Each year in April, RIT Capital Partners, the family business of Lord Rothschild and leaseholder of Spencer House, holds its AGM at London’s most sumptuous event venue. As preferred suppliers at Spencer House, Metro Broadcast is tasked with providing the audio visual infrastructure for the event which spans adjoining State Rooms. The rooms at Spencer House, lovingly restored to their original design, contain a stunning array of priceless furnishings, fabrics, paintings and artefacts. Metro’s temporary installation for the event must be handled with utmost care.
Working with Spencer House’s Event Director Chris Stallworthy, Metro’s Kate Hills is responsible not only for the technical design but for overseeing the method statements for installing such a lot of equipment and the guidelines for working in such precious surroundings. Kate explains, “Working in Spencer House as often as we do gives us a really detailed knowledge of the venue. We work to pre-agreed plans for each of the main event spaces and, when possible, use the same technicians. This reduces risk and saves precious planning time and related costs.”
Chris Stallworthy, Event Director at Spencer House, has a particular challenge with this event; the AGM is open to all shareholders and therefore Chris is unable to predict the number of guests which might arrive. Metro’s solution is to relay sound and video across adjoining rooms. The Board of 13 members is seated at a long table in the Great Room – the largest of the State Rooms which seats 100 – and provided with both desk and tie mics. The adjoining Lady Spencer’s Room is also equipped to seat additional guests and the audio visual installation allows for communications between rooms.
Metro’s technicians film the event in the Great Room and use plasma screens and an extended PA system to relay the live presentations and to accommodate voting and a Q&A session. A table-top “comfort” monitor is positioned so that the Chairman of the Board can see and respond to the audience in the adjoining space.
Spencer House’s Chris Stallworthy says, “When Metro’s crew arrive on site, I know they will need minimal supervision and that the venue is in safe hands.”
Loading in for Metro Broadcast usually means carrying equipment (rather than wheeling it) into position to reduce wear and tear to the flooring and carpets. Cabling needs to meet Health & Safety requirements and must be tidy. Cameras or plasma screens which need to be supported on stands are carefully positioned to ensure there is no risk of damaging paintings, walls or carpets although they must still meet sight-line requirements as well as Health & Safety stipulations. Staging must be carefully supported and designed to work around carpets where possible.
Still owned by the current Earl Spencer, the lease for Spencer House was purchased in 1986 by RIT Capital Partners and the State Rooms and garden were restored to their original grandeur and made available to hire as one of London’s most splendid venues. Attracting a whole range of events from book launches to banquets and from civil weddings to conferences, the State Rooms at Spencer House contain some of London’s most lavish furnishings. Metro Broadcast has been working at Spencer House for over 15 years and handles almost all of the venue’s audio and visual installations.