If you are thinking of university marquee hire, or for any other academic or student event propose, white clear-span frame marquees are lovely of course and they can create incredible, large indoor spaces for fantastic events.
But why not add a unique touch and step out from the crowd! Grab some colour! Boost your event theme and visibility!
Are you planning next years College Summer Ball, Student awards ceremony, Open day, PTA Function, School fete, Theatre production or Freshers fairs?
You may well need one of our tents! Or even some entertainment!
Bigtopmania have been lucky enough to work all around the country for various colleges, schools and universities.
In recent years this has included 3 trips to Scotland for St Andrews’s Big Top Balls with mammoth circus tent installs; various Oxford and Cambridge University summer balls, Bristol University, Birmingham University, Colleges including Bedfordshire, Chichester, Schools including Harrow.
It seems our alternative is proving to be a popular option for university and college event marquee hire…we are currently in talks with University of Northampton for a Feb 2018 event.
Summer 2017 schools, colleges and University marquee hire fun & frolics…a few recent events!
Most recently we supplied 2 brand new colourful circus tents/big tops to Bristol University for their fresher’s event on The Downs. The brightly coloured 12m round with new 8 foot walls for larger feeling space and a brand new 6x12m traditional marquee. The 2 tie in nicely to each other but helped to give the event a colourful focal point in the middle of their site.
Earlier in the season the boys had a good journey up to Cambridge for a short days work where only the roof of a fairly small open-sided tent was required as a bit of sun/rain shelter and also to add to their circus and funfair theme at the Newnham College Garden Party.
At Chichester College we supplied the large red and yellow tent for their student induction week and Principal’s address.
At Newport School in Barnstaple we supplied a large 400 seater theatre tent for various activities, children theatre show and the school’s anniversary. A small dressing room tent was installed behind therein one.
For Bedfordshire, Shuttleworth College student awards ceremony 2016 we supplied a large 500 seater red and white tent which they all used for the student ball after..
At Dumpton School in Dorset, we supplied a lovely tent with patriotic theme and circus trapeze rig for their PTA summer ball.
At Harrow school we supplied for about the 7th time, a marquee for the Grove boarding houses leaver’s meal.
For Leighton Park School in Reading in Feb 17, we supplied a selection of linked tents for their GCSE drama production of WoyZeck. Fabulous photo album here.
Casting the mind further back to last year, the team were working hard in Oxford in the beautiful grounds but pouring rain! We even had a very close call with a lightening strike. For a rather large Oxford university marquee hire install at Wadham College Wonderland ball of 4 Big Tops and various small tents.. What a beautiful event.
Whilst here you will see a 5 pole Red and White Big Top supplied to Bristol University Wills Hall Founders Ball for the welcome drinks reception at their 2016 summer ball. Let’s hope there was lots of drinks and lots of people to be welcomed!
Planning a University Event in 2018?
Please do get in touch as soon as possible, a lot of dates are already taken up for 2018 with weddings and festivals being every present in our schedule, but we will do our best to fit you in and add some circus sparkle to your event!
Super Party for the SuperVet;
A circus themed christmas party to remember.
If you read last weeks episode (blog post) you’ll know that Team Bigtopmania spent a Saturday afternoon busy in Surrey providing circus entertainment to a company christmas fun day. But the show doesn’t end there. Oh no! You’ve merely made it to the interval. It’s SuperVet Christmas Party time; So get your popcorn, sit back and enjoy the rest of this roller coaster ride of circus & event supplier rambling!
Can we supply a marquee for 300+ guests at tables?
Let’s set the scene before we get into the actual event. Our client Fitzpatrick Referrals, made contact with us at just the right time, way back in May 2014.
Honoured to be asked and from what I now know these Supervets and their amazing team do outstanding work.
Plan early! That’s a 6 month Christmas event planning lead in.. just right!
Good timing too. They were able to visit a nearby event we were doing for Farnham Lions “Indian Spectacular” for 400 guests.
