Total Production

White Light Makes History At Magna Carta Anniversary

June 2015

Monday 15 June marked a historic day as royalty, members of Parliament, and other dignitaries all gathered to celebrate 800 years of the Magna Carta.

Taking place at Runnymede, now a National Trust Park, the event consisted of the unveiling of a new sculpture by artist Hew Locke, a re-enactment of the charter’s history by local schoolchildren, and a performance by the London Philharmonic Orchestra before culminating in several flypasts by a group of Red Arrows. The arena for the celebrations was built by Apollo Event Consultants and, due to the magnitude and historic relevance of the occasion, they wanted to create a setting that was unforgettable. As a result, they approached White Light to provide the lighting, having previously worked with the complete production solution specialist on other events.

The Magna Carta is one of the most important documents in British history. Issued in 1215 by King John of England after an uprising by his barons, it enforced the ruling that everyone in the country, including King John himself, was subject to the law. The document also had a huge impact on how countries should be run worldwide and was even used as the basis for the Declaration of Independence. Despite its age, it contains certain clauses which still have relevance to this very day. Tim Hanbury, Managing Director at Apollo Event Consultants, commented: “This was a hugely significant event to work on. As it is extremely rare to be able to celebrate such an important landmark, we had to ensure that the standards we implemented were the highest possible - hence the reason why we contacted White Light”. Apollo Event Consultants had the task of building a series of structures at Runnymede which could then be used for the day’s celebrations. Tim added: “We had to provide the entire infrastructure for the event such as the main arena, which included the orbit stage, along with all of the other staging, the guests’ seating and the dozen marquees which were all of different sizes”. 

It was White Light’s role to provide the lighting for the orbit stage, with particular focus being placed on the London Philharmonic Orchestra who performed at the event. Led by White Light’s Project Manager Phil Gladman, he stated: “This was a fantastic opportunity for White Light as we were essentially contributing to a part of British history. We worked closely with Apollo Event Consultants to not only ensure that we used the best equipment we had available but that this was the most appropriate in capturing the overall feel of the event”. 

The lights used on stage included ETC Source 4 Zooms, Arri 2K Fresnels, and Avolites Art 2000 48 Way Dimmer Racks – all controlled by an Avolites Pearl Control Desk. Following on from its recent expansion into audio and video, White Light was once again called upon to offer the full extent of its services. Phil commented: “We were also asked to provide the riggers requested by the other entertainment providers working on the event. Not only that but we supplied 86 music stands for the orchestra meaning that we played a role in all aspects of the staging”.

The Magna Carta 800th Anniversary had over 4,000 invited guests, and the notable dignitaries in attendance included Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Cambridge, Princess Anne, the Prime Minister, and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Tim commented: “Those in attendance were some of the most important figures, not only in the UK but across the globe. We had to create a setting which would not only match their expectations but also celebrate what was such a historic event. Thankfully, with the help of White Light, we were able to achieve this”. Phil added: “It is always a pleasure working with Apollo Event Consultants, something which we hope to do again in the future. To provide a range of our extensive services on an event such as this was an absolute privilege and it was extremely satisfying knowing we were able to fulfil such a specific brief on such an important occasion”.


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