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Client: Association of University Directors of Esates (AUDE)
Event: Gala Dinner & Awards 2017

To create and deliver a memorable gala dinner and awards night for 160 Directors of University Estates.


Particular challenge:
The gala dinner is the highlight of the annual conference and the focal social event for the Association. This was the third time the Association had held an awards event, and it was important to project a growing sense of gravitas to sponsors, entrants and winners.



manchester gala dinner organiser aude band

How did we meet the objectives and overcome challenges:

The venue selected was Whitworth Hall at the University of Manchester, with a drinks reception in Christies Bistro.  The Grade II listed building was completed in 1902 and is a magnificent backdrop for any event requiring grandure.  Guests enjoyed performances from a string quartet and keyboardist from the Royal Northern College of Music as well as a roaming Great Gatsby 4-piece band.

The Main Hall was dressed to reflect the neogothic design of the building and had AUDE and sponsor-themed centre pieces and gobo lighting. The author, broadcaster, Gulf War 1 veteran and POW, John Nichol was our after-dinner speaker. Following stage presentations, award winners were invited to have photographs taken in front of a step-and-repeat wall, branded to AUDE and the award sponsors.

On particular challenge that we had to overcome was that in order to use the existing integral stage space using rear-projection, we would've had to place a set in front of the original, ornate wooden paneling, that featured throughout the Hall.  It would've  been such a shame to have obsured such a fantastic feature of the building's design, so we photographed the entire existing stage backdrop and had it created as the new beckdrop.  You could only tell the difference on close inspection!


93% of evaluation respondents stated that the dinner met or exceeded their expectations; 95% described the entertainment as good or excellent and 100% rated the room dressing and theming as good or excellent.

We are already well underway with the planning of the 2018 and 2019 events.

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“The Aude Awards were a wonderful part of this event.”

“My best gala dinner yet! Simply outstanding.”

“What a brilliant evening. It was exceptionally well done, I felt honoured to have been part of it.”

“A really exceptional experience.”

All of the above are quotes from attending Directors of Estates.