Olympic-style opening ceremony planned for Great North Run

Geordie rock legend Mark Knopfler will perform at the Great North Run Million Opening Ceremony on September 4th, three days before the race itself. 1500 volunteer performers are wanted to take part in the show.

1500 performers wanted for Great North Run opening

Organisers of the Great North Run are recruiting for 1500 volunteers to perform at a special opening ceremony on the Newcastle and Gateshead quayside, three days before the race.

In 2014, the millionth runner to finish the run since it began in 1981 will cross the line. To celebrate, the opening ceremony will include music, dance, film projections onto the Sage Gateshead, a giant floating sculpture and pyrotechnics, to tell the history of the North East.

Great North Run
The One Millionth Ceremony will be three days before the Great North Run Credit: PA Wire

Organisers want 1500 performers to form a circle around the Quayside, performing at key moments during the show. No experience is required.

Volunteers - who must be aged 16 or older on 8th August - will be required to attend two weekend rehearsals in August, and be available from 2pm into the evening on Thursday 4th September.

The deadline for applications is 18th July. See the Great North Run website for details.

'Local Hero' Mark Knopfler to perform by the Tyne

Ex-Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler Credit: Bupa Great North Run

Geordie rock legend Mark Knopfler will perform at the Great North Run Million Opening Ceremony on Thursday 4 September. Organisers say a spectacular opening ceremony this year will herald the race which will see a millionth person complete the course.

This is believed to be a world first, and the milestone will be celebrated with an opening event which will feature live music, film and a dance performance, as well as star appearances, all held on the Newcastle-Gateshead Quayside.

Organisers say it will transform the River Tyne into an outdoor arena ahead of the Great North Run three days later.Mark Knopfler said: “I’m proud to have been a supporter of this great event from the beginning and am looking forward to being there to play ‘Local Hero’ "

Mark Knopfler is best known as the lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the global rock legends Dire Straits, who have sold over 120 million albums to date, and he was ranked number 27 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

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