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BGL Group is a financial services company based in Peterborough, England. Its main lines of business are vehicle and home insurance, with a range of supplementary products such as breakdown cover, legal protection and personal accident cover.

THE CHALLENGE

After a competitive pitch process, Make Events were selected to manage the entertainment and theming of an 1100 all employee 25th Anniversary awards dinner.

This included all of the theming in the VIP area, the drinks reception and the main room. Alongside this, Make Events managed all of the entertainment and design. The theme was to have a nod to Cirque du Soleil with the aim to recognise employee’s success throughout the year. They wanted Make Events to produce a showstopping event which would create maximum impact as it was their 25th Anniversary.

BGL had produced events at Manchester Central before, therefore it was a challenge to ensure we created something completely different to what they had seen previously.

OUR SOLUTION

Make Events took the blue and silver colours of their brand to give Cirque du Soleil a more mature edge and proposed that this colour would run through the whole event.

As BGL had already secured Manchester Central, we took over the communications with the venue and led a food tasting to ensure the food was perfect.

We also selected the drinks and created bespoke cocktails to go alongside the apothecary bar which we brought in to the VIP drinks reception. We also managed all the health and safety.

The VIP’s arrived 15 minutes earlier than the rest of the guests to make the use of their exclusive area. This was based on the ‘backyard’ of a circus. We added some activations to compliment this; a foot juggler, hand balancer and contortionist as well as edible mist, edible perfume and a vintage photo booth.

There was a wall of fame which had photos of each award finalist, which was made to look like previous stars of the circus show.

The acts in the VIP and drinks reception were on small stages to make it feel intimate and like this is their warm up before the main show.

Large bespoke props were created in the drink’s reception. For the ‘backyard’ we had boxes with ‘Property of BGL’ and hoops. Stilt walkers also roamed the room.

Guests were directed into the main room by the spark drummers who created a big reveal. When all of the guests were seated, the spark drummers presented the VIPs and walked with them into the room. These were chosen as they are a unique act and they created a really high energy performance and engaged the crowd. Cirque du Soleil engage with their audience and generate a sense of theatre before the performance starts, so this is something we really wanted to emulate at the awards.

The costume designer from Strictly Come Dancing created our bespoke costumes for the directors of BGL as well as all of the performers on the night.

The room dressing itself we turned on its head slightly from previous years, they had only ever had a large stage at the end of the room. We decided to have a T stage into a circular central stage, which you would have in a circus. The inspiration came from a top hat tent, but we also had the main stage for practicalities such as giving out the awards and the band. This also enabled the entertainment to flow, better visibility and created a really immersive experience.

The table centres complimented the rest of the décor, we chose flower arrangements at different heights throughout the room.

We inspired the stage set design by dressing it to look like a theatre set up with draping.

Make Events worked with our production company to explain what we wanted the entertainment to look like on the night, where we went through a selection of acts to choose the perfect combination for a pre and post dinner show with a glitterball and cyr wheel acts in between courses.

Food service around the production of a show that huge was a challenge, as a circus show such as the one we created would usually run for about a week with lots of rehearsals, we had 4 hours to turn it all round.

We had to read the audience and bring entertainment earlier as we could tell they were itching to dance. The Function Band were chosen to perform as they are a band we work with often and the client had been given the opportunity to see them at a previous event we had produced. We worked with them on the set list.

THE RESULTS

For the client, it surpassed their expectations and took things to a new level for their 25th anniversary. We are already in discussion about future events.