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The technical rehearsals for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest are to begin today in Kyiv. This will be the first time that the competing songs will be performed on official Eurovision stage, complete with the proposed staging, lighting and camera shots put forward by the delegations.

Each year, prior to the arrival of the competing artists and delegations, technical rehearsals take place in the host country using stand-in performers. These technical rehearsals allow the crew and cameramen to test out camera angles, backdrops, and any other special effects and props. These rehearsals will provide the first glimpse of the final performances for the artists and delegations set to arrive in Kyiv in just over a week’s time, and give them a chance to make presentation changes before official rehearsals begin.

The technical rehearsals will also be the first performances to take place on the completed Eurovision stage. Yesterday evening (19th April), the official Ukrainian Eurovision twitter account, @esc_ua, posted pictures of the final stage. The stage design features one main stage, backed by an LED panel, as well as a secondary island stage among the audience. An island stage has not been seen at the Eurovision Song Contest since the 2013 contest in Malmö, which was connected to the main stage by a long curving catwalk.

The stage was designed by Florian Wieder of Wieder Design, one of four firms who bid to win the contract. Of the four bidders, two were Ukrainian firms and two were international firms. The decision to award the contract to Wieder Design was taken by the organising committee for next years contest. Wieder Design was established in 1995 and has to date created the stages for three editions of the Eurovision Song Contest. He created the stages for the 2011, 2012 and 2015 contests and has worked on projects such as X Factor in the United Kingdom and USA, as well as the Got Talent franchise.

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