13 Nov

Corbyn media scrum, pop-up circus, 1950s drive-thru cinema, Topshop catwalk….all in a week’s work at the QEII

We always say that no two days are the same here at QEII and since the completion of our summer refurbishments that’s been truer than ever.

The variety of events we’re holding here is growing and growing and this was showcased brilliantly in October with one of our wildest weeks to date.

Spend a week in the life of the QEII Centre and this is what you might see.

Saturday 12 September

It’s a huge day at the QEII Centre as we host the Labour leadership conference. We’ve hosted thousands of conferences over the years, but few come close to this in terms of public interest and we know there’s going to be a media frenzy when the new leader is announced. This means it’s all hands on deck, not only to prepare all the conference facilities but to get the security team in place outside in preparation for the leadership candidates’ arrivals.

As each potential leader arrives, their supporters cheer and paparazzi capture them, until they are ushered through the doors into the relative calm of the foyer and taken upstairs into the conference theatre.

When the results are announced and Jeremy Corbyn is named as the new leader, the crowds in the theatre roar – regardless of what you think about politics and who you support it’s an incredible atmosphere and puts everyone on a high.

The media are waiting outside again when the conference closes and attendees depart, but Jeremy Corbyn manages to slip out unnoticed and head to the pub. After the crazy morning we’ve had here, quite a few of our team will be doing the same later!

Monday 14 September

After a day of relaxation on Sunday, its back to working hard on Monday as we prepare for QEII’s ‘Outside the Box’ showcase event. We want to show off the works that have been carried out over the summer and how they have improved the centre’s events capability, so we’ve invited clients, partners, event planners and the media to attend a top secret party to see just what we can do.

None of the details have been revealed yet so the surprises make it even more impressive on the night, but we have a lot of work to do with our event theming partner Eventologists to dress the centre and make sure every detail has been taken care of ahead of the event.

Wednesday 16 September

It’s here. Today’s the day we see the results of our hard work and investment at ‘Outside the Box’.  The whole team have been involved, from QEII Live looking after the AV and production to QEII Taste preparing a delicious range of themed food and cocktails.

The doors open to welcome guests into a secret garden blooming with cherry blossom trees, rustic oak arches entwined with flowers and pretty lanterns. With grass underfoot and a panoramic view across the green to Westminster Abbey to enjoy, new-look exhibition space The Britten offered true escapism to the sounds of acoustic trio The Wandering Hands, who soon had guests dancing to renditions of feel-good hits.

Further surprises awaited behind red curtains when a gregarious ringmaster appeared, beckoning the crowd into his pop-up circus filled with such retro memorabilia as a candy floss seller, head-in-the-hole cut-outs and strongman comedy act The Acrochaps, whose curly moustaches, leopard print leotards and impressive feats of strength had guests cheering.

Beyond the circus was an American 1950s style drive-thru cinema complete with cheeky rollergirls, Mustangs, a screening of Grease and a buffet full of treats including mini hot dogs, mini burgers, rocky road cheesecakes, Baileys and Kahlua milkshakes and strawberry sundaes.

Guests at the event were wowed and entertained and it was a great chance for all of the team here to see their hard work come to fruition and join in the celebrations.

Friday 18 September

You might think that after all of the week’s excitement we’d be winding down and getting ready for a weekend away from work, but QEII is no nine-to-five venue and we have another massive event coming up on Sunday to prepare for.

Its London Fashion Week and we’re hosting one of the most exciting events of the week – the Topshop Unique Spring/Summer 2016 Collection.

The American diner and the circus have gone and the catwalk is under construction, ready for fashion royalty to arrive and the inevitable media scrum that will come with it.

Sunday 20 September

We’re up bright and early to prepare for the show, which begins at 2pm and is being streamed live on the Topshop website, showing QEII to the world.

This show is a great example of what can be done with a blank canvas – everything from the carpeting to the rigging has been brought in just for this event, making it as unique as the brand itself.

As expected, Topshop has attracted the type of front row designers dream of. Vogue fashion mogul Anna Wintour is snapped sitting alongside supermodel Suki Waterhouse, Cressida Bonas, style icon Alexa Chung and American model and actress Bella Thorne, while social media is going crazy with the likes of Grazia and even Vogue Japan tweeting and instagramming from the show.

It’s great profile for the centre and yet another example of how our upgrades and refurbishments have broadened the scope of events we can host. If we can do all this in one week, just imagine what we can do in the next year!

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