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VANOC adds top creative talent to team orchestrating the magic of the Opening, Closing and nightly Victory Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games; volunteer performers still needed

Apr 7, 2009

Vancouver, BC – As recruitment of volunteer performers continues, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) is ramping up the creative team behind the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games Opening, Closing and nightly Victory Ceremonies by adding superlative Canadian and international stars to the mix. The team includes the Canadian brothers behind Dsquared2 who have created lavish, over-the-top costumes for Madonna and Britney Spears, a composer fit for the Queen and the sound designer who has mixed for both The King of Rock `n’ Roll and The Boss.

They are just a few of the standouts among the 17 members — the majority of whom are Canadian – announced today by VANOC. A list, including short biographies, follows.

Under the direction of executive producer and co-artistic director David Atkins and Ignatius Jones, director, ceremonies strategy and co-artistic director, the creative team will deliver on the creative vision for the ceremonies, create mass choreography for the 4,500 volunteer performers, design lighting and audio systems, select composers and musical arrangements, design sets, costumes and props, and identify headline talent. The team will also be responsible for the nightly Victory Ceremonies happening at BC Place, where top Canadian musical acts will rev up athletes and spectators. Their work will build on the planning started in 2007 by the initial creative team.

“The expectations for David Atkins and the ceremonies’ creative team are monumental. They are tasked with creating life long memories — from the iconic Opening and Closing Ceremonies to those golden moments that celebrate the athletes’ achievements,” said John Furlong, VANOC Chief Executive Officer. “Their work will be watched live by thousands at BC Place and billions worldwide on television — and this team has both the talent and experience to meet that challenge. They will embrace our country’s rich culture and innovative spirit, while revealing our incredible wealth of Canadian talent to the world.”

“For the last 12 months, our creative process for the ceremonies has been underway but as we move from the concept stage to the hands-on work, we’ve sought out exceptionally talented people who know how to take big ideas and breathe life into them,” added David Guscott, executive vice president, ceremonies and celebrations. “As we get closer to the Games, the team will be expanded even further.”

David Atkins acknowledged the calibre of the creative team, saying, “This world-class team is filled with artists who know how to wow audiences at international events and are leaders in their fields, from creating magical scores to designing opulent costumes and intricate footwork. Ceremonies volunteers are going to be working with the best; this is a true opportunity of a lifetime.”

Atkins pointed out that volunteer ceremonies applications are still being sought and he encouraged enthusiastic potential performers to apply online at Previous experience is not a requirement for the performers, dancers and athletes of all types and skills needed to stage the productions. Volunteer performers must be 17 or older to apply; there is no upper age limit. Auditions start May 1.  

“I’m proud that the Government of Canada is supporting the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games,” said the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of State (Sport). “The Opening Ceremony offers a unique opportunity to showcase Canadian excellence and innovation to the world, while celebrating our culture and traditions.”

The ceremonies’ creative team members announced today are:

Choreography Director: Jean Grand-Maître

Quebec-born Jean Grand-Maître has been artistic director of Alberta Ballet since 2002. He has collaborated with dance companies around the world, as well as acrobats and circus performers for musicals, operas, television, film and large outdoor events. He lives in Calgary, Alberta.

Design Director: Douglas Paraschuk

Over the last three decades, Douglas Paraschuk of Stratford, Ontario has designed over 100 regional theatre productions across Canada, including spending 21 seasons with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. In 2006, Paraschuk was part of the ceremonies design team for the 15th Asian Games in Doha, Qatar.

Music Director: Dave Pierce

David Pierce’s extensive credits include musical theatre, sporting and cultural events, commercial recordings and live mega spectacles. A resident of Calgary, Alberta, Pierce has adapted scores for several hit Broadway national tours and was recently commissioned to compose a new work for Queen Elizabeth II.

