Flying With The Royal International Air Tattoo

Flying With The Royal International Air Tattoo

S+H Technical Services supplied over 2000 square metres of their classic Pea-light starcloth and a rigging crew to Chinnick Theatre Services (CTS), which was used to wrap a special event space at the 2015 Royal International Air Tattoo staged at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, UK.

CTS supplied full technical production for the event area created in one of the aircraft hangers. This was draped off and used to present a high profile gala dinner on the Friday evening and an after-show party for RIAT staff and behind-the-scenes workers on the Sunday.

RIAT is one of the UK’s premier events and is the largest military air shows in the world. It is geared to offering a great family day amidst all the drama, spectacle and adrenalized fun of a 7.5 hour flying display featuring a plethora of different aircraft.

CTS has been involved with supplying production for specific areas of RIAT since 1987. The gala dinner - now for 660 invited guests, including a host of dignitaries and VIPs – was first staged in hangar D4 at RAF Wroughton in 1993, and became an annual event at RAF Fairford from 1995.

Each year Clive Chinnick comes up with new and inventive layouts for the hangar for the dinner and then to transform it again for the after-show-party. He has been utilising the magical WOW factor of starcloth since 1995 to create the unique atmosphere and enhance the vibes with a full ‘wrap-around’ designating the peripheries of the room.

Clive designs the entire environment including the layout of the tables, morphing it from a busy working industrial hangar into a sumptuous and colourful venue for both evenings. The dinner also includes an awards ceremony and after dinner speaker.

The calibre of the guests is extremely high, and this, as in previous years they shared the space with several aircraft, bringing an additional resonance and excitement to the setting.

CTS regularly works with S+H on larger jobs, and Clive comments, “They are reliable, work fast and efficiently, have great crew and the kit is in excellent order” – all the attributes he needs.

The goal for the technical production is always to get a breath-taking impact the moment the guests walk in, and starcloth is an excellent way to achieve this.

Clive first started using starcloth for the gala dinner in 1995, and S+H has also been involved since then. “They also consistently offer great value” adds Clive, “they are keen to be involved, all of which helps us to deliver the best results for our client”.

Clive uses the S+H Pea-light starcloth for this event because the tungsten glow and warmth of the bulbs fit into the overall ambience. “The design and certain retro effects help echo the strong sense of history associated with the location” he explains.

RAF Fairford was constructed in 1944 originally as an airfield for British and American troop carriers and gliders involved in the D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II.

In addition to designing the dinner and lighting the environment, CTS also supplied audio and video - live cameras with IMAG relay to two screens either side of stage – and power distribution.

Photos courtesy of Chinnick Theatre Services

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