Norwich performers share their Olympic opening ceremony experience

After gruelling auditions, months of rehearsals and hours of fine-tuning, our Norfolk performers helped kick-start this year's Olympic Games in spectacular fashion. Our Olympics correspondent KATE SCOTTER caught up with some of them to find out more.

Norwich performers have been left with ever-lasting memories after taking part in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

More than 22 million people - and nearly 27 million at its peak - tuned in to watch the spectacular on Friday night.

The 62,000-strong audience in the Olympic stadium plus the millions more watching from home were blown away as Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle's extravagant masterpiece celebrated Britain through the ages, showcasing the nation's achievements, literature greats and musical favourites.

There were laughs aplenty with Mr Bean, a dramatic Royal entrance and music from across the ages.

Those who took part said it was something they will 'never forget'.

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Chloe Harcourt, who lives just off Sprowston Road, Norwich, was one of the dancers in the seventies scene, featuring Dizzee Rascal.

The 22-year-old said: 'It was quite overwhelming, you got an adrenaline rush. I thought I was going to be nervous but I was really excited about doing it.

'It felt like it was over really quickly and it's quite sad that it's over. I miss it already and made some amazing friends during my time there as well.

'It was so hard to keep a secret from everyone but now I love talking about it. I am so very proud to have been a part of it and I will keep it as a memory forever.'

Gina Atherton, 23, from Hainford, just north of Norwich, who was one of the 1,000 drummers in the industrial revolution section and an athlete marshal, said it was 'excellent'.

The self-employed sports coach, who will also appear in the closing ceremony on August 12, said: 'It was such a good night, the atmosphere, everything, I can't believe what I was involved in.

'It was great to be there, standing with the athletes. They were giving us gifts like flags and badges and they were having the time of their lives as well. I was so close to the stage that the torch bearers who lit the cauldron came right past me as did the Olympic flag and I was just metres away from the Arctic Monkeys and Paul McCartney, that was pretty special. It was amazing.'

The �80m four-hour long spectacle, entitled Isles of Wonder, featured British celebrities and sportspeople, including David Beckham, Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, James Bond and the Queen.

It was rehearsed more than 200 times, with each of the 7,500 volunteers spending on average 150 hours practising during the build-up.

The event used 12,956 props and boasted a million-watt PA system using more than 500 speakers.

Vikki Clarke, 28, of Clarkson Road, Norwich, said her appearance in Danny Boyle's spectacular had 'not seemed quite real'.

She danced in a 1960s section of the show's review of music through the ages and, reviewing a tape of the performance, can proudly point to herself among the cast of hundreds.

The 28-year-old, who had been juggling rehearsals for the Olympic ceremony with rehearsals for Great Yarmouth Hippodrome's summer circus, said: 'I have never experienced anything like it in my life. You could hear the crowd cheering and screaming outside the stadium. It was just amazing performing in front of the Queen and so many people who were in the crowd and watching on television.'

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See today's supplement for the latest Games news and results.