Next Tip! Its really good to be able to see the tent and we like to let clients know if this is possible.
Here’s a picture of the set up on that occasion in May 2015
Farnham Lions Indian Spectacular
and there are even more tents behind. We look forward to working join their next big event in 2017 for 600 table seated guests!! That was a big event and it gave the present clients a good sample. So why not go bigger!
Tent for 300 guests + Large Foyer Bar Tent + Service tent + Stage + Dance floor + loos and lots of entertainment too! In Mid December!
The challenge was on and we produced a few plans and worked with the organiser Stuart (who also runs a therapy centre in Guildford. ) Stuart is a friend of Noel Fitzpatrick and event planned as a favour. I think he likes parties too!
One of the draft plans!
Next Tip; Don’t do it all yourself!
A production collaboration was in order as it was a huge job.
Cirque Noel ( Supervet Christmas Party) suppliers included;
The Event Build; Production phase.
It was a very windy site during site visits so we were well prepared with huge amounts of extra ropes, ratchets , and mega stakes. There was no way we were going to have any wind issues!
In the build week leading up to the big day we spent a couple of chilly days fighting the winter weather rigging the rather enormous 6 pole Red & White ‘Squirty Cream‘. This marquee served as the main function space giving 383 square metres of party space.
As soon as this tent was ready we informed Carron marquees that their work could begin!
We had delivered some kit and made some ground preparations in advance so we ended up a day ahead of schedule!
before the foyer and catering tent added
The space was lit with a combination of our fairy light systems, festoon lighting and globe lanterns to light the tent. Later Puxley Sound installed the stage lighting, projectors and battery operated up-lighters.
Before the carpets.
Tents were linked with a 4×4 chinese hat pagoda to a 9x15m candy-striped marquee that acted as the grand entrance tent.
Foyer tent install
Equipped with a well stocked bar and champagne to welcome guests.
well stocked bar
Entrance during event
The set up looked colourful and exciting when we left it, but by the time we returned with all the finishing touches; tables & chairs, decor, dance floor, a carpet and uplighters.
The venue looked quite stunning.
It’ll all be alright on the night.
When so much attention to detail has gone into the planning of a colourful vibrant event, it’s nice when the guests do it justice with an equally fantastic fancy dress effort.
Next Tip; Dress up!
Team Supervet did not disappoint. As well as gorgeous formal wear, there were plenty of leopard skin body suits, groups of strong ‘men’, a pantomime horse with both ends, all manner of clowns and ringmasters. It adds so much fun to the atmosphere from the start, it takes the fear out of atmos-fear!
Next tip; Book some great entertainment.
So after an already long day of performing circus shows down the road. The Bigtopmania team jumped straight into action. We provided mingling circus entertainment to give onlookers something to watch whilst they sipped champagne. Breaking the ice!
Emmanuel was keeping things simple with just a little bit of African bowl spinning and charismatic funny faces which always amuse me even after all these years.
Aerial Els was up high on stilts as a beautiful christmas fairy.
Lucas Jet and Moses did some walkabout juggling to the sounds of the wandering band.
After the guests found their tables,
The London Essentials then kicked things off with an en-mass rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody . . every-one joined in of course.
Then BANG! Generator fail. Smoke and Steam.. just like a car engine failure!
Next tip; at a big event, have at least a back up generator, some onsite electricians and ring for a replacement!
Back stage, people were madly running around trying to sort things out. For a while it was going to be a choice between power for catering or power for marquee.. but in the end Carron marquees brought a new generator. Only setting the schedule back by only 40mins or so. USE A LOCAL GENERATOR CO!
Next tip; Use an opportunity!
This unplanned power fail created a highlight for us and whilst we were having a break before the main show, word got back to the dressing room that the generator had failed (nothing to do with any of our kit thankfully). So the tent was in relative darkness apart from some battery powered LED uplighters round the edge and a small amount of lighting. Elanor had thankfully brought her glow clubs and they went straight in to action.
