Brunel University Graduation Ceremonies

Indoor Athletics Centre, Brunel University Campus


This year’s work at Brunel was the first of a three year contract for the delivery of Brunel University’s graduation ceremonies, following a competitive tender process.

Our brief this year was to transform the indoor athletics centre into a 1,500 seater auditorium, providing the full technical production transformation of the space to include lighting, sound, video, stage, seating risers, seating, draping, generators, air conditioning and carpeting throughout the venue.

With 500 graduates and 1,000 guests at each of the seven events, the graduation ceremonies and public concert provided the perfect opportunity to showcase the university - a high standard of delivery was therefore paramount.


Hawthorn’s challenge was to design and deliver a complete solution taking in to consideration concerns the university had about previous deliveries of the event and devised alternative solutions to better suit their requirements.

This included devising a way to angle the guests’ seats to ensure better viewing angles – we invested in some 8’ x 2’ triangles and the Hawthorn set team made some custom deck sections and hand rail covers to create what became a “much improved” seating solution.

Our in-house set team were also busy creating reception desks, door portals and an array of other items, whilst our drapes team created some custom black wool serge drapes to fit the arch stage of the roof beams.

We installed 2 60m trusses to rig lighting, sound and video from, and provided 300 linear metres of draping around the perimeter of the auditorium, stage and back of house areas.

We also worked alongside Carrier to devise an air conditioning solution which resulted in a more efficient and improved system and less cluttered floor space, whilst the stage cooling units were incorporated into the stage design so as not to be visible.

A fascinating fact: We used over 200 pieces of deck to build the stages and seating risers. 


“Hawthorn transformed our International Athletics Centre into an amazing venue for our Graduation ceremonies this summer. In all my dealing with the team, I found them to be professional, organised and flexible, with a good attention to detail, willing to adapt and make changes to little layout issues without any fuss or bother. Their logistics were impressive and enabled us to have our IAC back in use for our students, on time and without damage. A thoroughly efficient and professional team who I’m happy to recommend to others.”

Frances Dearn, Deputy Chief Operating Officer