A long-standing tradition in Cambridge, May Ball Week marks the end of the academic year for the world renowned University of Cambridge. Celebrating its 150th year anniversary, expectations for The First and Third Trinity Boat Club May Ball were high, with attendees not being left disappointed. We were briefed to provide lighting, sound, staging, rigging and power distribution for the all-night event which saw revelers partying until dawn. 


A big change for the Trinity Ball this year involved moving the main stage onto the South Paddock and putting it into a ‘Big Top’ structure. This gave our team an interesting space to light and lent itself to a complex design. A multi-level ground support truss rig was used to work within the height restrictions posed by the structure. With headline acts Nothing but Thieves and Sigma featuring on the main stage, an impressive lighting rig was required, comprising of 30 Moving-Head intelligent fixtures which included Clay Paky Alpha Wash 700 and Alpha Spot HPE lights as well as Clay Paky Sharpys.

Audio in the big top consisted of a d&b V8/12 concert system alongside a 48 channel high-specification desk, the Yamaha CL5 with a Digico SD8 for monitors.

For those looking for other entertainment, Nevile’s Court played host to a jazz marquee whilst Brewhouse Lawn was transformed into a dance club venue. Using a moving light rig and many different effects including strobes, UV and beam/colour chasing, we were able to transform the space and create a full-on club atmosphere. Audio comprised of a full dance-club style sound system with audio stacks located at the 4 corners of the dance floor to give a concentrated high-level audio experience.

We also fitted out an acoustic pagoda structure, a cabaret/comedy marquee and the Great Hall, along with providing architectural lighting to highlight the beautiful, unique buildings that make up the Trinity College campus.   


“We were very impressed with Hawthorn, who met and exceeded our expectations. Tom Ring, our Project Manager, ensured that every stage of the set-up for our event went smoothly, and was extremely helpful when issues arose at our end. It was very reassuring to know that we were in such capable hands, and I would thoroughly recommend Hawthorn. The night of the Ball was a great success, with many commenting that it was the best that they had seen in 15 years.”

Julian Darby, President of First and Third Trinity Boat Club May Ball 2016