The 105th Rotary International Convention was confirmed to be held in Australia for the first time since 2003. The event brief outlined the four day event schedule featuring two opening plenary sessions , 5 plenary sessions, 1 business session and 28 breakout sessions with the overarching brief to deliver an event that was intrinsically Australian.

Planning Australia’s largest conference in nearly 10 years

The Staging Connections team in Sydney were engaged to provide a turnkey solution, designing and creating an event that ensured the seamless delivery of the program of sessions outlined by Rotary International (RI).

The Plenary had four days to bump-in; two rehearsal days, four show days and two days to bump out. Alongside the main plenary sessions were 28 breakout rooms across multiple venues – the 105th Rotary International Convention was in no doubt an event of epic proportions.

With only three months to develop; design; construct and deliver what was the largest convention event in Australia for nearly 10 years, we had quite a task in front of us. The concept was to deliver four different themes across the four days to entertain and inform the all 18,000 delegates across the multiple sessions. The pleanry venue – AllPhones Arena, provided a relative blank canvas and required every element to be brought in for the event. In support of the multiple Staging Connections’ staff involved to produce the event, a number of trusted event partners were also engaged to assist with the delivery of specialist areas.

event staff

The Event Design

Our event design team developed the stage set concept and worked with SRC to manage the build of the 26.4m by 12m stage set which was flanked with replica Sydney Opera House sails that stood at 9.6m by 7.2m by 6m. The key feature of the stage set was the main screen supplied and rigged by TDC measuring 30m by 6m, the only one of its kind in Australia, it was complemented by a customised wooden border enhanced with projection mapping which blended onto the boarder and through to the Opera House sails. The main screen was supported by a 14m by 3.3m LED screen on a computerised truss to allow for a dramatic reveal of entertainment and special guests at key points throughout the event. With 2x 6m LED screens either side for stage entry, it created a multimedia canvas which would be the central feature throughout the event.

event stage

The Staging Connections digital design team assisted RI’s graphic team to create a four day series of themed 3D content that was mapped and projected onto the various screens and set elements including the flagship main screen. The team utilised 17HD projectors to deliver the content including three of the only four high definition 40k Barco projectors available in Australia. Being an in-the-round arena the projectors were positioned carefully in order to ensure an uninterrupted sightlines to the stage whilst maintaining the clear and crisp delivery and superior quality of content for all of the many thousands of delegates. This required an increased level of precision in setting and layout throughout the venue. We worked closely with RI to meet the requested Australiana theme with each of the four days featuring a unique theme to match: Day 1 – Outback, Day 2 – Underwater/Beach, Day 3 – Rainforest and Day 4 –Quintessential Sydney.

In addition to the design and delivery of the creative content, we were responsible for producing the entire event and assisted RI with their selection of entertainment featured throughout the program including managing the stage in the International House of Friendship.

Delivering the 105th International Rotary Conference 

The event was opened by the NSW Public Schools Aboriginal Dance Company and a selection of indigenous performers who delivered a moving Welcome to Country ceremony drew the mostly international delegates into a rapturous applause. This was followed by the ringing of the bell for the 1st official meeting of the RI convention 2014 and then by the traditional Rotary flag ceremony which featured a marching band and rotary volunteers from local districts. The Australian surf life savers acted as flag bearers for the 186 countries that were represented.

surf life savers

The delegates then welcomed Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP to deliver the opening keynote and NSW Premier the Hon Mike Baird MP to provide an overview of what to expect in Sydney. During the event delegates were treated to a number of high profile Australians as key note speakers including champion cricketer Brett Lee.

tony abbot presenting

The entertainment line-up was headlined by award winning Australian music group Human Nature and with the event closed with a striking performance by the Ten Tenors and Marina Prior with the convention finishing with the full house singing the Rotary song!

performers on stairs

The 105th Rotary International Convention was the largest convention event held in Australia for a number of years. The stand out success, from both back stage management through to the delegate experience, was due in no small part to the expertise and experience of the team who had the pleasure of working on the event. As the chosen event production organisation, we coordinated the entire event working with the best in the business. Key suppliers Staging Rentals and Construction Services; TDC; PRG; Norwest Productions; Murray Tregonning and Freeman AV, helped us to deliver what the client described as one of the best conventions ever!

The Feedback 

“Staging Connections was our AV partner on the recent Rotary International Annual Convention at Allphones Arena in Sydney Olympic Park. John Schryver and Chris Lewis put their heart and soul into this production and did a fantastic job of managing the production. The team that they put together is probably the best that Australia has to offer.

Mark Shepherd, Rocco Anzellotti, Fiona Robinson, Dan Quinn, Kim Louey-Gung and Aaron Megson were outstanding in their roles on the event. In fact, every person on the production team did a great job and was a joy to have around. Our customer, Senior Stage Manager Tracy Zabek said that “it was the smoothest convention ever”. Based on my experience, I would say she’s right.

Our biggest worry on the closing day was “how are we going to top this?” So thank you for all that you’ve done to develop this wonderful staff. I will recommend Staging Connections to all my friends and colleagues who have events headed your way.”
Steve Overby – Freeman AV

“It was a pleasure working with Chris and Rocco from Staging connections on the International Rotary Convention in Sydney 2014. From the early quotation process to the bump out everything went smoothly and seamlessly which was due to their great planning.”
Anthony Colombo – PRG

“It was a pleasure to work alongside such a great team of professionals to deliver the largest conference of the year. The Norwest team were pleasantly surprised with how smoothly the event ran from the initial planning and meetings right through to completion. It is a great credit to you and your team to be able to execute an event of this size at the highest level and with a minimum of fuss.”

“Working with the Staging Connections team was great experience for an event of this size and importance. From concept to execution the collaboration between the two companies was well extremely planned which was evidenced by the smooth build and the high standard that was achieved. We thoroughly enjoyed this process of working with you and your team and would recommend Staging Connections for any event of this nature of again. Staging Rentals looks forward to working in partnership with Staging Connections on future projects.”
Cy Norman – Staging Rentals

We at the Technical Direction Company found it to be a great partnership in both the preproduction and onsite delivery stages with the two companies working together seamlessly to produce what I believe was an outstanding result. The TDC team and I look forward to being able to partner with Staging Connections again on any events where you feel our services and expertise may be of benefit.
Ray O’Sullivan – TDC


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