RSVP now for special showcase at Cavendish Venues

You are invited to a special showcase at Cavendish Venues on Thursday, 29 September 2016, open to all event bookers. The event will begin at 6.30pm and will include champagne, cocktails and canapés alongside plenty to keep attendees entertained including a fantastic, fun photo booth.

RSVP now to hadleigh@cavendishvenues.com to receive confirmation and secure your place and see for yourself how member venue, Cavendish Venues consistently surpasses expectations through a warm, personable and efficient approach to hospitality.

QEII Centre to inspire Londoners with #SparkSesh workshops

Westminster’s QEII Centre is looking to get Londoners inspired this summer by hosting a series of creative #SparkSesh workshops.

Part of QEII’s 30th birthday celebrations, the 90-minute fun and interactive events will cover storytelling, introspective reflection, creative vision and how to get ahead in all aspects of life.

The first #SparkSesh, ‘Stories That Move People To Action’, will take place on Tuesday 28 June at 6pm.

Run in partnership with London-based creative agency Just Add Water, the session will use film clips and popular media as part of interactive activities to show attendees what makes a great story and how storytelling can be used to influence other people’s way of thinking.

Roopi Woodall, marketing manager at QEII Centre said: “If you’re feeling like you’re at a bit of a creative stand-still or struggling to get ahead in life, #SparkSesh could be what you need to start feeling reinvigorated and seeing life from a new perspective. The events will be positive, insightful and memorable – you’d be surprised how much can change in just an hour and a half of creative thinking.”

The following three #SparkSesh events will take place in September. Monday 12 September will be all about creativity, Thursday 15 September will be looking at why people do what they do and on Tuesday 20 September the final session will look ahead to articulating the future.

Ian McKechnie from Just Add Water added: “These workshops will help attendees to think in new and exciting ways, put their ideas across more powerfully and get what they want in life. The first #SparkSesh focusing on storytelling is perfect for anyone who wants to be more engaging and connect with people on a more emotional level. Facts can only take you so far, but stories are a far more powerful way of influencing outcomes.”

Lights, camera, action at One Great George Street

One Great George Street has added to its filming credentials as it was chosen as the location for upcoming film War Machine – a satire of America’s war with Afghanistan.

The American comedy war film, which is directed and written by David Michôd, is based on the non-fiction book ‘The Operators’ by Michael Hastings and features Brad Pitt.

War Machine’s Location Manager Tony Hood shares his experience of working with One Great George Street’s Special Events Team: “There are a number of stunning rooms within the building but what really sets the venue apart is the helpful nature of the event staff who have everything covered. It is unusual in Central London to find a single location that has such an extensive range of film-worthy spaces, and additionally the room to house the various elements of the production to allow us to shoot out the scenes quickly and efficiently.”

War Machine follows hot on the heels of the current BBC thriller series, The Night Manager, which was also filmed at One Great George Street.

To find out more please visit http://oggsvenue.com/

Cowdray Hall at 20 Cavendish Square welcomes major fashion house showcases

With London Fashion Week kicking off this month, there is a definite sense of style in the air and 20 Cavendish Square’s newly refurbished Cowdray Hall has captured the attention of the fashion world with such big names as Ralph Lauren, L.K Bennett and Two Danes showcasing their collections at the venue.

Cowdray Hall is an elegant yet flexible space with high ceilings ideal to design a spectacular catwalk or presentation. Alongside it the Council Room has a rich decoration of dark wood panelling, carved pilasters and a beautiful glass domed ceiling, making it an impressive backdrop for a showroom or photoshoot.

Exciting times lie ahead for the venue as London Fashion Week takes off towards the end of this month. For more information please check the venue’s new Fashion at 20 Cavendish Square page.

Breakfast, Buses and Bond: Covent Garden museums host private tour

Event buyers and fellow TWC members were treated to not one but two venue show-rounds on Tuesday 26th January as neighbouring venues London Transport Museum (LTM) and London Film Museum (LFM) welcomed them to their breakfast showcase.

