Why Ceremony is a waste of time

I’m
writing this the day after watching the Opening Ceremony for the Winter
Olympics. I know many people worked hard to make it an almost flawless
performance involving thousands of performers and complex technology.
They did a great job, but why?

First,
I have to admire the people who create these spectacles. Finding the
themes and drilling the foot soldier performers and using the vast
stadia is something I would find hard to do. Which is probably why I’ve
never been asked.

It
reminded me of a school, or amateur dramatic production. Not because
the performances were below par, quite the opposite, but because there
was a need to get as many bodies as possible to fill the stage whenever
possible. At one point an exquisite ballerina from the Bolshoi Ballet
was performing … surrounded by 800 fellow performers. All in fabulous
costumes with carefully rehearsed lighting and specially recorded music.
I’m sure she would have looked stunning on stage, but in an athletics
stadium shot by a camera 500 metres away with a sports commentator
reading the prepared notes by a government propagandist? Even Putin
looked bored. Or does he look like that all the time?

There are parallels in the events we all produce, and lessons we can learn.

Anything
with the word ‘ceremony’ attached needs to be treated carefully. Yes
there are anthropological reasons why we need ceremonies in our life,
when we mark those beginnings, endings and achievements but keep it
short.

The
Olympic events – not just this one – veer between those ceremonial
moments and pieces of theatrical presentation. To my mind they are
doomed. The ceremonial is too long, the theatrical is in the wrong venue
and it all costs far too much.

If
any of your events contain an element you can be described as
ceremonial, then treat it very carefully. It’s very important, but it
does not drive the whole thing. Make it short but impactful and then get
on with the business of the day. In the right venue.

Any comments? Email: jdavis@mashmedia.net

ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

ConferenceNews Guest Author

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ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

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