Next Tip; Battery up lighters. None of the guests noticed the power failure!
glow club juggling
Making use of the lower lighting and making it look like it was all part of the plan; Glow juggling and acoustic wondering band to the rescue!
The London Essentials band
The guests remained in high spirits and danced and sang and watched our juggling apparently with some of them not realising this wasn’t planned. Below shows a badly-filmed clip of the nice moment the lights came back on.
When the event power comes back on!
Next Tip; Use the opportunity for a rousing speech by the CEO! Catering back on one generator, sound lights and marquee on another;
microphone handed to Supervet Noel to do his CEO speech; striking, stirring and thanking his huge team.
Dressed as gothic ring master and full of encouragement and wicked sense of fun!
Or was it just an excuse to be able to get close and introduce Růženka Kunstýřová the WORLD POLE SPORTS CHAMPION DANCER 2015 ?
From Prague; world champion sports pole dancer
A great and sexy start to the shows in store.. but not quite as sexy when colleague vets got to have a go!
After the pole dancing it was meal time and during this the London Essentials continued to serenade table by table. A VERY recommended band.
juggling around the tables
I’m afraid i didn’t want to intrude on tables and meal with a camera so no pictures of that and apologies for the I phone unedited images. Lets move on to the
Post-Meal, Pre-Dancing Circus Show Time.
It wouldn’t be a Supervet Christmas Party without some circus!
We had previously installed a 5m high portable, mobile trapeze rig over the dance floor and the action packed show to follow was in front of the stage. We aimed for an action packed show full of skills and comedy of about 25mins long.
The SuperVet Christmas Party Entertainers were;
Lucas Jet who did his jumping over guests on a unicycle routine. He really shouldn’t have picked on our bookers; Noel and Stuart! The Uk African Acrobat Company provided tumbling, human pyramids, contortion and bowl spinning.
Aerial Els swung high on silks.
Moses Opiyo presented his sexy hand balancing act.
Straight after the show we dismantled the trapeze rig in just a few minutes and were ready for the first set by The Stage Band.
They got the dance floor full and it basically carried on that way into the night. After their second set, James ( who works with Chris Tarrant no less) took over as DJ to a very full dance floor.
The Supervet Christmas Party went on well into the night.
We cleared up over the next few days.
Field back to normal!
And we were told…
“In case I miss you during your pack down I just want to thank you and your brilliant team for their performances at what has been universally accepted by Fitzpatrick’s as the best party ever!!
The Big Top looked fantastic and your guys were all amazing.
I’m sure we will be in contact about future events and look forward to working with you again.”
I think between us we made this supervet christmas party into a very memorable affair!
It’s Christmas; It’s Circus Season (It was!).
Let’s review our Christmas Party Circus Entertainment.
But first; Happy New Year everyone! 2015 was fun!
December; always a busy month for events with celebrations and New Year’s parties galore.
This year Bigtopmania were extremely busy providing circus tents and circus theme event for christmas and seasonal events across London, Surrey, Cornwall and West Sussex.
Wapping Christmas Fair.
We started our December Christmas run back again in city centre London at an event in central Wapping organised by Community Solutions with local volunteer and Church help. Entirely focused on brining the community together, with charity stalls, Father Xmas, and lots more. The sun shone and this second Fair there was a great success. Wapping Christmas Fair, Community Solutions Blog post.
From Wapping, we had a mad week with large tents and shows in Godalming and Camberley in Surrey as well as a fairy lights installation in Launceston in Cornwall and some fire juggling shows at Chanukah events in Finchley and Golders Green London for Tzivos Hashem groups.
Giant Menora Lighting Golders Green
The huge crowd at this outdoor celebration. Fire Juggling stage show and more by PeteZa.
