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5 minutes with a live production expert

Nigel Ruffell founded The Company We Keep just 12 months ago after a long career in theatre production. He talks to CIM about his approach to events that has already seen The Company We Keep named as a finalist in two categories at the upcoming Australian Event Awards.

Why the leap into starting an events company? I had the idea of bringing everyone together with peer to peer meetings for knowledge sharing, problems and solutions to help, ensuring that every project has the right people for the objectives, from our team, from trusted partners from the clients themselves. Not claiming you can doing it all but putting the best team in place. It’s kind of like finding the right cast for a movie or show. It’s actually something that happens a-lot in theatre.

What is the core philosophy behind the company? To create extraordinary work by working with the right people and to never settle. If there is a better solution, no matter how difficult we implement that.

How do you create an emotional connection across every type of event? We look at what the brand is wishing to convey to the audience and we work backwards from that, we look at the personality, the type of people we are talking to and we use creative filters to distill the concept into a pure idea that we build out the rest of the experience from.

Technology such as VR is changing the way events are managed.

There is much talk of story-telling – what have you brought from the world of theatre in that regard? We immerse the audience, take them out of their everyday lives and into the world we have created. We make sure that we are in collaboration with our clients at all time. We create great messaging, to make sure that what is being presented is told passionately with truth and delivers a feeling in the people that have attended. A play or a show, can make you many things throughout its journey, it makes you laugh, can make you sad, excite you or make you angry in order to act or change situations of injustice and it can bring you peace and resolution. We love to take the audience on that trail.

VR helps with efficiencies at the planning stage – will it become more common in the actual event? I believe that’s guaranteed,  the way the VR works is that it actually creates a feeling in your subconscious that what you are experiencing is real, so once you are in that state the brain engages all the senses required to deal with that situation. This means what you feel, see, experience is elevated. We have used it for planning but also for speaker rehearsal with a virtual audience to help prepare for performances, the next steps would be to introduce A.I to make the interactions even more real. We also have plans to use it for people that can’t physically attend to virtually be there.

What other technologies are going to make an impact on events? VR, MR and AI are always going to be massive for interaction and data acquisition, gamification and even way finding, Google Maps are working on something like that already. We are also working with 3D printing and 3D animation never to replace the one to one physical experience but just add layers onto it.