How to create an enchanting Secret Kingdom event theme

Feast your eyes on this stunning enchanted forest event theme we designed for this year's Victoria Racing Club Young Member's Ball. The night was a spectacular evening filled with performances including death-defying aerial-artists.


Event Brief

Staging Connections has been lucky enough to work closely with Victoria Racing Club over the last consecutive five years.  Every year we are asked to create a fresh new creative look for each event theme that wow's and excited their guests. This year we were asked to turn the event venue, Crown Palladium ballroom, into a magical "Secret Kingdom" that continued to surprise and delight guests throughout the evening. On top of creating the overarching event theme, we had to design a themed pre-function area, as well as stunning table centrepieces and of course, the hero of the night, the ceiling installation. 

The Event Solution

Through our clients mood board we conceptualised alternative room looks and styles together to come up with a different and a cost effect design for the ceiling installation.  The idea of placing a large tree with a drooping canopy over hanging the central stage and dance floor was a key element our client wished to explore.

Playing on the peacock colour pallet, the installation was made up of over 600 pieces of coloured fabric drops, fresh falling foliage and scattered crystal beads to capture the glistering light.  We created a majestic 360 degree 15m x 14m border of hanging foliage which traced the outside of the dance floor.  To add more depth and dimension to the installation we produced a secondary central installation above the middle stage, where a dense 3m x 3m filled arena of cascading materials hung lower, allowing this overall design to look full and luscious.

Hanging garden ceiling installation

By placing this installation in the centre of the room, it instantly created the wow factor and exuded an ambient forest and enchanted kingdom atmosphere, particularly when guests where up and dancing underneath. 

To depict the feel of a forest, the centrepieces and table design was a key factor in assisting this theme to fruition.  Alternating heights of alike floras and foliage stood 1.5m tall and 40cm high wooden centrepieces filled the room within.  Dark black linen and chair covers acted as the backdrop for the centres, coloured table pin spot lights allowed the florals to pop.

Candy buffet by Hey Suga!

The room was finished off with a brand new gorgeous navy blue drape line surrounding all four walls and with the use of gobos, were lit beautifully with silhouettes of moving branches upon entering. Large real-life potted trees were placed in-between tables, corners of the room  and in the pre function area portraying the mystical forest guests were surrounded by.

The over all style of the room would not be complete with out the use of technology.  We where able to create this mysterious environment through the use of innovative lighting, and pioneering special lighting effects.  Up to date technologies in audio visual, including sound, vision and lighting was the platform for this space to come alive.

Performances by Applause Entertainment

Placement of lighting within the ballroom was challenging and many plots were drawn up to ensure that highlights and shadows were cast in the right areas so the entertainment were clearly seen for all the audience to enjoy but the shadows cast from the trees and foliage created atmosphere for the theme. The gobos on the draping created a depth as if the forest extended into the night and the movement programmed by the lighting designer opened and closed the forest canopy beyond the ballroom. To start the proceedings a thunder and lightning storm erupted to silence the crowd and the trumpet call introduced the MC for the evening.

Performances by Applause Entertainment

Throughout the night acts entertained the crowd form a central stage and the sound system was placed in and around the foliage to disperse evenly on the audience. This dispersal was mapped out using software to find hotspots and flatspots and adjust accordingly. At any point through the ballroom the even quality of sound has to be maintained to give the MC and the acts the best possible coverage.

Ian Howard, the Technical Director and lighting designer for the event, ensured the crew were on point and cued for each part of the evening. Being a dramatic event with heavy use of audio visual techniques his role was to ensure everything ran seamlessly from changes in room looks, to sound requirements and camera shots as well as managing lighting coordination with stage-hand movement on stage. The key to running a successful audio visual event is communication. To ensure a flawless and safe event all crew use talk-back radios and are clearly briefed prior to the event as well as participate in a full dress rehearsal to iron out any potential issues. 

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