Bad weather hits rehearsals for opening ceremony

Click to follow

With bad weather threatening to rain on the parade, organisers held the first dress rehearsal of the Paralympics opening ceremony last night – 24 hours earlier than scheduled.

As the countdown to Wednesday evening's performance draws closer, participants went through the complicated technical arrangements – involving hundreds of disabled performers and a special fly-past of impaired pilots – yesterday, thus avoiding the downpours scheduled for today.

Rehearsals will continue today, with rain forecast to last most of the morning and afternoon. More rain is expected on Wednesday, but there are hopes it could clear by the time the real thing kicks off at 8pm. The ceremony, entitled Enlightenment, will feature the Mercury Prize-winning singer P J Harvey performing alongside disabled artists who will premiere their music. Professor Stephen Hawking is also tipped to appear.

But the show's artistic directors, Bradley Hemmings and Jenny Sealey, have kept many of the details secret, insisting they intend to transform the perception of disabled people "in this country and beyond".