The 2018 School Games National Finals, supported by National Lottery funding from Sport England and delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, is a major multi-sport event for the most talented young athletes across the UK.

Between Thursday 30 August and Sunday 2 September, more than 1,400 young athletes competed across 11 sports, five of which include disability competition, at venues across Loughborough University Campus.

Now in its 13th year, the School Games prides itself on providing a fun, competitive and safe environment for our future sports stars to experience a large, multi-sport event.

The Project

In previous years the School Games would host an opening and closing ceremony for all of the athletes, mentors, volunteers and supporters. This year they decided to host a single evening celebration mid-way through the games.

The brief asked us to produce a show that would incorporate singers, dancers, compares, a guest speaker and a band all rolled into a 45-minute show which would be held outside with an audience of 2000 people. Our approach was to bring in a large trailer stage which would accommodate the acts and give us a ready to go structure which we could rig from and add branding too.

A selection of moving and static lights were deployed above the performers giving us plenty of front light for the audience to see the action on stage. We also added a selection of front effect lights behind the performers and along the front edge of the stage roof. The blinders along the top gave us the ability to enhance key moments of performance and are always a crowd pleaser. The front effect package consisted of LED colour and LED tungsten look lights, giving us lots of options for the show. Finally, we added LED up-lighters to the building behind the stage which helped add to the scale of the performance area.

Careful consideration was made to the sound for this event as we were in close proximity to working buildings and also to sports venues which were in use for the School Games. The location was also very close to a large residential area and we chose a system that allows us to minimise the impact sound can have, focusing the system on the audience area.

Due to the audience size, we need a camera solution that would give them the ability to see close-ups of the presenters and performances. The event was being live streamed as well so we needed to make sure that the audience at home could also see the event as a whole. A 4 camera setup was installed for the event with 2 of them static to help keep costs down for the client. We went with a wide shot of the stage and also a wide shot of the audience to give the people watching the live stream an idea of the scale of the event. We had a cameraman off to the side which covered everything from wide shots and close-ups of the stage to interviews by the side of the audience area. We also had a roaming camera on-stage giving us a selection of dynamic shots we could use in the broadcast. All of this was also relayed to a large 6.5 meter wide LED screen set off to the side of the stage.

We wanted to give the audience a great finale experience and proposed a full fireworks display to finish the event off with. We had a few challenges to overcome which included firing off of the roof of a building, closely watching the wind direction to make sure certain areas where not in the fallout zone and selecting the right type of fireworks for the display as the firing location was next to Loughborough Universities 3G Astro pitch.

For this event, we needed to bring in specialist skills to cover the scope of the work. Sussex Events Ltd worked with us due to their vast experience with outdoor events which brings many different challenges and pyrotechnics experts Frontier Fireworks worked with us to produce the final display. All of us worked together during meetings with the client to be able to highlight and resolve any issues through the planning stages and during the event we worked as one team bringing our respective skills together to produce a fantastic and memorable event for our client, the participants and the audience.