Attendees were given the unique opportunity to take in the museums’ interactive exhibitions like the LTM’s tube driver simulator almost exclusively, as the event took place outside the venues’ normal opening hours.

Showcasing the versatility of their event spaces, both venues were on hand to answer any questions and highlight the opportunities available for corporate and private hire.

Callum Stott, events coordinator at the Royal Television Society, attended the event and said ‘the event was very informative and it was a pleasure to view the events spaces.’ The showcase was also attended by event buyers and planners from companies such as Film London, Bureau van Dijk and Boo Events.

The Westminster Collection and its members are gearing up for another great year. To keep up to date with the latest events and news subscribe to our newsletter here.

How to plan live music at outdoor events

By Susan Heaton-Wright at Viva Live Music

Spring is now upon us and plenty of events are being organised for the summer. If live music is something you’re considering, here are 7 top tips to consider to ensure the venue is suitable and prepared and your musicians are well looked after:

1. Rain. Living in the United Kingdom, we are used to a variety of weather, even in the summer and it is wise and sensible to have a ‘plan B’ in place, in case it suddenly rains. In the case of musicians, there are health and safety issues when they are using electrical equipment and rain. If you insist they play outside, there must be cover of the equipment and instruments to avoid accidents. Also, many stringed instruments (e.g. violins, harps) will be damaged by rain, even a drop. Since these are very valuable, no string player will want to risk their instrument being damaged, so if in any doubt about the weather, provide temporary cover as a precaution. A good music company like Viva Live Music will advise you about this before the event.

2. Sunshine. Of course we want sunshine at your event! However, for some instrumentalists, this is a hazard. String instruments, in particular, could be damaged by direct sunlight and understandably musicians get jumpy if they are asked to play outside in sunshine. Provide a canopy or gazebo for the musicians to be seated under, or shade, then they’ll be happy. For bands, direct sunlight could cause hazard to their equipment, so do discuss this with the band before the event and if necessary provide shade or a gazebo.

3. Temperatures. If it is really hot, your musicians could wilt in heat; make sure you provide them with plenty of water and soft drinks! If it is cold, some musicians will struggle to keep their fingers moving after a period of time and instruments are more difficult to keep in tune. If necessary allow them to wear gloves and warmer clothing and provide a warm place for them to thaw out between their sets!

4. Access to power. Jazz bands, bands, dancers and singers require power. Make sure there is access to power sockets and have a discussion with your entertainment prior to the event and include this in your planning schedule. A good music company like Viva Live Music will highlight this requirement early on in the negotiation. Remember that any power provision must reach health and safety standards.

5. Noise levels. Some venues and localities have noise restrictions; either they are decibel level restrictions or timing restrictions. Some venues have a meter that measures decibel levels. It cuts off the power when music goes over this level. There is a venue in Hertfordshire that allows DJs and discos, but not ANY instrument, including a harp or string quartet, which are definitely quieter! So it is worthwhile checking what restrictions, if any, there are when planning. Ensure you inform the musicians and entertainers before the event to warn them.

6. Acoustics. Sound bounces on walls, but gets lost in a big field unless you have very powerful sound systems to enhance the sound. If you place an acoustic string quartet in the middle of a field, their beautiful sound is likely to be lost. Within a small space, such as a courtyard, any sound, including guests speaking, will be amplified. This is important if there are noise restrictions. An acoustic instrument like an accordion will sound louder than in a larger space. Take advice from your entertainment provider and if necessary place entertainment in a good spot to make the most of their music.

7. Wind. Wind plays havoc on sound! If you have been to an outdoor concert when there is strong wind, it sometimes affects the sound and quality of the music and entertainment. For musicians who have music, they always worry their music will blow away. If you can, put musicians in a sheltered place. They will provide clips for their music, but any shelter helps!

For bands and entertainment requiring sound systems, speak to the sound engineers so they have contingency plans in place to alter speaker locations if necessary.

We hope you have a great time organising your event and will use live music entertainment outside as part of your event! To discuss options for live entertainment, please talk to Viva Live Music.

