Summer 2015

Event Staging

Here’s a peek at some of the exciting events Freeman Audio Visual has recently staged in Toronto, Ontario.

Friends of We Care Vintage Circus

The Friends of We Care organization relies on events as major fundraising tools. Throughout the year, the organization works with countless volunteers to bring the foodservice and hospitality industry together with the goal of raising funds to send kids with disabilities to summer camp. When asked to produce a Vintage Circus-themed event for their annual gala, Freeman solutionists’ imaginations went wild with décor possibilities.

Hall 1 of the International Centre was divided into two separate rooms, with completely different purposes. As guests entered the venue, the entrance to the first room was decorated with a red and white custom tent rooftop archway to make the attendees feel as though they were entering the Big Top for a night at the circus.

Once inside, the room was laid out in a carnival setting with gaming stations, a tented silent auction area and various theme-branded stages for entertainment acts. Freeman Audio Visual custom painted the front of the stages with a faux-antique coating using the colours and imagery found on Friends of We Care’s event invitation.

Red and white polysilk fabric swags were draped onto twin 32’ diameter truss circles on the ceiling, creating the peaks of an indoor tent. These configurations were perfectly positioned to hang various lighting fixtures, including sixteen 48’ long festoon light strings which helped to create that old school vintage circus vibe.

At the appropriate hour, a traveler curtain to the left of the main entertainment stage opened revealing the dining space. Dim lighting, hanging silk and crystal curtains helped to create an intimate dining environment. For visuals and speaker IMAG, a central 12’x36’ screen was positioned above the main stage and flanked by 9’x16’ screens on either side, while matching 9’x16’ screens hung at the back of the room.

The silent auction was facilitated by a Daana System which connected the bids from iPads to the main screen.

“The incredible experience and expertise of the entire Freeman Audio Visual team made our event an overwhelming success,” said Kevin J. Collins, Executive Director, Friends of We Care. “From start to finish, they were amazing to work with.”

The Leacock Foundation’s 16th Annual Great Fundraising Debate

Founded by Peter Oliver, a partner of Oliver & Bonacini Events, The Leacock Foundation works to inspire and empower youth in need through literacy and leadership opportunities. The Carlu Event Theatre, a historic event space described as one of Toronto's best examples of Art Moderne architecture, played host to the 16th Annual Leacock Debate, a witty and humourous fundraising gala moderated by American journalist, humorist and novelist Calvin Trillin. Four-hundred guests watched as Globe & Mail columnist Tabatha Southey and Conrad Black debated lawyer William McDowell and former Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie on this topic: “Be it resolved that the cream always rises to the top.”

Oliver’s vision for the event was an intimate, refined stage setting that enhanced the elegance of the venue and had the look and feel of a contemporary-home living room. As The Carlu is a classic art-deco designed space, Freeman Audio Visual Canada deliberately selected the set’s colour tones, accent lighting and artwork décor to complement the original scheme of the room. Little touches, like art deco window glass designs and custom art deco lectern inserts, were also designed to emulate details found in the event space.

The set was designed to sit on the stage at a 30-degree angle with an elevated back-entrance “hallway” for grand walk-ons. Freeman covered the stage entirely with broad-loomed carpet for a luxurious, homey feel. The original wooden and aluminum front stage grating was concealed by Freeman with a custom-designed wooden frame panel covered in black fabric. This black base gave the illusion that the entire set was floating from the audience’s standpoint, which helped to immerse them further in the scene.

A sponsor loop and video playback content were displayed on a flown 9’x16’ projection screen and two 50” monitors built into the side walls. All three display surfaces were surrounded with custom-molded silver picture frames to match the elegant set. Finishing touches, like borrowing a 1940’s antique wooden radio from an employee’s family member, were noticed by the client and staff of the venue.

“Working with Freeman was a pleasure. They listened closely to what we wanted to achieve and executed our vision accurately,” said Oliver. “Creating the right atmosphere for the evening contributed greatly to our overall fundraising goals. They are real pros.”

We would like to acknowledge the following Freeman Audio Visual staff and crew members for contributing to the success of this event: Becky Kenning, Wentworth Willock, Michael Corson, Andy Karosas, Darryl Mathews, Chuck Corrigan, Sherman D’Souza, Chris Lampman, John Palmer, Daniel Sonenberg, Victor Kong, Rob Noble, Brian Johnson, Chris Burns, David McSherry, Sean Austin, Mike Whissell, Emil Jany, Sean Cassidey, Bill Sterling, Dan Cumming, Ryan Timmins, Marc Porter, Gershon Salveratnam and Steve Everison.