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London Olympics Rehearsal Facility

Project - London Olympics Rehearsal Facility

Client - LOCOG - Location - Dagenham, Essex, UK - Year - 2012

Built to provide a 'top secret' (according to the London Evening Standard newspaper) facility to rehears the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics, this 4,000 square metre (43,000 square foot) structure provided the perfect assembly area away from prying eyes. There was world wide praise for the opening ceremony.

The Independant Newspaper
Big top secret: 2012 Olympic opening ceremony is taking shape in a closely guarded tent
At the Dagenham Ford plant, rehearsals are under way for the showcase. The traffic streaming down the A13 can hardly miss it: a giant blue-and-yellow big top slap bang in the middle of the old Ford factory at Dagenham, east London. But this, in fact, is the world's most top-secret circus. Police and security guards have been swarming around it like bees since it appeared almost overnight two weeks ago, much to the surprise of local residents, who have not had much to twitch the net curtains over since the last British-built Ford Fiesta drove out the front gates almost a decade ago.

It is under these stripy spires that the Greatest Show on Earth (copyright Seb Coe) is about to take shape. The first full-scale rehearsals for Danny Boyle's Olympics Opening Ceremony are soon to begin. Extra security has been hired to keep away prying eyes and long-lens photographers, but so well-kept was the secret none have turned up.

"I didn't know they were doing the opening ceremony in there," said one female resident of nearby Sierra Drive, separated from the magic by a busy road and a barbed-wire fence.