How to organise a fantastic event in a historic auditorium

There are great many number of spaces you can use to organise a conference or event. From the neutral and inoffensive halls of hotels and conference centres, to the weird and wonderful escapes of country houses and rural retreats. However, the longest standing venue for some of the world’s best events is the auditorium. These are elegant and historically rich spaces, which one day could be the closing night of your favourite bands world tour. Then the next, an inspiring and deeply educational conference on the future of digital industries.

What is unique and special about an auditorium event?

Most conferences taking place in theatres and auditoriums have a single stream of content. This means that every attendee experiences exactly the same event as everyone in the audience. This is a highly-powerful way of making an impact on a community or industry. As an event organiser you now control the story told to a whole group of potentially influential people, over the course of one or maybe several days. The staging in these venues also offers you a great amount of flexibility over what you show on the big day; from keynote speeches and panel discussions, to live music and dance. Auditoriums and their respected stages are often designed with fast changes and versatility in mind. So, don’t be afraid to push the boundaries of what the space can do for you, in order to create something dynamic, exciting and engaging for your audience!

Historical venues also offer you the ability to feature the legacy and architecture of the space into the audience experience you create. When audiences enter vast and historic spaces, they often want to understand it’s past and how it has helped shape the community around it. Old venues often hold just as much interesting history as they do beauty and decorum. So, invest some time in learning about the stories and people who shaped it and see where the opportunities are to link these great tales to the story and themes of your own event. Small nuggets of intrigue and education like this can make major enhancements to your overall audience experience.

“We bring our 1,300 strong audience back to the Brighton Dome every year, because we deeply value the history of the venue and contributions it makes to our City. With an audience our size, we could easily move to a bigger space. However, we would never want to risk losing the rich history and identity that the Brighton Dome adds to our event”
Toby Moore, Curator of TEDxBrighton

How to get the most out of using an auditorium for your conference

1. Use the space as a marketing asset

Beyond just adding to the experience on the day, you can leverage the architecture, history and community aspects of your venue to increase the amount of story telling you build around the event. From impressive photography of the space itself, through to connecting your conference themes to the stories of the building. Go and look for all the great marketing opportunities

2. Imagine your event is a show!

You are going to want to make the most of your space, the stage and having all your audience in one place. You also want to ensure your event is as engaging as possible, so providing a mix of things to watch, listen to and interact with is key. Five hours of back-to-back seminars, won’t engage your audience and will risk wasting your investment in the space. You can achieve this by imaging your event as a show. Design the story you want to tell throughout the day and the energy curve of the audience that you expect to see in response. Consider things from how will make people feel welcome as they arrive, to how you will ‘wake them up’ after lunch.

3. Timing is everything

In single stream events, you don’t have to worry about people moving around from space to space, being late for that next session or going to the wrong room. But what you do have to think carefully about is getting everyone sat down by certain time, planning in enough comfort breaks, lunch and of course getting speakers and acts on and off stage effectively. So, plan your timings down to the minute. Work with your venue staff to come up with realistic expectations of getting people in and out of their seats. Practice your handover times on stage, decide how you’re going to get each speaker mic’d up and so on. Write an air-tight running order. But of course, always be prepared for the unexpected!

Running an event in an enchanting and impressive auditorium such as the Brighton Dome can really bring life and excitement to your event in ways you had never thought possible. Not only do we have historical spaces in the heart of the Brighton community to hold your next event within, but we also have a hugely dedicated and talented team of event producers and technicians, who can cover every detail of your event.