National theatre

Green light for National Theatre roof top venue

Lambeth Council has granted planning permission to National Theatre to build a new roof top entertainment venue. The new facility is set to open in summer 2018 for an initial 25-year period.

The new space will replace The Deck, a temporary structure originally built in 2007, and will be developed to cater for the growing demand for corporate events, private parties and weddings on the South Bank.

Tineke O’Brien, head of commercial events and business development at the National Theatre, commented: “Since opening in 2007, The Deck has proved a significant commercial success, with proceeds from business events and corporate entertainment contributing to the National Theatre’s ongoing commitment to the performing arts.

“However, The Deck was only ever intended as a temporary structure, so we are thrilled to have secured planning permission from Lambeth Council to develop a brand new installation. The long term security this provides will enable us to create a truly world class venue, utilising both the space and the iconic London skyline to deliver show-stopping events to businesses and private individuals alike.”

Designed by RIBA architects Haworth Tompkins, plans for the new structure include sliding glass screens which will allow the installation to open up to the external terrace, creating a free flowing space inside and out, while showcasing panoramic views of the London skyline.

Future events will benefit from the artistic imagination and stage craft that the National Theatre is renowned for, with organisers able to draw upon production experts, costume and prop innovators.

National Theatre said the project, coupled with its dedicated events team and in-house catering, will result in “exceptional immersive experiences” for future attendees.

Additionally, wedding guests will, for the first time, be able to “dance the night away” at the venue, as the floor has been specially modified for dancing.

The Deck will close in January 2018 to allow installation to begin.

In the pub with…Harry Guthrie

The director of Harry Guthrie Event Production talks floods in Dubai, hand drawn stage plans and the future of festivals.

I did my first firework display when I was 15 – it was just about safe. I was interested in the theatre from the age of about 12. My dad works for the BBC so I think I was destined to go into some sort of entertainment service. 

I did a technical theatre course, which is different to an event management course. In its basic form, it was nine to five every day, but we also supported the acting and the musical theatre, doing the technical stuff for their shows. You did the hours that people do in real theatre, which is not too different from the events work. It’s a big part of it, the antisocial-ness of our industry. Can you really be prepared for it if you’ve done six hours a week at university and then gone to the pub?

When I first started at the National Theatre, they used to hand draw all their stage plans. You used to put a sheet of tracing paper over the original drawing and trace the bit that you needed. And that’s not that long ago, I’m only 34! By the time I left, 90 per cent of the sets had 3D models.

What was fantastic about the Queen’s 90th Birthday was the collaboration – everyone bought into it, from a creative and delivery point of view. My drive to do something like that is different from a commercially-led job.

I went out to the Dubai Air Show in 2013 and we had to evacuate the site because it flooded. I’ve never seen rain like it, it was just waves of water. There were all these sockets outside, none of them covered, and we were looking at the forecast thinking, ‘It might rain’. We thought we should at least wrap them up and get them off the floor, but there was none of that. Eventually I thought, ‘I’m not going anywhere near that, I’m off’.

Broadcast has got a place in live events going forward. We don’t want to watch reality TV; it’s been done. I don’t understand why festivals don’t just stream themselves. It would be half the cost, and you’ve got the internet connection on site anyway. For not a lot of money you could get a team in and put four or five cameras around your main stage and stream it yourself.

One thing that I think is coming over the next five years is VR. The virtual reality side of things is going to explode. Google, Facebook, YouTube; they’re all behind it. They’re all investing in that world. Walk on stage with Adele at Glastonbury. Stand in the pit at the main stage. That’s a consumer experience that is waiting to be exploited.

[Gallery] The Deck hosts event profs for LBMW16

The Deck, on the roof of the National Theatre, hosted event media and organisers on 6 October for the third year running as part of London Breakfast Meetings Week (LBMW16).

Health blogger and author Sarah Malcolm, along with Instagram health guru Jess Moses, provided healthy eating tips for guests.

Visitors were provided with a ‘brain-boosting’ breakfast including a granola station with fresh fruit and yoghurt and a mini Full English breakfast.

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#MoviesOnTheDeck returns to NT’s The Deck

The Deck, the National Theatre’s riverside rooftop events space, will hold its third annual summer pop-up cinema club from 15-19 August.

For five days, the venue will host a series of exclusive screenings of the stage production War Horse – the most successful play in the National Theatre’s history.

