The Baku 2015 European Games Opening Ceremony on Friday 12 June will be overseen by one of the world’s most experienced and celebrated professionals in large scale live event Ceremonies, Catherine Ugwu.
Originally from Manchester, Ms Ugwu has been a pre-eminent producer of Ceremonies since her first in her native Manchester in 2002.
After producing the Closing Ceremony for the XVII Commonwealth Games at the City of Manchester Stadium, she also produced the Opening Ceremony of the 15th Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, in 2006. Catherine was Senior Producer for the Strategic Phase of the Opening, Closing and Victory Ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010.
Prior to Baku 2015, her biggest project was as Executive Producer of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic in London in 2012. In 2013, she was awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for her significant contribution to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Mr Simon Clegg, Chief Operating Officer of Baku 2015, said: “We are extremely fortunate to have such an experienced and highly regarded Director of Ceremonies working here in Baku to launch the inaugural European Games. Catherine has built a wonderful reputation over the last 20 years, and she has left her mark on some of the most memorable Ceremonies in world sport.”
Catherine, who also produced the spectacle that launched London’s Millennium Dome in 2000, said: “Every Ceremony has to be unique by its very nature capturing the cultural heritage of the host country, and Baku 2015 will be no different. Azerbaijan may be a young country but it has a proud culture that I know the Ceremonies will reflect.
‘We have a wonderful production team and outstanding artistic directors in Dimitris Papaioannou for the Opening Ceremony and James Hadley for the Closing. Alongside this, we also have a hugely talented cast supported by some enthusiastic volunteers from Azerbaijan’s youthful community. Add to that the magnificent setting of the Olympic Stadium and we have the perfect ingredients for the biggest night in this country’s sporting history.’
Catherine has been a consultant and programmed numerous international arts festivals in Accra, Adelaide, Antwerp, Los Angeles, Mexico City and New York. In 1997, she founded the Live Art Development Agency and was Co-Director until 2001. She was Deputy Director of Live Arts at the
Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, from 1991 to 1997, holding programming, curatorial and commissioning responsibilities.
The Baku 2015 Opening Ceremony will be staged on Friday 12 June from 20:00 Baku Time.