For the last three years, Entec has been proud to support the annual Roar With Laughter comedy galas at Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo, organised by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) to raise funds for endangered wildlife. This year, the company provided a full production design service, comprising sound, lighting, video and crew to facilitate a show that starred comedians Dara O’Briain, Rob Deering, Seann Walsh, Aisling Bea, Alan Davies, Imran Yusuf and Kevin Eldo, contributing to the £300,000+ that the events have so far raised and directly ploughed back into conservation.
James Wren, ZSL’s fund raising director, explained the background to the show: “ZSL works in over 50 countries around the world and our ultimate goal is to protect wildlife and their habitats. That is quite a brief to fulfil and we have to raise a lot of money to do that work. Historically, we used to rely on raising funds directly through the two zoos we operate, in London and Whipsnade, but there was a need for us to branch out further.
“We started Roar With Laughter five years ago. One of our staff used to work in comedy before she joined ZSL and her connections inspired us to start working with some of these acts who generously donated their time. As well as the annual Apollo shows we also host smaller events at ZSL London Zoo which help to boost our funds.”
Entec’s crew – sound engineer Maurizio Schiavi, lighting/video designer Will Wright and lighting technicians Simon Chandler-Honnor and Paddy Farr – worked alongside ZSL staff from both zoos who kindly volunteered their time.
“It’s been a case of harnessing the skills we have within our organisation and getting the best out of people,” explained Wren. “Andrea Dempsey was a professional stage manager before she joined us so we’re grateful to her for reprising that role. Ali Corbett is our internal special events manager and Jessica Carter works with her in the special events team, and they are supported by a strong team from the charity.
“We are blessed to have benefitted from Entec’s experience and resources for the three most recent events, and in the absence of our own dedicated technical production manager, their crew cover that function very skilfully.”
LIGHTING & VIDEO
Having previous experience of ZSL events gave Will Wright the essential know-how required to design both the lighting and video for this year’s gala. “Ali Corbett was my main go-to person from the outset,” he said. “I think ZSL have always been happy with what we’ve done but they wanted to achieve a different look this year with more brand awareness, especially in the ‘dead spot’ below the screen, hence the two large styrofoam ZSL logos that dominated the stage which I up-lit with ChromaQ ColorForce 72 LED battens, the colour scheme being very important from a corporate perspective.”