Glaswegians will be the main voice of the opening ceremony

Commonwealth Games organisers have vowed to give Glaswegians the main voice in the opening ceremony as they welcome the world to their city.

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David Zolkwer, the Glasgow 2014 head of ceremonies, promised the Celtic Park event on Wednesday night would not merely be a spectacle but would speak directly to the rest of the world.

Zolkwer also claimed that the ceremony would both celebrate the diversity of Glasgow and what the city and Scotland have in common with the 70 other competing nations.

The personal touch is highlighted by the fact that each nation will be introduced to the crowd by a different citizen of Glasgow.

Zolkwer, who directed the 2002 ceremonies in his native Manchester, said: "We knew right from the start that the source of inspiration and the voice and character and personality of the ceremony had to reflect and explicitly include the people of the city.

"So that's why you will see a lot of Glaswegians and Scots and a lot of people from further afield and you will also hear them.

"We have a mass cast but we have set out to represent lots and lots of individuals. There is relatively little in the show that is about mass synchronicity.

"You will see lots of individuals encouraged to do their own thing, in a rehearsed and considered way. It's not about homogenising the city or asking them to pretend to be anything other than who they are."

Zolkwer also stressed that "generosity of spirit" and the idea of being the perfect host was a key aspect.

"Given Glasgow is such a generous, hospitable, warm city, it seemed natural to think about how we behave as a host," he said.

"So the ceremony is about all of us - being interested in the people we are inviting into our house and hearing their stories, and looking more at what we have in common than what differentiates us."

He added: "It's got humour, warmth, celebrating what we have in common. Having said all that, it will always feel like it was created in Glasgow.

"So although we are telling a universal story, we are telling it with a distinctly Glaswegian accent, which means we are going to be irreverent, funny, principled, sincere, inclusive, personal, direct. We are talking down the lens, we are not asking the world to watch a show."

This idea is further developed in the partnership with children's charity UNICEF, which will see several Scottish doctors, who recently visited Malawi, launch an appeal to the estimated one billion viewers.

"I think it's a fantastic, phenomenal story that Glasgow has said this doesn't have to be all about us," said Zolkwer.

"It's an opportunity to talk down the lens to people sitting all over the world and ask that we all come together to do something that makes a difference to hopefully hundreds of thousands of children's lives."

Organisers have previously revealed that the likes of Rod Stewart, Susan Boyle and violinist Nicola Benedetti would perform, but they were forced to shelve plans to screen the demolition of five of the tower blocks in the Red Road flats complex in north Glasgow following protests that it was inappropriate and unfair on the residents in the sixth block.

Zolkwer said: "Obviously the proposition for Red Road mattered to us. The reality is it would have lasted six or seven seconds in a show that's running around two hours. It would never have had a fundamental impact.

"We always knew it was a fragile proposition that could have to be shelved for a number of reasons - operational, weather, lots of reasons - so we always had a plan B."

Glasgow 2014 board member Bridget McConnell added: "What has been lost in the publicity around it, was that it wasn't just a theatrical stunt. It was a hugely respectful, deep and rich story about people from that part of Glasgow.

"Museum curators and artists have been working in the community, not just to tell their story, but to create an exhibition and be part of that event. That richness is still in the story."

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