We were recently approached by high end department store Selfridges in Birmingham to create one of our most ambitious projects yet - A functioning theatre space on the fifth storey of the Bullring’s Moor Street car park.
The ‘reFASHIONed Theatre’ project is a collaboration between Selfridges, Birmingham Royal Ballet, The Old Rep, mac, RADA and the Birmingham School of Acting, as part of Selfridge’s annual Live + Loud festival, which seeks to celebrate local talent.
With a little creative technical production, we transformed an area of the car park into a space reminiscent of a traditional thrust stage, with the audience surrounding the long rectangular stage on two sides and the backstage area connected by its upstage end.
The temporary structure was fabricated from a 32m by 15m Prolyte H30V Truss Box that was then clad on the exterior with OSB boards and fitted with twin-wall polycarbonate for internal walls in a reception area to create a welcoming ambience through backlit walls.
We provided full technical production for the main pop-up theatre and additional reception area; featuring opaque walls backlit with Philips eStrip 10 LED battens to create an atmospheric entrance. The theatre itself comprised of LiteDeck stage units for the thrust stage, L-Acoustics speakers and amplification, together with 12 Prolyte Truss towers housing Robe and Martin Professional LED lighting and moving heads – Which enabled the various productions throughout the week to be personalised through adaptive lighting effects to suit their individual needs and requirements.
The pop-up theatre, which holds 150 people, hosted a variety of different events from 28 Sep – 1 Oct, with the emphasis particularly placed on the work of Shakespeare. This included a previously sold-out and acclaimed performance of Macbeth – Kill Bill Shakespeare, a re-imagining of one of Shakespeare’s most well-known tragedies by Quentin Tarantino and performed by Birmingham School of Acting.
The Autin Dance Theatre performed a selection of dance pieces inspired by Shakespeare’s words, whilst the Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company performed contemporary takes on the Bard’s work.
The reFASHIONed Theatre project follows a similar event that took place within Selfridge’s London store to mark the 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare’s death.
Commenting on the project, Serena Tutt, marketing manager at Selfridges, Birmingham said:
“On were a complete pleasure to work with. They understood so well what we were looking for and worked to our brand guidelines and expectations perfectly.
They truly owned the project, and took away the hassle allowing us to concentrate on the other event elements. They were not fazed by our high standards, constant or last minute changes and were highly professional at all times, delivering an outstanding production!”
Guy Eaton, managing director at On, added:
“We never fail to be blown away by the concepts presented to us by clients, and this project was certainly no exception.
“It’s not every day you’re allowed to convert your average car park into something as elaborate as a fully functional theatre for such a high profile programme of events.
“We really enjoyed working with the Selfridges team and I hope we can get involved in future projects with them.”