By Jeffry Denman, Creative Production Manager
As a relative newcomer to the events industry, one of the first things I found I could really connect to – and indeed had to connect to – was the why: the reason behind the event. I come from a long career in the theatre: as an Actor first, then as a Writer/Choreographer and finally as a Director. In that part of my career, the Why was behind every move I made. Why was my character saying what they were saying? Why did I want a dancer to perform a certain move? Why did I want the Lighting Designer to highlight a certain moment?
In theatre, and in all art, the why is where the artist meets the audience. Human beings are puzzle solvers, whether they realize it or not, and they will absolutely notice when something doesn’t add up. This is the difference between the Broadway show you LOVED and the one that was just, like….okay. So, attending to the why at every level is imperative if you don’t want to lose anyone. I want to give them just enough information to keep them enticed and interested but I don’t want to give the whole store away. It makes for very engaging theatre. We like to say, the audience leans forward in their seat. That’s when it’s at its best.
Well, if we want our Event Audiences to do the same we have to be attending to the why. Events don’t generally have the luxury of a gathered audience, sitting in seats all facing the point of focus the way a theatrical show does. You may have multiple points of focus, the event may also a networking event not just the big immersive entertainment pop you’ve planned. That and countless other aspects are going to make grabbing their focus very tricky. But by staying close to the why we can do it. That’s why it’s the first thing I ask a client.
Then, we make sure that the theme is threaded through everything, including the production numbers, the décor, the lighting and the….well you get it. It constantly reminds the participants that there is a greater meaning to the event.
Events, at their best, provide an escape from the quotidian aspects of our clients’ day and gives them an endorphic release (yes, I just made that word up. But all words are made up) while also framing it in their industry. It’s our job to meet them there and have exciting, engaging and interesting moments for them to interact with.
So, ignore the Why at your peril.