Farm Olympics; Danny Boyle's Vision of Pastoral Britain for Opening Ceremony Real Sheep and Cows, Fake Clouds and a Burst of Rain to Start Games

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Byline: Matthew Beard Olympics Editor

THE Olympic stadium will be turned into an idyllic scene of the British countryside for the Games opening ceremony with rivers, real cows and sheep grazing in meadows and a cricket match on a village green.

The transformation of the centre of the 80,000-seat arena in Stratford was revealed by artistic director Danny Boyle today. He said: "The green and pleasant land still exists despite the fact most of us live in cities.

"This land 200 years ago was a meadow and one of the delights of the legacy is that this whole event will be giving back a park to east London."

There will be a burst of rainfall from artificial clouds as the stadium becomes the biggest stage set in the world for the [pounds sterling]27 million ceremony performed by 10,000 cast and crew and watched by one billion viewers worldwide.

Glastonbury Tor will be created at one end and members of the public will be invited to dance in a "mosh pit" at the opposite end. Huge flower symbols will be mounted on four maypoles representing the home nations.

Slumdog Millionaire director Boyle Continued on Page 6

LONDON2012 Continued from Page 1 insisted that the show on July 27 was not being made specifically for television, following criticism that aspects of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games had been faked.

He said: "The battle between television and spectators on the evening is interesting. We wanted very much the experience of television to come through the eyes of the people in the stadium. This is not a specially designed show for television although obviously television is important.

"We wanted it to feel warmer than they sometimes are. As a live audience you can sometimes feel excluded from that. We are trying to have our cake and eat it."

Despite the initial rural theme, the show would heavily reference urban Britain. "It's not a naive show, we are trying to show the best of us but we are also trying to show many different things about our country.

"The growth of cities is an extraordinary phenomenon and it is clearly linked to the growth of the Olympic Games" he said.

The world's largest harmonically tuned bell commissioned by a Whitechapel foundry -- and which will ring in the Games -- has been installed and tested. The pre-show will start at 20. …