under the watchful eyes of Toby Sedgwick and Steve Boyd. They choreographed movement sequences based on the Industrial Revolution; these included such movements as pulling levers and using a pickaxe.

After we learnt our movements we moved our rehearsals to Dagenham for a few weeks and then onto the Stadium, it was here that we got hands on experience with our props. Each section on the stage was split up and given county names, I was part of county Berkshire (the part with the cricket pitch). It was our task to transform the cricket pitch into the industrial revolution, to do this we had to remove all of the grass from our section in time for a 80ft chimney to go up and a massive beam engine to rise out of the ground. Whilst we were doing this there were also other groups on different parts of the stage with their own tasks to accomplish. Midway through our piece there was a 30 second pause to show respect for the people lost during past wars; this included shots of soldiers standing in a poppy field. 

After the stage was clear an Olympic Ring was forged in the middle of the stage, lit up with LED lights and pyrotechnics to look like it was being made from molten metal. We all crowded around the centre ring whilst doing our choreography. The ring then began to rise into the air, at this point we moved to the edge of the stage leaving only cast in full fireproof costume in the centre of stage. Four more rings flew in suspended from the roof and combined in the centre of the stage to form the Olympic Rings. A cascade of pyrotechnics rained onto the stage below. 

After many rehearsals it was beginning to feel like a real performance, all of the puzzle pieces were slotting into place. It was then time for our two Dress Rehearsals in front of an audience of 60,000. Each of the volunteer cast members was given two complimentary tickets for these rehearsals to give to friends and family.

The volunteer cast was made up of so many wonderful people from all walks of life. Everyone was friendly and always had a smile on their face. Even when we were rehearsing during the pouring rain, there was always a party atmosphere, everyone knowing that we were part of something special. 

When I was standing backstage waiting on the night, I could feel the nervous tension starting to build up. But I needn't have worried; the night was one of the best of my life! It was such an amazing atmosphere in the stadium. The hairs on the back of my neck were standing up all throughout the 15 minutes I was on stage. 

After the Olympic Opening Ceremony, I got an e-mail inviting me to also perform in the Paralympic Opening Ceremony. This came as a surprise as they had already been rehearsing for a couple of weeks. They needed an extra person in the Higgs Boson; this was a metal structure that contained 30 volunteer performers holding silver umbrellas. We had to perform a choreographed set of movements with the umbrellas whilst being spun around by stage crew dressed in space suit costumes.     

This has been an experience of a lifetime. I have loved every second of the time rehearsing. From the rain and wind at the site in Dagenham, to the joy of seeing all the puzzle pieces come together at the stadium. Meeting all my fellow volunteers has been another highlight; they were an amazing bunch of people.

I hope you all enjoyed watching it on the telly as much as I did being part of it! I hope this inspires you to follow your dream, as one day it might come true! 

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