Dazzling Drapes supplied at Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Diamond Anniversary Gala
Our director Kevin Monks and his 8-strong team were called upon to help transform the iconic 5* Stoke Parks’ indoor tennis courts into an entertainment venue fit to host glittering performances from Sir Tom Jones and Laura Mvula. With a complex build in a challenging indoor venue with limited roof loading capabilities, we designed and supplied a James Thomas ground supported super truss grid for over the stage plus an additional truss goalpost for hanging the upstage LED screen supplied by PRG XL. The truss grid also provided support to lighting from PRG XL and sound equipment supplied by Britannia Row.
Our team supplied and installed over 50 motors and truss from which to lift and hang stage lighting, set elements and speakers, working alongside the acclaimed production designer Nicoline Refsing of Rockart Design, who has previously delivered iconic stage designs for major events such as The BRIT Awards, League of Legends Worlds 2015 and creative direction for Eurovision. From the beginning, Refsing worked closely with Kevin to incorporate his rigging advice into the design and came up with a radiating pattern of swagged organza drapes.
Working with Refsing’s golden colour palette, together they sourced the exact fabric with a special shine that would create the right lighting effect and ambiance in the room. Refsing also created sculptural designs of classic Bond girl dresses that Kevin and his team provided some intricate rigging for, to create a stunning affect as they were suspended in the air above black glitter plinths.
Kevin Monks explains: “A core component to our install was a modular roller screen, provided by Harkness Screens, on which a charity film was shown, raising to reveal performing acts and allow event organisers to hide stage changeovers throughout the show. We also installed an upstage track from which a purple festoon curtain was hung, to provide a movable back drop for additional reveal moments throughout the show.
“The team worked closely with Sven Pederson and Tony Fagan to ensure the design was kept within the limited weight loading restrictions, overseen by engineers’ CampbellReith’s. It was paramount that our own kits’ weight was kept to a minimum to allow flexibility for the addition of extra set elements. As a result, we utilised our 500kgs Liftkets which have a lower self weight than other available hoists, plus our newly increased stock of Prostars 250kgs hoists.”
“It was a pleasure to work for Jeremy Hartley and his event production team once again, our paths having crossed at other events such as Cartier International Polo Day. The hard work of the Blackout team during the week-long install ensured that we remained on track to meet the tight schedules required by the team.”
Jeremy Hartley, Commercial Director of Entertainment Industries stated, “It was a huge honour to be asked to produce this event on behalf of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the Bond team. From the outset it was clear that only the best of the best would do when it came to assembling the production team; due to my previous work with Blackout, Kevin was the first to get a phone call – after which the wider team quickly fell into place. The support for The Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award from Blackout and all production suppliers has been nothing short of incredible.”
Nicoline Refsing, Founder and creative force behind Rockart Design added “It was a great privilege to work with Kevin and Chris from Blackout and the whole The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award team. I wanted to create a strong design concept and a unique look to the event, away from run-of-the-mill corporate functions. Working with The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award brand, my aim was to create a total experience which would incorporate all elements of the event into one design, but also work with the unique features of the venue. In keeping with the award itself which shines a light on individuals, I created window projections to transform the atmosphere of the room. Although the rigging was challenging, Kevin and his team did an exceptional job bringing my ideas to life. When Blackout is on the job, it makes me comfortable knowing it will always look good and they will go out of their way to make even last minute changes look fantastic. It has been a great partnership which has seen Kevin, Chris and myself collaborate together to deliver many spectacular shows over the years. Even from my early work with Stufish as a team doing the MTV EMAs, the BRIT Awards, the National Television Awards and Pink’s Fun House tour, Blackout has always delivered outstanding results.”
This one-off ‘star studded’ gala evening saw HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, and Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex in attendance, with funds raised to support the Duke of Edinburgh’s charity, to help inspire and empower young people from diverse communities across the UK. Guests enjoyed a sumptuous three course dinner, raffle and auction with lots including luxury trips, exclusive James Bond memorabilia and money-can’t-buy experiences.