Army & Navy Club to host talk on Britain’s war time songs

Join The Army & Navy Club at an interactive talk by Oskar Cox-Jenson, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Music Department of King’s College London, on Wednesday 3 June. Oskar’s talk will explore the songs and battle ballads as sung by British soldiers marching on Paris, by romantic poets in London Parlours and, most importantly, by ordinary men and women in Britain’s streets, homes and pubs.

The Waterloo Singers, a group of folk musicians and historians specialising in the music of the Napoleonic Wars, will accompany Oskar during the talk, which promises to bring to life the Waterloo songs in all its grisly tragedy and raw emotion – be it treason, pride, love or hatred.

The talk will commence promptly at 18.00 at the Army & Navy Club (36 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5JN). Please allow approximately one hour for the talk.

There is no charge to attend the event, however tickets must be pre-booked by contacting Elana Kruger by emailing Club@TheRag.co.uk by Monday 1st June 2015.

Behind-the-scenes film photography exhibition at BAFTA

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has announced that BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, its headquarters in London and home of its membership worldwide, will open its doors to the public to showcase ‘BAFTA, Backstage’, the latest photographic exhibition from the BAFTA archive.

Supported by Deutsche Bank Asset & Wealth Management, ‘BAFTA, Backstage’ opens to BAFTA members and their guests from Monday 19 January and then to the public on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 January 2015.

Showcasing over 80 images, the exhibition features the work of eight photographers who have covered BAFTA’s Film Awards in the past, with reportage and portrait photography of leading film talent.

The selection of photography includes Annette Bening, Banksy, Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt, Chris Hemsworth, Colin Firth, Daniel Day Lewis, Daniel Radcliffe, Danny Boyle, Dev Patel, Emma Watson, Felicity Jones, Frieda Pinto, Gary Oldman, Goldie Hawn, Helena Bonham Carter, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Hudson, Jeremy Renner, Kate Winslet, Kenneth Branagh, Kevin Spacey, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Mickey Rourke, Noel Clarke, Sharon Stone, Samuel L Jackson, Tom Hardy, Leonardo Di Caprio and this year’s EE Rising Star nominee, Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

The eight featured photographers are Brits Ian Derry, Sarah Dunn, Phil Fisk, Charlie Gray, Rich Hardcastle, Ellis Parrinder and Greg Williams, and Canadian Jessie Craig. The exhibition will also include the awards photography of Michael Barrett, Doug McKenzie, Richard Kendal, Jonathan Birch, David Dettman, Stephen Butler and Marc Hoberman.

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said: “Our latest exhibition, ’BAFTA, Backstage’, is a stunning collection of photography from the BAFTA archive. It features film’s biggest names captured by some of the very best photographers working in the UK today, so I encourage everyone to come along and enjoy a small selection from our archive as we open our doors to the public on 24 and 25 January, ahead of the EE British Academy Film Awards on 8 February.”

Supporting art and artists has been a focus of Deutsche Bank’s cultural activities for more than 30 years. Its cultural program – which spans music, theatre and the visual arts – is driven by a belief that everyone should have the opportunity to experience culture regardless of race, social background and education.

Tickets to the exhibition are free of charge and can be booked through http://bafta-backstage.eventbrite.co.uk. The exhibition opens from 10.00 to 19.00 on both Saturday 24 January and Sunday 25 January with last admissions at 18.00. Tickets for the exhibition will be available, with admission at 30 minute intervals. At 14.30 on both 24 and 25 January, a Q&A will take place with the featured photographers.

New suppliers, new venues as The Westminster Collection prepares for its 2015 events programme

The Westminster Collection (TWC), London’s venue marketing consortium, is delighted to welcome a selection of new venues and suppliers to membership.

Accomplished event photographer Karolina Krasuska specialises in music, event and editorial photography and has over 10 years’ experience in the field, with established long-term relationships with clients that include Toni & Guy, Pernod Ricard UK and IFC. Renowned for her contemporary, edgy style and ability to capture the energy of an event, she has covered London Fashion Week for seven years and she also worked with TWC at its Destination Westminster venue showcase in October 2014, which was held at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly.

