British Columbia

Casting call: 4,500 performers sought for Olympic ceremonies

Olympic organizers in Vancouver are looking for 4,500 dancers and performers and athletes to volunteer in the televised performances for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games next February.

Olympic organizers in Vancouver are looking for 4,500 dancers and performers and athletes to volunteer in the televised performances for the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games next February.

"We're looking for people with all types of performance skills and levels of ability who want to play a part in sharing Canada with the world," said David Guscott, the executive vice-president of celebrations and partnerships with the 2010 Olympic organizing committee, known as VANOC.

The ceremonies inside BC Place will be broadcast around the world and are intended to tell the story of Canada to an estimated television audience of 3.5 billion.

"Previous experience isn't a requirement, but taking quick action is. This is the one and only call for participation," he said.

VANOC is also looking for about 1,000 volunteers to help backstage at the ceremonies. Applications can be filed online at the VANOC website.

All performers must be 17 or older by May 1, 2009 to apply, although possible opportunities for performers younger than this are still being considered.

"Above all, we're looking for volunteers with lots of personality, a positive attitude, tons of energy, and a willingness to perform on a stage in front of thousands of people live and billions more around the globe."

Auditions will start in May and candidates will be notified this summer if they have been successful. Rehearsals will begin in November and continue until the Feb. 12 opening of the Games, including over the December holiday period.

Rehearsals will be held twice a week and each volunteer performer will rehearse for more than 100 hours to prepare for their role.

It will be the first time in Olympics history that the ceremonies will be staged at an indoor venue.

They are being produced by Australian David Atkins, who also produced the ceremonies for the Summer Games in Sydney in 2000.

The federal government is spending the $20 million to cover the majority of the cost.