STUFISH was delighted to collaborate with BALICH WORLDWIDE SHOWS on the 5th ASIAN INDOOR AND MARTIAL ARTS GAMES in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Developed over a period of two years, STUFISH worked closely with award winning director Francisco Negrin on a huge opening ceremony celebrating the ancient and diverse cultural history of the country of Turkmenistan. The ceremony was produced by BALICH WORLDWIDE SHOWS.

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Stufish was responsible for the overall staging concept and all of the main show elements. The design focus in the centre of the stadium was a suspended 30m diameter ring. This ring contained lighting, performer winches and catwalks. It was suspended 30m above the field of play by a complex set of catenary cables spanning the length and width of the venue. The grid supported flown scenery and performer rigging for acrobatics. The grid weighed 45000kg and required 1000s of metres of cable to keep it suspended in the air. Inside the central ring was a 30m diameter projection curtain that descended around the central lift area. This could rise and lower to reveal large scenic pieces that were deployed out of the 15m diameter, 30,000kg central stage lift. 6 further satellite stage lifts were located around the field of play to deploy additional scenic pieces and performers around the stadium.A series of performer tunnels connected the underground chambers and lifts to allow 1000s of cast members to make their entrance directly onto the field of play, and provide space to store and manage dozens of very large scenic pieces.

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The staging was designed for and constructed in a stadium that was purpose built for the Opening Ceremony

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The highlight of the show was the 18m high statue of the great warrior Oguz Han, which was revealed from behind a giant kabuki, then magically hidden behind a huge 30 metre tall woven cloth created live by aerial performers dropping from the central ring. Other large scenic set pieces included 22m high inflatable landmark buildings which recreated the City of Ashgabat on stage, fire breathing gas plants for a scene about energy, and an acrobatic moment that told the story of future atomic technology. The finale of the show revealed a 20m wide, 9m tall Turkmen fort which rose out of the ground and was scaled by a torch bearing horse and rider, to light the Olympic cauldron from its summit.

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Stufish‘s set was built by specialists from across the globe (including France, Italy, Canada, and the UK) Elements of the set travelled to Turkmenistan by sea and across Europe, through Istanbul and Turkey and into Iran. Articulated lorries hugged the coast of the Caspian Sea and eventually travelled through the border pass in the Kopet Dag Mountains south of Ashgabat. One 18m high statue alone required 5 articulated lorries to transit. 

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The show was the third largest stadium show ever staged, and required the construction of the largest ever underground chamber of any Olympic ceremony.

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Photo Copyright (left to right up and down): Nassos Triantafyllou, Adam Nurkiewicz, Lazaros Koukorikos, David Aliaga, Nikita Bassov, Konstantinos Tsakalidis from Laurel Photo Services, Courtesy of AIMAG Ashgabat 2017