Headline Talent Costume Designers: Dsquared2

Dean and Dan Caten, Canadian twin brothers originally from Toronto, Ontario, have worked in the high-end fashion industry since moving to Europe in 1991. They are known for their playful, sexy clothing for men and women and for staging theatrical runway shows. They were selected to design the official uniforms for football team Juventus, and their designs have been worn by Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Usher and most recently Britney Spears for her comeback Circus tour.

Designer: Leslie Frankish

Leslie Frankish of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, has designed over 130 Canadian theatrical productions for companies including the Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage Company and Citadel Theatre.

Designer: Anne-Séguin Poirier

A set and costume designer based in Saint-Lambert, Quebec, Anne-Séguin Poirier is currently working on set design and props for a new Cirque du Soleil production to open in Los Angeles in 2010.

Designer: Connie Watts

Connie Watts of West Vancouver, British Columbia, is an Aboriginal mixed media artist who has shown her artwork across North America. She is currently project manager of the Vancouver 2010 Venues’ Aboriginal Art Program for the 2010 Winter Games.

Design Coordinator: John Powell

A member of the Mamalilikulla band of the Kwak’wala-speaking Nation, John Powell is primarily a designer working in fashion, costume, and interior and graphic design. Some of his more recent projects include costumes for the Vancouver Opera’s The Magic Flute, Firehall Arts Centre’s The Ecstasy of Rita Joe and the Chinese/Aboriginal drum video for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Designer: Kevin McAllister

Kevin McAllister of Vancouver, British Columbia, designs scenery, lighting and costumes for theatre and opera. His portfolio includes work with the Canadian Opera Company and Vancouver Opera.

Choreography Associate Director: Marlise McCormick

Marlise McCormick’s international career began at Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal and has taken her throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East. She has worked as a designer, director or choreographer for large-scale ceremonial events including the 1994 Commonwealth Games. Marlise splits her time between Vancouver and Europe.

Head of Audiovisual: Cyril Meusy

Cyril Meusy has worked on projects for Vivendi games as well as the media show for the British Columbia Canada Pavilion at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Meusy specializes in 3-D visualization, art direction and motion graphics. He lives in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Lighting Director: Bob Dickinson

Bob Dickinson has won 16 Emmy Awards in his three-decade career in lighting design and has more than 1,500 on-screen television credits including the 1996, 2002 and 2004 Olympic Games, the annual Academy Awards show and nine Super Bowl halftime shows.

Audio Director: Bruce Jackson

As sound designer and house sound engineer for Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand, Bruce Jackson has revolutionized stadium sound. The resident of Culver City, California founded leading audio companies such as JANDS Electronics in the 1960s as well as Apogee Electronics. He is currently a vice-president at Dolby Laboratories.

Headline Talent Producer: Samuel Leon Feldman 

Through two different companies, Sam Feldman represents more than 175 musical artists such as Nelly Furtado, Rush, Joni Mitchell and Elvis Costello. Feldman is also a partner in The Characters Talent Agency, representing Canadian actors such as Molly Parker and Ryan Reynolds.       

Headline Talent Producer: Dan Fraser

Dan Fraser is the president and co-founder of Nettwerk Management, an international recording artist management company based in Vancouver. He manages the touring careers of artists such as Sarah McLachlan and the Barenaked Ladies.

Headline Talent Producer: Bruce Allen

For more than 35 years, Bruce Allen has guided the careers of musicians, producers and sports figures in the Canadian entertainment industry. His current roster of talent includes Bryan Adams, Martina McBride, Anne Murray and Michael Bublé.


VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit

The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies as well as many of the nightly Victory Ceremonies will take place in Vancouver’s 55,000-seat BC Place — the first time in Olympic history the ceremonies will be staged in the comfort of an indoor venue.


Government of Canada
The Government of Canada is providing $20 million in support of the Opening Ceremony for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games that will showcase Canada’s capacity for excellence, and reflect Canada’s diversity, Aboriginal participation, and linguistic duality.

VANOC Communications