Porirua presence in opening ceremony
A proud Porirua boy played a part in the Olympic Games’ extravagant opening ceremony on Saturday morning.
Jules Gibbs, a marketing manager for an insurance company in London, auditioned to be part of the ceremony last October.
The former Rangikura School pupil and Bishop Viard head boy said getting the nod, and being part of 30 rehearsals and 200 hours’ practice, was unforgettable.
‘‘Being involved in such an amazing event and rubbing shoulders with the likes of [creative director and Oscar-winner] Danny Boyle has probably been the greatest experience of my life.’’
The event was seen by an estimated two billion people – no pressure then.
‘‘The whole of Britain waited with anxiety, which was felt by all the cast. I’m sure this [was] one of the truly great opening ceremonies.’’
After initial auditions and then a callback at a film studio in East London, Mr Gibbs was cast in the Industrial Revolution segment, which was in the first 20 minutes.
He says he has given up every weekend since the start of May and taken time off work in the last fortnight, to attend rehearsals.
This has involved 10-hour days, often in the cold and wind of Britain’s worst summer in recent memory.
‘‘But the reward has been worth it. The sheer joy I have felt at the two technical and dress rehearsals, both with crowds exceeding 50,000, has been incredible.’’
Proud dad Dennis Gibbs says he and wife Dot were only told last week what part Jules would have in the ceremony. He was very proud and excited to get the news and knew they would have plenty to talk about when Jules next comes home to Papakowhai in October.
‘‘He’s a keen Porirua boy. He has a T-shirt that says ‘Rome, London, New York, Porirua’, so it’s great we have a link to the Olympics like this.’’
He says Jules has plenty of acting experience, from performances at college and Tawa Little Theatre, and had three roles in West End play Teechers recently. He is a member of the Royal Bank of Scotland Theatre Group.
Olympics link: Jules Gibbs, who still has strong ties to Porirua, outside the Olympic Stadium.