Stage One

Year 2024

AFC Asian Cup 2023 Opening Ceremony

Katara Studios
Image Meng Gao / Alamy Stock Photo
Image Meng Gao / Alamy Stock Photo
Image Xinhua / Alamy Stock Photo
Image Xinhua / Alamy Stock Photo
Image Xinhua / Alamy Stock Photo
Image Xinhua / Alamy Stock Photo

Friday 12 January saw the culmination of six months work delivered in just 25 minutes of show. Working for Katara Studios under the guidance of Technical Director Shannon Gobell we delivered the aerial, automation and stage engineering packages for the Opening Ceremony of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup at the Lusail Stadium in Doha.

This competition was the 18th edition of the Asian Cup, a football tournament involving 24 national teams, organised by the Asian Football Confederation. The 2023 competition was originally scheduled to be held in China, and the move to Qatar resulted in the bumping of the tournament into 2024.

Stage One began their involvement in early summer 2023 with a piece of technical consultancy that provided a feasibility study and proposed methodologies for the creative concept designed by Sila Sveta. Our internal engineering was supported by input from Rasti Bartek, who helped us with the structural engineering of the stadium steelwork that our aerial system connected back to.

We then manufactured five 12.5 m tall mirrors to take LED tiles for video content. These mirrors had exquisite geometry and were things of beauty crafted with skill and care in our metal shop. The form of their upper surface was achieved using clever application of an inflatable skin. Additionally, we created a central stage unit that rolled onto the field of play on pneumatic tyres to help protect the playing surface. Each mirror had a hydraulic actuated heel that allowed it to raise up to the stage level.

On site activity began with the installation of a 10 line radial cable net, which was joined at a central hub. We provided a 21 m Ø circular lighting truss that was suspended from this. The cable net also provided the support for the lifting of the five off, two tonne mirrors that were hoisted into the roof of the stadium after the ceremony, ahead of the opening match. Additional automation was provided to move a scenic sun that traversed the field of play in an arc, simulating sunrise and sunset. A total of 22 axes of automation were delivered, all controlled beautifully using our Qmotion automation system.

Critical to the whole process was working around a key stadium asset that was the pitch itself. Ensuring proper protection of the playing surface meant that we had to work with the stadium to accommodate the complex processes associated with fertilisation, grow lights and mowing. We are no strangers to this process having worked on the World Cup Opening Ceremony in 2022, however, it does require close collaboration with a large number of stakeholders.

The show was broadcast to the world. It was a visual treat and another great success for Stage One in the GCC region.


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