London based event production company DesignScene delivered glitz, glamour, imagination and excitement - including the full creative concept, technical production and the sourcing of artists and performers - for STARSTRUCK, the 2010 Superdrug charity fundraising event, modelled on an X-Factor/Brit Awards/Best of British theme, including a full 'pop star' talent competition.
The event took place on Saturday at London's Grosvenor House Ballroom. It was attended by 700 top Superdrug personnel and suppliers and raised approx £200,000 - 250,000 for 3 charities - Cancer Research UK, Childline and the Teenage Cancer Trust.
DesignScene was working in conjunction with CL Events, who took care of all the administration, sponsorship deals and selling elements.
The event was presented by Justin Lee Collins. It included a full sit down dinner and live auction, with a silent auction running throughout the evening, all punctuated with a lively mix of music, dance and entertainment plus the STARSTRUCK talent competition.
STARSTRUCK was open to Superdrug head office staff and selected suppliers. The hopefuls initially recorded their audition pieces in a video booth at Superdrug's HQ in Croydon from which the 6 finalists were selected out of a plethora of entries.
DesignScene recruited top sessions musicians, the All Stars Collective as the house band for the night, and sourced dancers and a leading chorographer, who produced some spectacular bespoke production numbers that featured prominently throughout the evening's entertainment.
The talent show finalists were each given 10 hours professional coaching - singing, dancing movement, stage presence - before making their appearances on stage, backed by the house band and accompanied by the dancers.
They were voted on by the attendees, which proved another lateral approach to stimulating audience participation and simultaneously raising the stakes for the charities.
The production design was created by DesignScene's Attila Keskin, who also co-ordinated the technical production - including lighting, sound, AV, rigging and draping for which DesignScene asked several regular and prominent companies onboard as technical partners.
One of several challenges was the extremely tight timeframe for all the equipment to be got into the venue and rigged, with a half day pre-rigging day and then a full day which went straight into the show.
The room design featured an end-on stage - inspired by a recent MTV Europe Awards events - an unusual configuration for the Grosvenor Ballroom, where the side on stage is more commonly used. Concept Staging from Manchester installed a T-shaped stage, with a catwalk coming out from the centre front to bring the action right out into the audience. This was also to introduce hints of fashion and glamour to the process in keeping with the Superdrug brand image as fashion conscious beauty retailers. For the after-party, this also became part of the dancefloor.
Safe Sets provided the high gloss finish stage floor covering and also made up graphics boards which were distributed around the venue, displaying information, sponsors logos, etc.
Lighting equipment was supplied by Essential. The rig had to be flexible and dynamic to provide plenty of variety and to light the different sections of the evening appropriately. A trussing grid was installed over the stage matching the shape of the stage and catwalk, which was rigged with an assortment of fixtures. Onstage, there were 4 vertical trusses behind an 85 panel PIXLED F25 LED semi-transparent screen onstage, with another 2 trussing columns onstage.
The vertical trusses were loaded with 2-lites and Atomic strobes with colour changers. Having these upstage of the screen allowed light to be blasted through so the screen disappeared, introducing a totally new dimension, look and feel of the space, and also enlarging it considerably. When not on, the lighting and metalwork was completely concealed.
The moving lights were 17 Vari*Lite 6Cs and 17 V*L5s, hung all over the trussing grid and above the catwalk. Eight PixelPARs were used for room uplighting, and 24 ChromaQ ColorBlock dB4s were positioned along both edges of the runway.
There were a total of 20 Atomic Colour strobes and 30 2-lites including those on the behind-screen trusses, with 16 Source Four profiles that were used for key lighting performers and band. Twenty Four source Four PARs were used for up-lighting the drapes around the venue, smoke was provided by 2 x DF50 machines, and the lighting picture was completed with 2 Stark long throw follow spots.
All of this was operated by Alex Passmore using a grandMA full size console.
XL Video supplied a 3 camera PPU and the screens, including the already mentioned PIXLED F25 LED backing the stage, which was a major element of the design. Keskin selected it specifically because he wanted a transparent screen through which they could do special lighting effects.
Content - graphics, ambient footage, etc - was stored on a Catalyst media server and output to the F25 screen, and the side screens - fed by 2 Panasonic 12k projectors also received this footage, together with an IMAG mix directed by Paul "Eggy" Eggerton.
Britannia Row installed an Outline Butterfly sound system, consisting of 4 hangs - left & right and two half way down the room on the chandelier points - each comprising 5 Outline boxes and one Mantis cabinet with 120 degree dispersion Eight Outline Subtech 218 subs were ground stacked at the front of the stage, and for nearfield fills there were 2 Butterflies on top of the subs and Turbosound 440s which were used for the aftershow.
FOH was mixed by Nick Maddren, using a Yamaha PM5D console, and monitor engineer Chris Beddal utilised another PM5D. The stage Monitors were a mix of 6 channels of Sennheiser G2 IEMs and 10 Turbosound 450 wedges. The Butterfly system was driven by Powersoft T9 amps and Yamaha Turbo TSNs were used for the 440 fills.
A full mics and stands package included Sennheiser 5200 systems for the presenters and Sennheiser SKM 500s for the guest vocalists and contestants.
To top the evening, DesignScene asked renowned pop music club phenomenon Guilty Pleasures to provide the after show party, getting everyone moving and grooving, bringing a memorable evening to a lively and fun conclusion.
DesignScene had special removable handrails fabricated for the catwalk that were put in place for the VIP reception in the Ballroom at the start of the evening, removed for the show and then reinstated for the after-party when the runway became part of the dancefloor.
DesignScene's Ben Turner comments,
“What a fantastic event! Raising such a large amount of money in one night is great! Thorough preplanning meant everything ran very smoothly on the night. When the client says it was the 'best yet', it makes all the hard work worthwhile!"
For more press info on DesignScene please contact Louise Stickland on +44 (0)1865 202679 or +44 (0)7831 329888 or Email [email protected]'. To contact DesignScene direct, call +44 208 752 8290or check www.designscene.co.uk