We are delighted to welcome Freddie Huntington to the team as Deputy Head of Events.
As the Tobacco Dock schedule returns to the bustling ‘normal’, Freddie’s experience of juggling multiple events and rapid turnarounds, and nurturing busy teams is set to come in very handy!
From building an events team from the ground up, to juggling a simultaneous wake, life-drawing show and children’s promenade theatre production, to dealing with a Kylie-induced champagne shortage, Freddie is the master of multi-tasking and delivering a smooth event.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND
After training at Bristol Old Vic, I was a professional actor for seven years before turning my hand to the world of events. There’s a big crossover between the theatre world and events industry – compelling production values, delivering a captivating experience, telling a story.
I started my events career in an art gallery before moving to the Battersea Arts Centre, where I cut my teeth working on a mixture of private and corporate events. It was certainly a varied schedule and involved plenty of coordination with the programming department. One memorable day we were hosting a children’s promenade theatre production in a selection of spaces, a life drawing exhibition in the Grand Hall and a wake in the Lower Hall. As you might imagine, it was important that there was no crossover.
I moved to the Royal Albert Hall in 2014 – I clearly have a penchant for working in Grade 1 listed buildings! It was a huge step up and I went through a steep learning curve. Hosting thousands of members of the public and taking into account the sight lines of 5,500 different seats to make sure everyone is having a great experience is no mean feat.
WHAT HAVE BEEN THE MOST EXCITING ASPECTS OF YOUR EVENTS CAREER UP TO THIS POINT?
As you might expect, there were quite a few high-profile events at the Royal Albert Hall which were particularly exciting to work on, such as the Olivier Awards and the Royal Premiere of the 24th James Bond film, Spectre. We held the BAFTAs at the same time Cirque de Soleil had their residency, so it was a challenge getting those transitions to run without a hitch but also incredibly gratifying.
I was very proud of the team I built at RAH, recruiting all but two of the Event Managers, developing and training them through. I acted as intermediary between several different departments who all had their own tasks, to make sure that all our work maintained the integrity of vision for the events.
While I was at RAH, we began to produce more of our own events which obviously required a lot more work from the ground up. ‘Kylie at Christmas’ was a particular favourite – fabulously extra and the only time in history the venue has run out of champagne!
WHAT DOES YOUR NEW ROLE INVOLVE?
I’m here to support the Event Operations Managers and look to expand our team as events start to come back up and we get busier. My experience in ultra-quick turnarounds at RAH means I have lots of ideas on how we can help the venue to transition into being even busier.
I will be looking after the day-to-day management of a range of suppliers that help the Event Ops team fulfil our clients’ vision and ambition. This ranges from our Audio-Visual partner ‘Anna Valley’ through to cleaning and security. Everyone working an event has to be invested in the venue and its clients and I am looking forward to working with all our suppliers in exceeding expectations and offering a world-class visitor experience.
As well as focusing on the managerial side of things I will also be running events with clients in our event management packages to help them through the process and make sure they’re delighted with their event.
WHAT MOST DREW YOU TO WORKING AT TOBACCO DOCK?
I’ve been aware of Tobacco Dock through its reputation in hosting a wide range of events, and this eclectic range was also a huge draw. The thought of hosting an awards dinner one day and a gin festival the next, and catering to very different audiences really appeals to me. Consumer events are new to me, so I’m really looking forward to getting to grips with the upcoming Meatopia and Junipalooza.
Obviously, having worked at the Battersea Arts Centre and Royal Albert Hall, I’m well used to the challenges and benefits of working in listed buildings. I can’t wait to get to work on some exciting projects!