Rugby began thanks to an unconventional gesture: that of William Webb Ellis, a student who took the ball in his hands while playing football in 1823 and crossed the field with it, breaking the rules of the game at the time.
The creative team behind the Opening Ceremony of Rugby World Cup 2023 have chosen to follow in this path, moving away from the usual ceremony standards, as to tell a story that goes back to the roots of French culture. Led by Jean Dujardin (actor and co-writer of this ceremony), some thirty individuals who embody France’s culture, as well as its art of living, recognised throughout the world, will take part.
These guests of honour, who come from the worlds of film, music, dance, urban culture, but also gastronomy and craftsmanship, will be at the heart of this Opening Ceremony. They will take the 80,000 fans at the Stade de France and millions of TV viewers on a poetic and colorful journey, through a story of romance and brotherhood.
A HOST OF CELEBRITIES, 44 PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS, 240 VOLUNTEERS
The cast will be accompanied by 44 professional artists - dancers and acrobats - and 240 volunteers. The story they will tell, in the spirit of film-maker Jacques Tati, is as much a tribute to rugby as it is to the values that go with it, an ode to what makes France a unique place.
The show’s choreography is by Grichka Caruge, first assistant director, choreographer but also performer in the show. Acrobatics are directed by Vivien Loulou and costumes for all the participants were designed by Lili Kendaka.
Designed by Jean Dujardin (co-writer and male lead), Olivier Ferracci (co-writer, designer and director) and Nora Matthey de l'Endroit (co-writer, artistic director and director), this Opening Ceremony has been conceived as an elegant and colourful fresco. It's a show that reflects who we are and what brings us together, with an emphasis on humour and self-deprecation, before kicking off Rugby World Cup 2023.
THE OPENING CEREMONY CAST
Main actors: Jean Dujardin, Grichka Caruge, Alice Renavand, Philippe Lacheau, Vianney, Adriana Karembeu, Eric Massot.
Guests: Yves Camdeborde, Juan Arbelaez, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Pierre Augé, Maïtena Biraben, Matthieu Bisquey, Bertrand Bluy, Christelle Brua, Julien Camdeborde, Pascal Campourcy, Amandine Chaignot, Christian Constant, Lenaïg Corson, Ramuntxo Courdé, Bruno Doucet, Julien Duboué, Joël Dupuch, Christian Etchebest, Jean-Pierre Genet, Pierre Hermé, Charlotte Langrand, Mathieu Mandard, Sébastien Pradal, Eric Ospital, Jean-Michel Sanles, Guy Savoy, Charlotte Sénat, Patrick Serrière, Marc Tournier, Thierry Wasser.
The performers: Zaz, Vincent Peirani.