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Case Studies

Gateshead College Blockbuster Opening


Client: Gateshead College
Type: Official Opening

From the outset it was a challenging brief – find a way to officially open the new high-tech Baltic Campus, ensuring that all of the colleges various stakeholder groups played a central part in the proceedings. The AHE team had to come up with a concept that students, employees, local community groups and financial investors would respond to. Due to the large numbers of people involved it was evident that the opening would need to take place over several days, so there needed to be a synergy between the events.

Taking inspiration from the high tech surroundings of the college and blockbuster movies such as Mission Impossible, the winning idea was to produce a multimedia presentation that would visually depict a technical, modern, phased opening. Involvement of the stakeholders was addressed and this led to the development of a finger-scan analysis. One member from each stakeholder group would be selected and would interact with the multimedia sequence by ‘triggering’ each day’s opening event. The finger scan then became an important element within the multimedia piece.

With the concept in development, the team turned its attention to the infrastructure required to present the vision to the audience. The solution was to install a giant plasma wall, a biometric scanner and a surround sound PA system to ensure that the opening experience was high quality and impactful.

Student Involvement

It was also important to involve the students and to demonstrate their skills and abilities. The AHE team worked with catering, music technology, drama and performance students to ensure their inclusion in the project.

Theatre Showcase

In addition to the exciting multimedia opening, guests were treated to a twenty minute theatrical performance in the College’s state of the art theatre which our team stage produced and managed for them. Working alongside talented drama, music and dance students our teams aim was to help the students put on a first class show to reflect the talent and quality of learning available at the college.

We also brought in professional artists through The Sage Gateshead to work alongside the students in a partnership based production. Among the artists was Katie Doherty, the first ‘folk degree’ graduate from The Sage Gateshead.

Gala Celebration

The week of events concluded with a gala evening held in the college’s restaurant EAT, which our team transformed from daytime refectory to swish and stylish night time venue. This was achieved through the introduction of wall and floor branding, lit floral table centres and a vibrant lighting scheme. Catering students worked alongside professionals to provide imaginative food and a specially created cocktail. The final creative conclusion was a stunning musical firework spectacular choreographed to a specially produced programme featuring top blockbuster movie themes.

Following the success of the Baltic Campus Official Opening, the AHE team were appointed to stage a second opening for the College, this time at their Skills Academy.

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