Birmingham Bull: Star of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

Here’s what Birmingham’s most iconic animal -the bull in robot form - represented in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on Thursday.

The raging robotic animal, 10 metres high and build in the heart of Birmingham over a five-month duration

The raging robotic animal, 10 metres high and build in the heart of Birmingham over a five-month duration | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Here’s what Birmingham’s most iconic animal -the bull in robot form - represented in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on Thursday.

One of the standout features of a compelling journey through Birmingham’s history as part of the opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games was not athletes or dancers, but a humongous bull.

The raging robotic animal, 10 metres high and build in the heart of Birmingham over a five-month duration, epitomised some of the more problematic parts of the city’s history.

Follow the live action here: Commonwealth Games 2022 Live Updates, Day 1

Here’s what Birmingham’s most iconic animal represented in the opening ceremony, in robot form:

The bull was introduced to spectators at the Alexander Stadium by female chain makers, pulling the bull along into the centre of the arena. This was a reference to working conditions in the 19th Century, where some women would work long hours in uncomfortably hot outhouses for peanuts to make small chains.

The bull is armoured, with names and phrases adoring the head armour in particular. Meant to serve as a metaphor for the spirit of the city, the animatronic seemed triggered (literal smoke coming out of its nostrils) when community disharmony and painful working conditions were played out by the dance troupe.

The Raging Bull

The Raging Bull | Photo Credit: Getty Images

The frenetic energy passes on to the women too who eventually break the chains, symbolic of redemption for the working class back in the day and more specifically, the abolition of slavery and the 1901 minimum wage strike which was crucial point in the nation’s history for women.

The bull, enraged and disturbed, appears to break into the crowd but Stella and the Dreamers (the lead performer of the dance troupe who seem to symbolise Birmingham’s march towards betterment in society) calm the bull down in an act of compassion.

The bull is not done though. Birmingham’s struggle with communal and cultural harmony. The bull is shone to increasingly be enraged by the discord in society and its lack of ability to sort out differences and look out for each other. So much so, the bull is shown to slump crestfallen and also cry tears of blood. The Dreamers then call for reflection and transformation as they seek to pacify the bull, read Birmingham, once more. .

The performance makes way for healing too as the bull’s armour is lifted away, as if to suggest his (the city’s) baggage dissolving.

Throughout their sequences, the Dreamers carry shards of light which come together at the end of the ceremony. Stella (who leads the Dreamers), collects them together to form a disco ball which lights the arena up, wowing even the bull - as if to herald a brighter tomorrow for a city united.

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