We have worked with The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust on their annual ‘Proud Awards’ for the last two years, an event which usually takes the form of an impressive gala dinner with over 400 attendees at the Magna Science Adventure Centre. It creates a fantastic opportunity to recognise the hard work, commitment and achievements of colleagues across The Trust each year.

The Trust were in a fortunate position in that they had a meaningful time-frame to re-think their annual gala and plan an alternative virtual event, which was a welcome change from a lot of the projects and clients we worked with earlier in 2020 who were forced to transform their events to a virtual format with incredibly short notice.

We were able to work closely with the event organisers throughout planning and delivery offering creative solutions and ideas to help shape the event. We also organised a valuable pre-event site visit to our purpose-built, covid-safe studio space to finalise details and undertake a run-through with the event team and Dixie from Heart Radio who presented the evening.

We opted for YouTube to stream the event, a popular option as most audiences are familiar and comfortable with using the platform. The stream was also made available for those who were unable to tune in live and to date, it has received over 2,700 views (you can view it here).

By streaming the event from the AYRE studio, we were able to create a bespoke set with Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust branding, and even rainbow lighting solutions as a nod to the rainbows which have been used to demonstrate an appreciation of the NHS throughout COVID-19.

The show was a combination of live and pre-recorded segments and we worked closely with the Trust to create, collate and share content ahead of time. As always, the event featured cameos from well-known faces including Graham Norton, Strictly Come Dancing’s Neil Jones, journalist and broadcaster Owain Evans and former footballer, Paul Elliott CBE. We also had a selection of speeches, emotive video montages and even performances from employees across The Trust, including a poem, an instrumental performance and a solo singer.

Broadcasting events from our studio space enables us to give full technical support and ultimately a smoother, more professional finish. We utilised two camera positions for the broadcast to bring more depth and variety to the event and even added a little pizzazz to the proceedings with special non-pyro effects to welcome Dixie to the stage.

To ensure the event was still interactive and immersive for attendees, we had a separate system feeding into the main broadcast which showed real-time comments for the host in the studio to answer and react to. The event team was also really active on social media, engaging with attendees in real-time, re-sharing content and posting announcements of the winners. They also utilised a clever virtual collection box system to drive donations throughout the evening.

If you’re looking at your 2021 event programme, get in touch with our team now so we can share our expert knowledge and help you to plan different options, from fully virtual to studio hybrid set-ups and even face-to-face events when the time comes. The more prepared you can be, the more flexibility you have to adapt and respond to changing guidelines and ensure you get the most out of your events.