The Drum Awards Festival - Official Deadline

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By The Drum, Editorial

November 27, 2023 | 7 min read

Bearded Kitten won in the Event Production category at The Drum Awards for Experience for its work for Battersea Power Station. Here’s what went into the work...

The objective & strategy

What is good event production? To us, it’s not just taking the brief and making it happen. We use every modern production technique available, apply them to the most challenging circumstances, and push limits to achieve something that's never been done. Generally, we don’t know how we’ll do it. And then… we’ll do it. When we were asked to produce the reopening of Battersea Power Station, we knew it was a biggie. And we knew we were the perfect team for the job. Our key objective was to cause a stir (something we’re VERY good at) and put on an all-the-bells-andwhistles event to celebrate the building in all its glory. Name a type of event production. We used it, guaranteed. We invested in never-seen-before experiences that would blow everyone’s socks off. We wanted everyone to feel like they’d been struck by lightning - in a good way. It was time to cause a GREAT BIG BANG worthy of a second universe.

The icon is back!

This all took place in a listed building. Listed buildings aren’t built for events. Battersea Power Station definitely isn’t. We sourced structural engineers to find rigging installation solutions for lighting, sound, video - and the nine aerial dancers we floated through the air. I know what you’re thinking when you hear the term ‘aerial dancer’. Ours weren’t like that. Think Batman takes on The Joker in a mid-air battle. Synchronised dancing factory workers who just took off from the bar you’re drinking at. Sod buying a disco ball - we had a HUMAN DISCO BALL. And every light in the vicinity trained on it.

The opening moment

It’s showtime: for blast off, we used CO2 cannons/biodegradable confetti from the roof as Sadiq Khan counted us down - all meticulously monitored so the wind didn’t blow bits into a train or the Thames. We wanted FIREWORKS - but that was a no-go due to concern for the local falcon (naturally), so our production lead came up with the compromise of ticker tape. We had a solution to everything.

The Main Spectacle

The sky’s the limit - or, the ceiling. Our spectacle played with perspective, with performances from floor to roof. How to keep guests constantly entertained in such a big space? Well, you need a performer at every level of sight line. Whatever your angle, there was always something new to behold. Everyone’s talking about Drake’s deep-fake holograms - but we did it first. Installing a huge stage below a bespoke hologauze screen, we showcased a custom hologram of architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Superman took off from the rafters, Batman zoomed around, aerial dancers launched from mirror-finished art-deco bars, topped off with the Setia Drummers from Malaysia and the local Battersea Community Choir. Oh, and a Michelin-starred feast featuring haute-cuisine from the UK and Malaysia (including a custom ‘Smoking Chimney’ cocktail) - where we had to make a temporary fire-proof kitchen from an unused retail store (if you fancy a headache, think of the RAMS.)

Everyone knows the Arcadia spider - but have you ever seen their Lords of Lightning? Think plasma ball - everyone had one as a kid, google it - but a human version, 50ft off the ground with 6M VOLTS OF ELECTRICITY going through them as they duelled across Turbine Hall A. Watch the video, words cannot do this justice. It was a world first (again, can someone find the number for the Guinness Book of World Records?). The party doesn’t start until the disco ball spins - so we snuck a human mirrorball aeralist through the roof, hidden in a bar column designed and created in our workshop. Now THAT’S how you kick off the afters.


An artist is only as good as their features (look at Bowie and Queen!) and we only collaborate with the best. Anystage Global, specialists in aerial spectacles, came on board. Patrick Woodroffe of the best. Anystage Global, specialists in aerial spectacles, came on board. Patrick Woodroffe of Woodroffe Bassett joined us as our lighting designer. Working as a team, we brought together an animated performance in two parts, depicting life during the existence of BPS between the years of 1930 - 2022.

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THE BUILD & PRODUCTION (AKA… THE TECHY BITS) Space was at a premium as we created a 360° experience for 1,000 guests within the hall. With performance dancers and aerialists in the centre of the room, we needed a specialist solution for multifunctional performance platforms. We designed and fabricated two bespoke podiums which held a minimal footprint, supported the dancers on an extended top and neatly functioned as a service area.

An ERW Rolled Steel frame was clad in 6mm FR MDF and laminated in a chrome finish. Specialist Joelmat flooring was printed for the dancers to perform on.

The Turbine halls and three levels of flat tiled surfaces created acoustic challenges, so we partnered with Autograph Sound to design a custom DNB system to reduce the echo. To enable us to take control of the LED colour fixtures inside and on the chimneys we worked with the network team and a grand MA 3 lighting controls. The space needed to function partly as a conference space so we incorporated a stage for speeches from key BPS stakeholders. Shop-fitters, contractors and the BK team danced around each other to get the stars to align for the preopening party, then we coordinated a two-way convoy of 21 artics, stripped out the show and installed the public events within a 36 hour window. The lighting display was rigged with one of the highest truss systems our riggers have ever installed.

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