Peteza also performed once again for a playgroup party in Chilworth, Guildford; back for about the 15th time to the 3 and 4 year olds with lots of clowning nonsense!
Fairy Lights for Launceston Young Farmers Snow Ball at Launceston Town Hall.
During the mid week we installed tents for the weekend parties to come, but also managed to install a very pretty fairy light installation for the young farmers ball. ( They stayed in place for the mayors community dinner too). It was an interesting challenge doing this and used adapted parts, lots of ladder work and hundreds of meters of lights. Looked lovely!
Company Christmas Family Party
We were working as part of a larger project co-ordinated by Michael Charles from Julia Charles Events Management. Various suppliers came together to provide fairground rides, an ice rink and santa’s grotto with Bigtopmania providing the Christmas circus party entertainment in our beautiful little Big Top.
The team came together to supply a bespoke big top experience to wow the S C Johnson Ltd employees and families of the company.
The show featured;
- Chief Peteza in ringmaster & clown mode with knife throwing frolics.
- Moses Opiyo was hitting new heights with his hardstands, and braving the cold in just his gold leggings.
- Lucas Jet; Sky High Unicycling and juggler. Also debuting a club passing routine with Moses.
- Uk African Acrobat Company. Fabulous contortions, human pyramids and tumbling.
- Elanor Smith ; Aerialist from Pass Go Juggling; Rounding things on aerial silks to bring the house down.
We performed two shows and in-between shows we presented circus skills and giant bubbles to keep the kids amused entertaining around 500 people across the two audiences.
This day was a good example of how we can fit into a larger scale event but provide a low maintenance one stop solution. You don’t need to worry.. we will get on and do it! We provide lighting, p.a, the show, tiered seating, carpet, space heater.
Fitzpatrick Referrals (or Supervet); the mega Staff Christmas Party Circus .
You will have to wait!
There will be a separate post about our Fitzpatrick Referrals ( the ‘Supervet’) staff christmas party circus because so much of our resources went into it that it warrants a full article itself.
So as if you needed an incentive to check back next week, well, you now have one.
Cmed Staff Christmas Party Circus.
Cmed’s West Sussex office party was a relaxed lunchtime gathering in one of our tents at their location near Horsham.
The brief organised in conjunction with one of their head members of staff ( thank you for trusting us Georgina!) was a few hours of circus, food, informal, team building, party!
With 80 staff, we installed a small tent so there was no room to hide!
Guests/ Staff were greeted by bubbles and artists and each had a red nose and some costume accessories to wear on top of the Christmas jumpers.
Lunch from Monster Foods was very popular and the candy floss was splendid!
Show was by;
- Moses Opiyo; hand-balancing and hat juggling.
- Lucas Jet; Unicycling and juggling,
- Elanor Smith on Aerial Hoop with our new mini portable trapeze rig.
- Iris West; A new addition of fancy hula hooping.
- Clown PeteZa; comedy knife throwing
After the show we presented a group circus workshop which developed into splitting into random groups and present a Cmed’s Got Talent circus show. It was all about mingling and having fun.
Hey.. a very full Christmas Party Circus Season rammed with entertainment.
So what was the result of all this work?
Lots and lots of tent and equipment to clean in early January!
Nice start to 2016!
A while ago at the end of Sept 2012, the Bigtopmania gang drove the lorry, boarded the ferry at Fishguard and set sail for southern Ireland.
Jane and James had invited us to set up their
circus theme wedding
and after lots and lots of planning, they trusted us to supply and we did!
They got a fabulous party!
Adventures on the Irish Sea included lovely food, a bit of cabin-sleep and a drink or two for the lads.
After a few hours we were in Rosslare then driving through Wexford.. a lovely gentle port and traveled up the road to location near Gorey, right on the Sunny Irish Riviera!
(quick note.. Irish drivers are dead friendly and courteous, always thanking with hazard flash after overtaking you.)
