Among the 2000+ volunteers selected to take part in the Commonwealth Games opening and closing ceremony performances, one of them is our very own Clinical Psychologist, Aswathy Das a.k.a Ash. 

Ash is one of many volunteers taking part in the opening ceremony dance performance, which will showcase the regions rich diversity. She has been urged to keep details secret not to spoil the surprise but agreed to speak to our comms team about her experience. 

Ash has been with the Trust since 2020, and works on Meadow Ward. She has always loved dancing, but had to give it up in childhood to focus on her education.

Last year as a hobby she began training in Bharathanatyam, a classical form of south Indian dance. 

Fast forward to 2022, and Ash is now preparing to perform in front of a live audience of 30,000 and global broadcast audience of 1.5 billion.  

She stated, "I never imagined performing on TV, but the thought of such a huge audience has made me very excited.

Birmingham 2022 advertised for auditions in March, which I attended without even knowing what I was getting myself into. Since there were a lot of people auditioning, I was surprised when I received an email in April saying I'd been selected.

In the beginning, I felt very excited, but it required intense training every week. It required long travel times from Penn to Longbridge on days when I was working, so I wasn't sure how I would prepare.

Ann Detheridge (my supervisor) really encouraged me and said it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I should seize. My line manager Rachel Martin, Clinical supervisor Gemma Fisher and colleague Wemi Agboaye encouraged me to pursue this opportunity and allowed me to work flexibly during rehearsals days. I would like to thank all my colleagues and staff at Meadow ward for the support, which made me to pursue the opportunity. Also my Husband and family supported and encouraged me through this hectic schedule. 

At rehearsals, there is a lot of excitement and optimism, people are really looking forward to it. I have spent over 100 hours preparing for this moment and even some of family are coming over from India to watch the opening ceremony live.

Right now, I am very excited. It's a huge opportunity to be part of Birmingham 2022 and a memorable experience for all involved” said Aswathy Das.

The Commonwealth Games opening ceremony will be televised on BBC One and iPlayer from 7pm till 10.30pm on Thursday 28 July.