The Deck’s pop-up cinema first began in 2014, screening One Man, Two Guv’nors – then starring James Corden – and Victorian comedy London Assurance.

From 15-18 August, matinee screenings will take place at 2pm, with an evening show at 7pm. On Friday 19 August, a morning showing at 10am will kick-start the day, followed by a matinee at 2.30pm. On Friday evening, visitors can enjoy extra entertainment by the river, with live music from 6.30pm on the NT’s own River Stage, which launches for the summer at the end of July.

The Deck hosts networking event for 2nd London Breakfast Meetings Week

The Deck at the National Theatre, on London’s Southbank, gathered event industry professionals for a morning of breakfast and networking to celebrate the second London Breakfast Meetings Week (LBMW).

Last year, research released by The Deck as part of LBMW, found that having meetings or events in the morning have a more positive outcome than those in the afternoon.

Seventy-one per cent of those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that they have a more beneficial outcome compared to meetings held later in the day.

The survey went on to show that 65 per cent of people found it easier to concentrate at a breakfast meeting than a meeting held later in the day and three-quarters of the people surveyed said short breakfast events or meetings cause less disruption to their working day than midday, afternoon or evening events.

On Tuesday 6 October, The Deck showcased the possibilities a breakfast event can bring, from boosting brainpower with a balanced breakfast to morning mindfulness and wellbeing, with 10-minute workshops from Yogasphere and tips from author and self-confessed health food fanatic Sarah Malcolm.

“It was fantastic to bring event professionals together with our fellow London venues to experience how effective and productive a breakfast event can be,” said Charley Taylor Smith, head of hospitality events and commercial business development at The Deck.

“We are thrilled to be supporting London Breakfast Meetings Week and the positive responses we have had have really shown what great opportunities there are to host more breakfast events.”

Holo-Gauze delivers projection effects for Albarn’s wonder.land

Holo-Gauze has supplied the video projection effects for Damon Albarn’s modern musical reimagining of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The show’s projections are by 59 Productions, with Lysander Ashton acting as creative director.

Appearing at Manchester’s Palace theatre until 12 July as part of the Manchester International Festival, wonder.land is a co-production between National Theatre artistic director Rufus Norris, scriptwriter Moira Buffini and Albarn, who wrote the score. The musical is set to transfer to London’s National Theatre from 27 November.

In wonder.land, Lewis Carroll’s fantasy world becomes an online game, to which Aly, who is bullied at school and unhappy at home, escapes. You can watch a trailer, showing some examples of the visual effects projected onto Holo-Gauze, below.

“I am delighted that wonder.land’s producers and 59 Productions opted to use Holo-Gauze to help realise their visual effects,” said Holo-Gauze founder and Holotronica MD Stuart Warren-Hill. “Holo-Gauze is the ideal solution for live events, allowing participants to make presentations behind our near-invisible gauze while informative and entertaining holographic effects appear to float in front and around them – as seen in the wonder.land trailer.”

White Light transforms NT’s Olivier for Fast Forward gala

Last month’s Fast Forward fundraising gala at the National Theatre helped raise money for NT Future, the project that will provide new facilities at the institution for audiences, artists and young people.

White Light supplied LED lighting for the star-studded event, which included among its guests Simon Callow, Olivia Colman, Frances de la Tour, Anne-Marie Duff, Sir David Hare, Ian Hislop, Patricia Hodge, Tom Hollander, Jeremy Irons, Lesley Manville, Andrew Scott, Fiona Shaw and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

Held in the Olivier Theatre, the event required innovative lighting that White Light was happy to provide. The team – lead by head of lighting Matt Drury, lighting director James Farncombe, and production LX Breandan Andsell – installed CORE Pinpoints, Mac Auras, Pixelines, VLXs, and Sharpy washes and profiles to transform the space.

Meanwhile, the NT’s lighting resources’ Huw Llewellyn designed the lighting for an underground walkthrough space. Blueprint then added additional SGM LT-200 vertical tubes and SGM ILDs, which were used for a circular truss above the guests.

“This fundraiser was a prestigious addition to White Light’s events calendar, and we relished the creative challenge of transforming the Olivier for a more bespoke set-up,” said White Light’s project manager Richard Saunders. “It was also an exciting opportunity to fully demonstrate the capabilities with some of our new LED kit.”

Photo: Cameron Slater