Young female paralympian surrounded by flames and pyrotechnics at the Paralympic torch lighting ceremony

Paralympic Ceremony 2014

Alchemy Fireworks were asked to provide effects, flames and fireworks for the Paralympic Torch Lighting Ceremony in 2014. As the armillary sphere spun it created a spark and chases of silver jets around the edge culminating in a ring of flame from which the torch was lit. The moment culminated in a magnificent display of fireworks choreographed to music from the acclaimed composer Dan Jones.

Take a look at the video…



Gold finale fireworks for Madonna's 50th birthday fireworks display

Madonna’s Birthday

It’s not every day that we get to produce a fireworks display for one of the world’s most famous celebs so we weren’t going to turn down the opportunity – even with only 3 weeks to organise it! The South of France was the location for this extravaganza and the firing site was a barge moored in the Mediterranean sea just of the coast. Designed and fired to a pre-recorded mix of Madonna’s favourite tracks (none of which were her own creations) we used wireless technology to fire the display remotely from a safety boat outside the exclusion area.



Fireworks from the top of Tower Bridge for the diamond jubilee pageant

Diamond Jubilee River Pageant

Alchemy Fireworks were honoured to be asked to provide the closing ceremony daylight pyrotechnics for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Thames River Pageant. This short and spectacular sequence was fired from the Upper Walkways of Tower Bridge, in the centre of London, which was the focal point for the end of the Pageant.

As you can imagine, this was an extraordinary event in an extraordinary loaction. Although the Bridge was opened with a celebratory volley of cannonfire this was the first time that fireworks have been fired from the bridge itself since it’s Centenary in 1994. The consultation process was long, including dozens of visualiations of what the sequence could look like, effect testing at Alchemy HQ to see which products were most effective in daylight, whether it was a sunny blue-sky day or a grey cloudy one. Of the traditional patriotic colours it was decided that blue was not strong enough in daylight, and that red would offer greatest contrast whether the sky was white or blue, so we majored on red, with a little white for contrast.


Apart from the pyro itself we also had to demonstrate that our planning, equipment, and H&S practices were all up to scratch. When we received the green light it was all systems go to fabricate the rigging, prep the pyro and then install the pyro cradles and test the firing system on site. To achieve this we worked in the early hours of the morning to ensure that we would not impact on the Bridge’s exhibition opening hours, and allowed sufficient time in advance to allow contingency rigging days should the weather make high level work impossible.

As it happened, the conditions for rigging were perfect, but the conditions on the day of the event were anything but… a combination of unseasonably cool temperatures, low cloud, gusting wind and persistent rain that varied from drizzle to downpours: in short, a pyrotechnician’s worst nightmare. With the Pageant drifting behind schedule we had to use our judgement to keep the firing system and pyro waterproofed until the last possible moment, while still giving our rigging team enough time to safely peform this high-level work in horrible conditions. We knew that we had to be ready to deliver safely and on-time as some of the other finale elements of the Pageant – like the Helicopter flypast – were falling by the wayside due to the awful weather. Finally our cue came, and as the National Anthem ended on The Symphony, the sky above Tower Bridge was illuminated with some 288 effects in under 7 seconds. Coloured mines and noise effects rippled back an forth at 1/10th of a second, controlled by our state of the art FireOne UltraFire software, before simultaneous lifts of magnesium mines, screechers ad flash salutes ramped up both the brightness and the volume of the sequence to a thunderous end. As the finale reports were still echoing around the City, the River came alive with the horns of boats up and down the Thames, ringing out their approval for a historic event, of which we were honoured to be a brief, noisy, colourful part.

We are, of course, very grateful to those involved in granting permission to us to work on this unique, iconic, historic and sensitive landmark including Bridge Master Eric Sutherns MBE and all the staff at Tower Bridge, to Paul Monaghan and co at the City of London, to Deputy Harbour Master Steve Rushbrook of the PLA (and team) for all their help, and not least to Pagent Master Adrian Evans and his team including Rosie, Jules, Ben, Maz, Kevin, Tom, Amy, Emile, Di… Alchemy would also like to thank the crew for their tireless work: Paul K and Paul R, Rob, Adam, Rod plus Jason, Daz, Howard, Jim, Ruaridh (with apologies to all the others that made it happen).

