DAA Residential
Whats in Wapping

Wapping performers in the London 2012 Olympic Games

Wapping performers in the London 2012 Olympic Games

Wapping residents Annette Jackson and Josephine Woolley share what it was like behind the scenes at the Olympic Stadium and some of their personal highlights from taking part in “the summer like no other”.

“I hope the biggest highlight is yet to come – that London 2012 can leave a legacy that endures and that it does indeed inspire generations be it in sport, volunteering or other areas”, says Josephine, who also worked as an Olympic Gamesmaker and Ambassador.

We think our Wapping performers are an inspiration themselves, so are sharing Annette and Josephine’s first hand accounts and pictures here – which began  back in the winter of 2011 when they first applied to get involved:

Annette Jackson’s Olympic story and pictures

A year ago I applied online to be a volunteer in the London 2012 Olympics. My auditions took place in November 2011.

Following successful auditions, rehearsals started in May 2012, which is when I found out that my role would be to perform in the Opening Ceremony and I was cast as Working Woman in the Industrial Revolution segment.

From the beginning of May 2012 onwards rehearsals took place in various locations: studios at 3 Mills in Bow, Dagenham East (old Ford car plant) and then onto the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.

After the Opening Ceremony I was fortunate to have another opportunity to perform – this time in the Paralympics Opening Ceremony, as a Puppeteer – Seagull segment with Miranda and the boat.

Rehearsing for the very different roles, I found challenging, which included to the poor weather conditions but at the same time, there was much excitement and anticipation.

My time in the London 2012 Olympics has been a truly amazing experience, which I will never forget.

I have also met many wonderful people whom I will no doubt meet again at our future reunions, the first of which was at Hyde Park earlier this month.

Follow Annette on Twittter @AnnePatrice31

Josephine Woolley’s Olympic story and pictures

I was a lindy-hopping nurse in the NHS section of the Opening Ceremony.

Josephine (left) in the Olympic Dressing Room with her dance partner Rebecca

 

Rehearsals took place in Bromley by Bow, Dagenham and from June in the Olympic Stadium itself. Many of these were in the rain or meant missing big events like England matches in the Euros or the Jubilee pageant. We did manage to huddle around laptops to watch Murray’s final set at Wimbledon though! At the beginning rehearsals were 5 hour slots. These were nothing compared to the 9+ hour ones we did later on! It was all worth it!

I’m not part of the NHS myself but met plenty of great people who are. Rehearsals started in small groups of 200 and then as we moved to bigger spaces we were brought together with the children, professionals, puppeteers, Mary Poppins, skaters etc. Danny Boyle was pretty much always present, speaking to us and signing our numbered bibs (used in rehearsals to ensure we were all in the right place and for casting to identify us.

I saw the advert on a London2012 enewsletter. I enjoy dancing and wanted to be involved in the Olympics somehow so thought I’d give it a go. We had two sets of auditions at the Three Mills studio in Bromley by Bow. Luckily I didn’t have to turn up with a dance piece ready. Instead, during the audition we learnt some short routines and performed them while the Cast team wondered around with clipboards. This was all in November. I think I heard in January that I had got in. We didn’t have an idea what we’d be doing until the first rehearsal when I discovered I was to be in the NHS section and to be honest it wasn’t until I watched the ceremony on the television after it had happened that I really grasped everything that was going on in the whole ceremony.

What was so fantastic was when it got met with such a great reception. What with there being an amount of pessimism about some aspects of the Olympics just before it began I suddenly realised how important it was that the ceremony started London2012 on the right note. It was nerve racking. We were lucky enough to have been able to do a couple of technical rehearsals in front of 60000 people and knew they had enjoyed it but what were the press and the rest of the country/world going to think?

It was a 20 minute walk from our ‘dressing rooms’ ie the Eton Manor venue at the other side of the Olympic Park from the stadium. Felt even longer in our Nurses heels! On the night itself we saw the red arrows streaming past as we headed towards the show:

We all wore earpieces in order to receive instructions during our section ( ‘Let’s go’, ‘speed up’, ‘take a bow’). This meant we could hear all the music from the other sections. By the time the fabulous drumming began we were all ‘backstage’ with the kids in the tunnels that run around the stadium miming banging the drums and dancing accordingly! Once the national anthem came on we were all in place ready to push our beds up on to the field of play.

It was amazing to be standing around the edge of the stadium just meters from the audience charleston-kicking and jockey-stepping. Even on the night itself there were surprises like when we turned round to see all the lights attached to the seats being waved around by the crowd not to mention the moment when Mr Bean appeared on the screen as we pushed the beds off to the sound of Chariots of Fire. The kids were delighted!

Josephine (right) with fellow lindy hopping nurse Helen at the Olympic Stadium

 

As we left the stadium the athletes were queuing up to go inside for their parade. I’d missed Team GB but I saw Usain Bolt walking in. Afterwards, most of the nurses went to party at a bar near St Pauls. I joined them once I’d watched the fireworks from Westfield (feeling like a VIP as security let us through!) The fireworks were absolutely fantastic. I felt very emotional… and that was just the beginning of an amazing Olympic and Paralympics. I would have loved to have been involved in the other ceremonies but there’s only so much time you can take off work -I was also taking time off to be a Gamesmaker working on updating content on the London 2012 website and a London Ambassador helping out visitors along the Southbank.

Living in Wapping so close to so much of the action made being able to do all this so much easier – especially the early starts for my Gamesmaker shifts. I also really enjoyed watching the ceremony they had in the Rose Gardens to thank the military and Tower Hamlets volunteers.

I didn’t have any tickets to the Olympics but through sheer perseverance did manage to get some to the Paralympics where I saw Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock get their golds. I also shook Oscar Pistorius’ hand which was a highlight – so too was all the thanks the volunteers have had. Never, ever expected that.

Josephine (right) as Olympic Ambassador in The Mall

 

However, I hope the biggest highlight is yet to come – that London2012 can leave a legacy that endures and that it does indeed inspire generations be it in sport, volunteering or other areas.

Follow Josephine on Twittter @TheJosieBean

A virtual round of applause for Wapping’s Olympic stars

A huge thank you to Annette and Josephine for sharing their stories and pictures with us.

What’s in Wapping are so proud of them both and love that Wapping residents were watched by the world.

Tags:

  • Janine

    Well done ladies, the hard work certainly paid off!