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Paralympics set for spectacular opening ceremony

 As thousands rushed to buy the last remaining tickets for the 2012 Paralympic Games, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson said that the opening ceremony would be ‘superb’ and that the public would be ‘blown away’ by the level of sportsmanship on display at the Games. The opening show will feature disabled acrobats, and tonight’s event will open with the words “O wonder! How many goodly creatures there are here” from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with a young actress playing the character of Miranda leading the audience through the ceremony. In a celebration of scientific achievements, it will include references to the Big Bang theory and the Large Hadron Collider and the show will also feature world renowned scientist Professor Stephen Hawking who is severely disabled from motor neurone disease. The author of A Brief History Of Time has filmed a pre-recorded message for spectators inside the Olympic Stadium where those attending will include the Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Among the international stars appearing will be actor Sir Ian McKellen, 73, who will read lines from The Tempest, blind soprano Denise Leigh, who performed four years ago in Beijing, and Beverley Knight, who officials say was chosen for her ‘stadium-filling voice’ and who will perform live. Award-winning film director Stephen Daldry and Co-Artistic Directors Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings head the team behind the ceremony, which has a cast of over 3,000 volunteers, rehabilitating soldiers, 100 children and professionals. Called “Enlightenment“, the programme celebrates the inclusivity of the Paralympics, including a fly past by “Aerobility” and incredible acrobatic performances on a 35 metre-high rig above the stadium floor. Over 4,000 of the World’s top Paralympians from 162 countries will parade the ceremony in front of the 80.000 audience and an estimated 1 billion worldwide TV audience. Once all the nations have arrived into the Stadium, LOCOG Chair Seb Coe and President of the IPC Sir Philip Craven will address the audience. The Games will then be declared open. The ceremony culminates in the lighting of the Paralympic Cauldron, which will burn throughout the Paralympic Games until the 9th of September.