PS – Somebody tell Danny Boyle there’s no need to construct artificial clouds… 😉

Here’s the video…

Royal Greenwich Fireworks

First images are in from our spectacular displays last weekend in Greenwich to mark the Borough receiving its Royal Charter – we’ll be posting them here very shortly. As part of the celebrations Alchemy were commissioned to produce three spectacular displays, from multiple rooftops in Woolwich town centre on the Friday night, at the historic Tudor Barn in Eltham on Saturday night, and concluding with a spectacular firework display fired from a barge on the Thames in front of the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, on the Sunday night. The feedback from the public and the event organisers has been exceptional, and these displays would only have been possible with the hard work of our talented crew in very challenging conditions. Here’s what our client said:

“I just wanted to say a proper thank you for this weekend. All three displays were outstanding, and everyone – including the public, VIP guests and our team thoroughly enjoyed them. It has be great working with you, and I do appreciate that it hasn’t been easy given such a short time, plus the various other difficulties we’ve had to overcome. I know you’ve gone above and beyond to get things sorted out so that we could go ahead as planned, and I am truly grateful for the support and reassurance you given me over the last couple of weeks! It’s been quite an endurance test for us all and the overwhelmingly positive response has made it all worth it. You have certainly helped to enhance the reputation not only of Royal Greenwich, but also us as the Borough’s events team -I just hope they let us do it all again soon!”

ADL Summer Ball

We’ve worked with Emma and the team at ADL for several years now. Originally they had a November event with a big bonfire and hog roast, but after consecutive years of miserable weather they decided they needed a different excuse for fireworks (not that you really need an excuse, do you?) – and so the ADL Summer Ball was conceived. A motoring theme meant a visit from the Stig, and a spectacular 15 minute firework display choreographed to medley of motor music, from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to the Fast and the Furious, not forgetting the theme from Wacky Races and Knight Rider. And while the guests were star-gazing on the terrace the dining room tables were cleared away in preparation for the dancing, so not only were the fireworks great entertainment, they also served the practical purpose of providing a window of opportunity for a set change. They don’t miss a trick at ADL.

Faber Maunsell Summer Party

Our firework displays take us all over the UK – and occasionally abroad – and we’ve seen many places that we would never otherwise have the opportunity or time to visit. However every now and again it is nice to have a display close to home, like this one at Sopwell House in St Albans, Hertfordshire. I remember going to Sopwell as a young lad for special family occasions and meeting the Manchester United team there (you just need to look at the collection of framed and signed shirts to appreciate how many football teams have stayed here) – little did I realise that a few years down the line I’d be entertaining Sopwell’s guests with spectacular firework displays. Faber Maunsell asked us to produce a firework display as part of the entertainment at their summer party, and we were only too happy to help. There’s nothing like performing in front of a home crowd to make sure that you put in 110%, and we were delighted with all the positive comments that we heard after yet another spectacular Alchemy Fireworks display at a corporate event.

Derby Feste – Nutkhut Sari Sari Nights Pyrotechnics

Regular readers will know that here at Alchemy HQ we like nothing more than a new street theatre project to get our teeth stuck in to, so when Ajay from Nutkhut got in touch regarding their new Sari Sari Nights show we were keen to help. We had worked with Nutkhut earlier in the summer up at the Mouth of the Tyne Festival so it was great to work with them in Derby. The finale to their new processional piece was in the Market Square, and with limited space we had to engineer a raised firing platform to give us both the sight lines and distances we needed to make the pyro a safe and spectacular addition to the performance.

Birmingham Diwali Pyrotechnics 2010

Birmingham Diwali Pyrotechnics 2010

Diwali is an event that stimulates every sense. We were asked be Birmingham City Council to add to the visual element of the concert at the NIA by providing stage pyro plus confetti and streamers. We liaised with the venue, the council and the event’s production team to add colour and excitement to no less than 6 different musical acts with stage pyro, before bringing the event to a spectacular close by filling the NIA arena with clouds of colourful confetti.