Most Colleges at Oxford University have been around for a very long time. And many of the buildings themselves have existed in their current form for hundreds of years. They are a beacon of educational achievement as well as major tourist attractions in their own right. So we were absolutely delighted when the committee of Christ Church College – on the recommendation of event company and long-standing Alchemy clients Relevent – selected Alchemy to produce the first ever fireworks display for their Commemoration Ball.
As you might imagine it wasn’t straightforward. As well as being a collection of historic and sensitive heritage buildings it is also a place that students, staff and other residents call home. It is also in a very built up area, and to fire an aerial show to be visible in Tom Quad form the nearest open land would have required massive material and an even bigger budget; the display would have risked being samey due to the minimum shell size required, and it certainly wouldn’t have been the right option for a show that would ideally be choreographed to music. So we put in the leg-work looking at alternative options. And brain-work coming up with a method statement and risk assessment that would give the College powers-that-be enough confidence in us to allow us fire from the rooftop of Tom Quad. (We must thank Simon for his help in smoothing the path of this proposal and obtaining this permission – and for his confidence in us too). Thus we were able to produce a spectacular low-debris display choreographed to Jupiter to mark the end of the Ball’s opening ceremony (I know, normally we’re involved at the end of an event, not the beginning, but these Balls go on all night)
The results, as regular readers will have come to expect, were spectacular, as was the feedback with Alchemy yet again singled out from all the contractors for individual praise from the event’s entertainments organiser: “Special thanks must go to Rob and Glen from Alchemy, whose astounding fireworks truly set the tone for evening.”