Mobile bar specialist The Bar Bazaar provides high quality event bars, reception desks, food service stations and all manner of stylish event bar solutions to venues and clients including The Brit Awards, the V&A and Jimmy Choo. The bars are custom built offering bespoke finishes and layouts and they can be branded thanks to the company’s exceptional in-house production facilities.

The Event Hire Company provides exclusive furniture, kitchen equipment and accessories for hire to both the private and public sectors and has experience of a wide variety of events, including corporate hospitality, weddings, exhibitions and conferences. The team is expert in providing a wealth of knowledge and seamless pre- to post-event service to a client portfolio that includes Team GB, The City of London, John Lewis, BBC and ITV. The Event Hire Company was also a supplier to Destination Westminster at BAFTA and enjoys established relationships with a number of venues within TWC membership.

New to the collection’s portfolio of venues is St James Theatre, the first newly-built theatre complex in Central London in 30 years. Located just around the corner from Buckingham Palace, it plays host to cabaret, comedy, music and theatre with current shows including the critically acclaimed Bad Jews.

The theatre is a perfect venue for product launches, private screenings and for more intimate creative workshops. It’s only a few minutes from Victoria station and boasts an intimate 312-seat theatre available for daytime events and a flexible 100-seat studio, a wonderful live entertainment space that lends itself to becoming a flexible and self-contained corporate events venue. The St. James Bar and Brasserie and the Carrara Restaurant offer a range of stylish, informal dining options.

Another recent re-joiner of TWC, after a break from membership, is the award-winning QEII Centre, newly refurbished as part of a £12 million rebranding and renovation project. The iconic venue, which sits opposite Westminster Abbey, is boldly re-establishing its wow factor within the global events industry, now offering a more modern and stylish environment for the 400+ national and international events that are hosted there each year. It provides the ideal central London location for high profile conferences, conventions, exhibitions and corporate events with impressive capacity for up to 2,500 delegates.

Karin Parkinson, TWC board director and Central Hall Westminster’s facilities and administration manager, said: “We wish a very warm welcome to our new venues and partners, who have already shown real eagerness and commitment to becoming active members of The Westminster Collection’s network of venues and suppliers. Through our energetic 2015 marketing communications programme, we look forward to assisting in bringing their services to the attention of prospective new clients.”

TWC will shortly look forward to the opportunity to promote its member venues to events professionals at International Confex in London on 18-19 February 2015. Sales and marketing representatives from more than 20 of its 41 venues will be present at TWC stand CF57 to meet and greet show visitors across the two days of the event, ready to talk event planners through the collection’s eclectic portfolio of central London venues.

TWC’s 2015 events programme includes International Confex (18-19 Feb), Embassy Event Expo and The Meetings Show (7-9 July) together with its own annual venue showcase (Sept 2015) and a newly-revamped series of venue familiarisation trips for buyers.

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The first TWC fam trip of the year takes place at St James Theatre on Weds 25th February, 08:30-10:30am. Any event planner wishing to attend this exclusive event can email news@venues-london.co.uk to request a place.

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Immerse yourself in contagious creativity at new London events space St James Theatre

Come and explore the characterful St James Theatre, newly available to the London corporate and private events venue market, at an exclusive, private tour hosted by event manager Adam and his team. The coffee morning takes place on Wednesday 25 February at 8:30am. If you’d like to be there, please email news@venues-london.co.uk to request a place.

St James Theatre is the first newly-built theatre complex in Central London in 30 years. Located just around the corner from Buckingham Palace, it plays host to cabaret, comedy, music and theatre with current shows including the critically acclaimed Bad Jews.

The theatre is a perfect venue for product launches, private screenings and for more intimate creative workshops. It’s only a few minutes from Victoria station and boasts an intimate 312-seat theatre available for daytime events and a flexible 100-seat studio, a wonderful live entertainment space that lends itself to becoming a flexible and self-contained corporate events venue. The St. James Bar and Brasserie and the Carrara Restaurant offer a range of stylish, informal dining options.

Explore more here and to request a place on the private coffee morning tour, please email new@venues-london.co.uk.