Stage One

Year 2022

Commonwealth Games 2022

Birmingham, UK

At the 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, RuPaul’s Drag Race star, Ginny Lemon, made a vibrant entrance when the performer was flown over the field of play in a lemon-shaped hot air balloon.

Rise like a soufflé

The lemon needed to inflate seamlessly as it was within sight of the stadium audience. We designed a wheeled launch dolly that would move into position. The balloon and basket had an on-board battery that powered the fans for inflation. The team meticulously designed this large scenic item to rapidly take on its lemon form, and, as the catenary system achieved the required tension, the dolly opened like a clamshell, releasing the rising basket, allowing it to be lifted to its final mark for the grand performance.

From basket base to the top of the rigging point, it measured 14 metres and took just two minutes to inflate from the initial power up. Our aerial operating system, Qmotion not only controlled the graceful entrance of the lemon amidst the well-choreographed chaos of the steampunk scene, it was also used for the aerialist performances, including the mask removal of the bull, acrobatic launches from the tower, and the orb that ascended above the tower.

The entrance of Ginny Lemon caused a stir on social media as the icon bellowed the catch phrase “fancy a slice” while floating over Alexander Stadium.


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