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Published on: Thursday July 21, 2022

Nearly 200 members of Critical Mass will perform in the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony in 1 weeks time!

With rehearsals well underway having moved to the Alexander Stadium from Longbridge, there is just 1 week to go until the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony takes place. Featuring theatre, music, dance and a massive array of performers – the event is set to be one of the biggest and most spectacular events in Birmingham’s history. It will turn the spotlight on the city and its people, as well as highlighting West Midlands talent and diversity, in a way that’s never been done before.

Bidf Sense Dress Run Graeme Braidwood Photography

Nearly 200 participants in the event will be from inclusive dance collective Critical Mass, who have already performed in the Birmingham 2022 Festival opening event Wondrous Stories, and who opened this year’s Birmingham International Dance Festival. For the opening ceremony they will perform alongside professional dancers from Birmingham Royal Ballet, wheelchair dance group Freewheelin Dance Company and students from Elmhurst Ballet School, amongst a cast of thousands.

Critical Mass exemplifies the inclusive nature of the Games with a fully integrated cast of D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled people performing together and representing the ethnic/cultural diversity of the West Midlands region.



The creative team leading the event also includes Executive Producer (and Peaky Blinders creator) Steven Knight, writer Maeve Clarke, Musical Director Joshua ‘RTKal’ Holness and Artistic Director Iqbal Khan.

Although specific details of the Opening Ceremony are being kept under wraps, it will be performed in front of 35,000 spectators and will also reach a global television audience of around one billion. Tickets for the Opening Ceremony are still available at It will be broadcast on BBC 1 from 8pm on 28 July and available on demand on iPlayer.

Critical Mass has already had such a positive impact on the lives of its participants, with some members performing in different sections of the event, and many speaking out about the impact it has had on their confidence and wellbeing.

As a deaf person I never thought that dance would be something that I would be good at. Having been part of Critical Mass I’ve been inspired by everybody – the dance leaders, choreographers, participants – to just go out there and do it!

Critical Mass Participant, Sarah


Critical Mass’s involvement in the Birmingham 2022 Festival does not end here either – they will perform celebratory highlights from previous shows at the Smithfield Festival Site on 7 August presented by Birmingham International Dance Festival.

This initiative is so important to the legacy that the festival aspires to. Critical Mass has had a huge impact on the way that a mass scale performance like the Opening Ceremony is pulled together, creatively and operationally. And the learnings from this year-long project will go on to become a blueprint for access and inclusion in future mass events..

Critical Mass was made possible thanks to generous funding by the Spirit of 2012 charity, to encourage the legacy of London 2012.  It builds on the strong foundation which dance already has in the West Midlands, working with lead delivery partner DanceXchange and in collaboration with Arts Connect and Dance Development Leaders Group (DDLG).