It’s a sign of the times when the brief to Encore is to go from a virtual event to a large in-person event. The catch – it’s within the same venue space and the next event starts in a little over an hour. Go!

With the world now in the recovery phase since the pandemic, more and more mixed event format briefs are hitting Encore’s desk. As the chosen in-house event services provider at the Victoria Pavilion, Melbourne Showgrounds, the challenge to Encore was devising a solution that accommodated both of the venue’s client’s briefs – a virtual event for a large investment capital firm as well as Essendon Football Club’s Hall of Fame Gala expected to host 450 guests.

Being two entirely separate events, clients and event formats, both wanting to be delivered on the same day in the same venue, the task was deemed impossible at first. Encore’s production team decided to tackle the briefs together, planning a design that would accommodate both events with minimal transition.

The Transition Solution

It was decided the huge 12m wide LED screen and high-gloss stage set used for the virtual event, would remain in place and be used at the Essendon gala too. A win for the Club as the impressive stage set looked incredible with the Club colours splashed across it.

Essendon Hall of Fame Gala
LED Stage Set

Taking a leaf out of theatre production 101, each event’s ops locations were built on rolling stage risers making them easy to roll out and in during the transition. This meant crew had to prep and rehearse for both events and have the ops equipment set-up before the first event started.

Often the most time consuming installation is lighting yet Encore’s production team came up with an innovative solution to run additional truss lines to allow for both event’s lighting needs. This meant all lighting was already in place for the gala dinner. Encore designed the truss structures rigged above the events to be able to move up and down because each event had completely different focal points for different lighting aspects. The virtual event required a studio-like environment whilst the gala was live. The truss lines were lowered for the virtual event and raised for the gala.

Red Gala Dinner Centrepieces

With 450 guests to cater for, table styling was also a pressure point for the transition. The Essendon team chose to set-up 85% of the tables during the rehearsals of the virtual event, leaving only 15% of the tables left to do during the turnaround.

The key to each event’s success was in the overall design, preparation and making sure every crew member was across the plan.

It was one of those events that seemed impossible to execute. We were faced with a challenge of executing two very different events in the same space with the tightest of turnarounds. To say the odds were against us is a big understatement. However, with strategic planning from Encore’s Technical Event Director’s combined with some innovative ideas and having everyone singing from the same hymn sheet we managed to pull it off seamlessly. And importantly, both client’s were extremely happy with the delivery of their events.

Encore’s Venue Director at Melbourne Showgrounds

Photography Credit: Lucas Dawson Photography

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