Friday, 26 August 2011

Edinburgh Fringe 2011

This year my brother, Jack Britton, performed with 'Gagging for Attention' at Edinburgh Fringe, a show composed by DMU's footlights. Going along for family support, we never expected what an amzing few days we would have.

Stepping off the airlink bus, we were surrounded by a mass of gothic architecture framed by the ever so close and gorgeous hilly landscape. Whilst getting lost on the way to our hostel, we were bombarded with flyers and information about the amazing range of shows that were on throughout the festival. It now seems naive to not have expected this, as everyone who performs flyers to get people to their shows, and I had to empty my bag every few hours.

Meeting up with my mum and jack, Josh and I joined them to see The Horne Section in George Square. This late night comedy variety show was so brilliant. They combined a sense of circus with nightly-changing special guests (we were lucky enough to see Simon Munnery, Ed Byrne and Beardyman!). The audience participation was hilarious and we came out absolutley buzzing from our first show.

The next day, we packed in as much as possible, starting with Shakespeare's Monkeys, a small free production starring two female comedians performing hilarious Shakespeare alternatives. Sitting at the front row, Josh received the full brunt of the participation, being named 'Gemma' (Macbeth's witches personal assistant) throughout the entire performance. Hilarious.

Gagging for attention was brilliant and I am very proud of my baby bro performing to sold out audiences! The comedy from these youngsters is fresh, dry and genuinly very, very funny. They are a great bunch and we are positive they will be going very far on the comedy circuit!

The best show we saw by far was Randy Is Sober, a puppet performance by an Australian comedian. Brilliantly funny and breaking the fourth wall. I laughed uncontrollably at times and seemed to quite annoy the man next to me.

Coming back to England was pants. Edinburgh is the most beautiful city I've ever been to and it won't be long at all before we go back!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Tony & Nisha's Wedding

Back in April of this year, The Old Library played host to the wedding of Tony and Nisha. We began working with the couple at the beginning of January and with less than three months to go, got straight into organising their big day.

Nisha gave us a brief of ‘Indian wedding without being ‘Bollywood’” which was an exciting task for The Old Library team. We worked closely with the couple on the logistics of a 150 guest ceremony, a kitsch-y vintage twist on a drinks reception in Zellig’s Nomad and a self catered Indian feast for the reception. The overall decor of the wedding reflected Nisha’s Indian heritage as well as giving a fresh Easter feel to the venue.

The day began with excited friends and family arriving at The Old Library as a nervous Nisha waited in The Study for the ceremony to begin. Tony greeted his gorgeous soon-to-be bride at the altar and after a beautiful service, emerged man and wife to the sounds of Led Zeppelin.

Steve Gerrard, a resident at The Custard Factory and a close friend of the couple, photographed the whole wedding, taking in the unique urban surroundings of The Custard Factory including The Rainbow and Digbeth’s epic railway arches. Steve says “(The) wedding was pretty relaxed and laid-back, just like the couple. The Old Library is a venue which I’ve been keen to shoot a wedding at and I was impressed how great it looks when it’s all decorated for weddings.” Steve’s photographs reflect the modern and distinctive setting of The Custard Factory and the cool and relaxed personalities of this Bride and Groom and we look forward to having him back shooting weddings this summer.

Tony and Nisha held their drinks reception in Nomad, a funky space available for hire in Zellig. Decorated by friends of the couple, the space was accentuated with bunting and the couple’s initials embedded in the faux-grass walls.

During this time, The Old Library staff transformed the main space for dinner and the guests were welcome back into a light and spring-time atmosphere. The couple went with our self-catering package and the food was incredible! The pans and vats just kept coming and the traditional Indian wedding feast was enjoyed by all. We arranged to have the curries served in small bowls, reflective of Thali dishes.

The guests went on, partying to the sounds The Dark Hearts and DJ friends Steve and Steph. The wedding was a huge success and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. The friends and Family of Tony and Nisha were wonderful guests to have with us at The Old Library and we wish the happy couple all the best in their future together.

Photographs Courtesy of Steve Gerrard Photography

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Diesel Island Disco

The summer has begun! And it kicked off in serious style this year at The Old Library, with Diesel’s Island Disco – beginning their Diesel School of Island Life Project – a series of lessons, field trips and parties featuring inspiring industry experts from creative and cultural fields’ (Mr Hudson being one to grace the walls of The Custard Factory at a separate event in May).

The set up was a day of creative productivity which transformed The Old Library into Diesel Island – a place for the cool kids of retail across the land of Birmingham to be immersed in the sounds of artists such as Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Mumdance as well as an array of complementary summer rum cocktails and fruit ciders.

Diesel supplied their own set and theming (which had travelled the length of the UK for previous Island Discos) including some wonderfully handmade cardboard foliage which took over , and almost seemed to grow throughout the night, twisting up our grand archways and creeping in behind our newly refurbished bar. Various backdrops were roped up inside and out of the venue, displaying a taste of island life and the fabulous fashions that can be seen there. And of course, what would a 2011 summer party be without a bit of bunting (or in this case… a lot of bunting!) The stage was surrounded by bamboo and cleverly placed on each side, were two projectors, flaunting the mass tweeting and huge buzz around the Diesel Island Disco’s that had been and still to come to major cities in the UK.

The party was a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by all guests, staff and crew. We are very proud to have hosted such a popular event and really look forward to seeing the Diesel Islander’s again very soon.

Charlie and The Custard Factory

At Custard Factory Spaces, one thing we pride ourselves on is making events that can often be boring and mundane in other venues, fun, experiential, interactive and memorable. A perfect example of this would be the Mars Conference, held late last year. Mars approached us with a brief to create a full site, interactive event for 120 delegates.

The day began in our 1850’s Old Library venue, most popular for conferences with it’s beautiful vaulted ceiling, sweeping archways, gothic windows and bespoke made electrical blinds. Mars brought along interesting pop ups and branding, product stations and cut out characters (including a very realistic moving Mr T!). Their fantastic branding was further enhanced with our theming and design which included a bespoke stage set with focus lighting and multi coloured table linens (reflective of M&Ms). We also provided handmade table centres – Fish bowls internally decorated with sweet wrappers, and lit from the inside. Overall, a very inviting (and rather delicious) looking space was created. And just when you thought they couldn’t indulge any more, our in house catering supplied bespoke cupcakes, handmade with Malteasers, Mars Bars, M&M’s and Milky ways. Guest speakers at the event included Mary Portas (BBC’S Mary Queen of Shops) who gave her take on the future of vending machines, and the Managing Director of Mars who gave motivating speeches on branding.

The delegates were later taken on to the other interactive elements of the event, situated in Zellig, The Custard Factory’s latest renovation which hosts a fantastic flow of natural light and modern art. One room, set up for a theatre style seminar, and another in the style of a retro corner shop where products were placed on point of sale pods to create the experience of childhood sweet shopping. A third breakout space was held in The Custard Factory’s old cinema where product advertising was shown. Here, the delegates were treated again, this time to a fair ground style pop corn machine and little bags placed on every seat for each well behaved boy or girl to fill up, and munch to their heart’s content!

At the end of the day, everyone delighted in a complimentary goodie bag containing the mars product cup cake, a variation of mars produce, mars product information and a book from a popular author.

All elements of this event were incredibly successful. These kind of themes go hand in hand with the vibes of The Custard Factory and are still looking to prove popular in 2012 in conferences, weddings and private functions. And let’s face it, we all love a bit of free chocolate!