PUTTING ON PURRFECT PERFORMANCE AT BATTERSEA DOGS & CATS HOME ANNUAL FUNDRAISING GALA
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’s annual Collars & Coats Gala Ball returned for its ninth year, and we were on hand - or should that be paw - to deliver full technical production for the star-studded occasion. Taking place at Battersea Evolution, a Smart venue, we provided lighting, sound, video and staging for the charity’s biggest fundraising event of the year.
Even with a guest list packed with some of biggest names of stage, screen and sport, it was Battersea’s four-legged friends that stole the spotlight at the Gala Ball. Battersea’s legendary Guard of Honour, a red carpet lined with the home’s dogs and their handlers, kicked off proceedings before guests settled down to an incredible dinner by Smart Hospitality.
Guests of the two-legged variety were kept well entertained throughout the evening with both a silent and live auction as well as incredible performances from Mica Paris and iconic reggae and pop legends UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue.
To create the purr-fect atmosphere, we used this year’s event branding as inspiration to deliver a stylish production design. Following the concept of ‘A Night of New Beginnings’, the versatile space was transformed into a literary heaven by the Battersea Special Events Team and florist Maison de Fleurs, adorned with floral displays incorporating book pages. With this concept in mind, our design needed to feature a much softer element than in previous years. For this, we enhanced the room with extra tungsten sources and fitted black and gold lurex drapes to the back of the stage. A tracked run of royal blue velvet drapes was then fitted to the mid-stage truss to conceal the evening’s headline act - UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue.
To light up the evening, our Lighting Designer Jack Sayer created a unique on-stage aesthetic with an array of staggered wash units featuring on the mid-stage truss. Not only did this deliver an interesting look to the stage but it also provided a strong beam for the band’s set. Seventeen Clay Paky Alpha Spot 800 QWOs were also deployed to provide wide breakups and tight aerial effects. To complete the look, 8 cell molefays were dotted around the stage to provide a real rock ‘n’ roll look, complementing the band and working with the other tungsten units to ensure the whole space felt very warm.
“The design had multiple layers in depth and was widely spread across the height of the venue allowing me to achieve a vast amount of high-impact looks” comments Sayer. “I felt it was important that not all of the production was based around the band so I created a design that allowed me to programme various looks without needing all of the rig.”
Heart-warming videos documenting the Home’s success stories were played out across the room on four 16ft by 9ft projection screens using our Barco S3 4K switcher and eight Christie HD 10k projectors. Audio was provided via a d&b V Series with J subs added to give an extra low-end boost whilst also provided great projection to the rear. FOH used a Yamaha CL5 digital mixer, whilst a Digico SD8 with Stealth Core 2 was used for UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue. For monitors, the Hawthorn team used Yamaha QL5 for the main show control with UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue using the CL5.
James Hunter, Project Director at Hawthorn, said “We’ve been working with Battersea Dogs & Cats Home on their Collars & Coats Ball since 2011 and it’s always a great honor to be involved. It’s an incredibly high-end event with a star-studded audience so the production needs to be nothing short of perfect. Each time we approach this event, we aim to come up with a fresh take on the event’s production element, ensuring that we deliver the wow-factor for our client year after year.”
Katie Draper, Senior Special Events Officer at Battersea, said: “Collars & Coats is one of Battersea’s most important nights of the year for the charity to raise money for the innocent dogs and cats who are in desperate need of help, so it is vital for us to deliver a high quality and entertaining evening that tells the stories of our animals and the charity’s mission.”