We were welcomed to the stunning location .. a 1930’s architecturally very interesting cliff top house, right by the sea (gently spinning wind farm in the distance a mile out). Met the gang, cups of tea etc and pretty much started work setting up.
You can see the results in some of these photos and video slide show .some taken just with the phone and others ( the much better ones!!) by the pro on the day Ian Mcallister (stills).
Weather during set up was typically wet and windy, but on the day a glorious calm settled in and it was a stunning balmy evening..moonlight over the waves, chill area, chimneas, etc..
Great fun was had whilst there.. we were staying in a holiday cottage just up the road from the event, and had a few outings in the evenings.
Notable visit back down to Wexford on “Arthur’s Day”..ie Arthur Guinness celebrations all over Ireland..music and Guinness! Brand Ireland!
Further afield, when all set up and we had the time, a picturesque journey and an overnight stop at Kilkenny, lovely medieval walled town,…more music..more Guinness. Craic!
Music in so many pubs!! Enjoyed it all and even sang along to the rebel songs!
Being a circus team we just had to make and effort to visit Tom Duffey’s Circus whilst there… old school, tigers and lions(!), horses (very good trick riding!) and lots more exciting things!.. sadly in a cold dank rainy rugby club car-park on outskirts of Wexford. Fabulous show by hard-working , dedicated circus team but where’s the glitz and glamour in a wet car park!?
Wedding day; we were there helping to set up, checking over the tent, keeping an eye on the electrics, working alongside the front of house maitre dee. We juggled, partied, watched it all unfold adjusted tables, helped set up the DJ, the band and to keep the bar flowing.
Again.. another craic occurred!
Jane and James; a lovely couple, as well as their families, all treated us really well and we hope we gave them a fab wedding… judge for yourselves by the images!
(hope to see them again later this year, when we visit Dublin!!)
below photos copyright Ian McAllister Stills where this is a full gallery.
alternative groom footwear
- Circus theme wedding Ireland first dance
cut that circus wedding cake
- festival theme wedding Ireland
Groom Speech Ireland wedding
Bride speech wedding Ireland
Circus theme wedding , Gorey, Ireland
bride and groom grande entrance
circus wedding Ireland
rest of the photos off my phone…
wedding chill out area Ireland
on the Ballymoney cliff tops.
candy striped wedding tent Ireland
red white tent interior, fairy lights, trapeze dummy
striped marquee interior
Ireland wedding tent set up
Wedding tent seating plan
circus theme wedding reception
table layout Irish Wedding
peep through photo board
circus wedding bar
circus wedding table
Circus wedding cake
curtained entrance to marquee
big-top in Ireland
alternative guest arrival vehicle
chill out tent
Irish wedding chill out area
catering tent entrance tunnel
route to catering tent
wedding reception Ireland
wedding speech Ireland
Ireland wedding party
wedding band Ireland
wedding party Ireland
wedding party band Ireland
wedding chill out area Ireland
Glamorous camping = Glamping
Rent a Bell Tent
luxury double bed tent
We have noticed an increase in the enquiries to hire our bell tents as luxury accommodation to go along side our circus tents. Whether its a sleepover space for the kids, honeymoon suite or a toddler hangout. They are proving to be a valuable addition to many events.
A simple sleeping solution that can sleep 2 in double bed luxury, or upto 10 children in sleepover camping mode.
Kids sleepover tent alongside party tent in Oxfordshire
Garden party rain cover
We all know what the english weather can do at anytime of the year. Even the best laid plans can be spoilt by our unpredictable weather, we have provided mini circus tents at the last minute for garden parties when the forecast is not looking so good. Don’t leave things to chance. Not in England anyway!
Also available with advanced notice, luxury vintage caravans along side vintage circus tent
Toddler hangout in front of full size circus tent on hire in Dorset
Bell Tent hire prices from £80, includes iron tea light hanging chandelier and carpet.
Can be negotiated as part of a package. Get in touch