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Creating a two-storey stage set for The Hyde Group

We’ve had the pleasure of working with The Hyde Group for many years. We understand the business, admire their story and we have a great relationship with the team so we know that their all-staff conference is always a fantastic opportunity to be creative and live by our mantra of Challenging the Ordinary.

Setting the bar with our 2017 event

Hyde Housing

The Hyde Group were founded back in 1967 to tackle the housing crisis and to this day their work continues to have a huge impact and really change lives. The all-staff conference unites a team of 1,200 people with a simple purpose – inspiring and motivating the team to understand how important the work they do is. We deliver this through emotive content, an interactive format and by using real customers sharing their stories.

The last event was back in 2017 and celebrated the company’s 50th anniversary, so we put on a massive show with a vibrant festival theme. To build on the success of that event, we came to them this year with lots of new ideas including the concept of a two-storey interactive stage set – a perfect visualisation for a housing industry event.

The first look at the set as the audience take their seats

Set design with depth

As a team, we first came up with the idea during the proposal process. The exterior would look like a row of Hyde terrace houses, the and interior would reveal homely spaces in which to host talks, panels and presentations. Large screens also delivered content including VTs filmed by our in-house video team.

Our Creative Director Steve Hartley drew inspiration from an unlikely source – the fashion industry…

I’d seen some really cool stage sets during fashion week events where models walked over a two storey space, really showing off the products and creating a sense of theatre for the audience. With Hyde, we always come back to housing at the core of everything, so I liked the idea of creating a full, two storey house complete with a living room, kitchen and bedroom – so that the speakers could interact with different spaces for different sessions.

As a design team we set about incorporating each element for practical use – from a kitchen table for a friendly panel discussion, to a real front door that presenters would walk through to enter the stage. It represented different customers and reflect the Hyde brand throughout.

HGA Creative Director Steve Hartley
A kitchen table provided a friendly space for a panel discussion
Small details from the design team created a cosy atmosphere

A team effort

This was a typical team effort for HGA. Our technical team worked with the venue CADs to create the best use of space and then the design team visualised both the interior and exterior to give it a Hyde brand feel and to meet the brief of reflecting what a Hyde home would be – modest, modern and coming in all shapes and sizes. We developed our plans using our 3D rendering software to imagine how it would look and feel and I worked closely with the client throughout to organise how and when they would use each space.

Event Producer Becky and Creative Designer Phil worked side by side on the plans
A 3D render of the set design

Creating a dramatic reveal

This then led to another idea of revealing each room throughout the presentations so when guests first take their seats they don’t realise what is about to come. The surprise gasps as spaces were revealed was a very satisfying sound to hear! It created a level of excitement and anticipation as they realised there was more to see. As each room was revealed, it tracked forwards to give everyone in the audience a good view. For a fun and interactive family fortunes session we even build a front garden using both a hedge and a fence as the panels to carry on the home them throughout.

Family Fortunes in ‘the garden’

Working with the space

Inevitably, with such a complex stage set came challenges and all event professionals know the pressure of extended build times and fitting in rehearsals. With only one day to rig and build, we knew this was ambitious. Extra morning rehearsal time was factored in to allow for an overrun of the build, giving the presenters time to familiarise themselves with their new home for the day! Matt Allwright, our lovely host, was amazing and took direction really well. We used an earpiece to communicate with him during his time on stage due to the complex stage movements.

This was such an exciting event to work on and a really lovely collaborative experience with the client. There were lots of deadlines to hit and complex elements to pull off but with open communications and careful planning, it all went very smoothly.

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