When it came to celebrating their tenth year of business in Ireland, haircare giant Schwarzkopf wanted to do go the extra mile for their annual business awards dinner. They wanted an Irish theme, something the JBE team was obviously very familiar with, but this particular client wanted something that was extraordinary.
Rather than putting on an Irish-themed show for a corporate group, we needed to entertain a group of hairdressers, mainly made up of women between the ages of 18 and 40. It needed to be Irish, but Irish like they’d never seen before.
We came up with a concept that captured both the traditional flavour that the client wanted and a youthfulness that would really engage the guests. We pitched the idea of having Irish dancers perform live in the venue on the dining tables themselves. The client immediately loved it. Of course, that left us with the tricky task of working out all the practicalities. We had to create reinforced tables, stable enough to support the dancers and come up with a way to retain the element of surprise as the dancers made their way into the room.
It really was a case of creating art from adversity. With the limitations of the concept in mind we created a truly spectacular, elemental experience that delighted the guests. We brought the lights in the venue down as the acclaimed percussionist Robbie Harris entered the room. Robbie, (an imposing figure as well as an extraordinary bodhrÃ¡n player) leapt up onto the centre table, surprising the diners. Without saying a word, he started drumming with increasing intensity as eight hooded figures carrying candles entered the dining area from different darkened corners of the room. In total silence, the figures climbed onto the tables as the guests looked on in stunned excitement.
With all the hooded figures in place, and without warning, Robbie let out a loud cry and gave the bodhrÃ¡n an extra loud thump. At that moment, the male dancers in position on the tables dropped their cloaks and erupted into a spectacular hard shoe acapella performance. The audience was stunned and immediately erupted into a spontaneous round of applause.
Four more drummers then joined in as eight more dancers appeared on the main stage. If that wasn’t enough, the lead female dancer made her entrance by abseiling over 50 feet from the ceiling onto the CEO’s table.
We knew immediately from the crowd reaction that the performance was a hit. We had managed to hold onto the surprise element in spite of the complicated setup and succeeded in giving the guests a real thrill. It was a stunning sensory experience that managed to blend both the traditionally Irish with the youthful and modern. While many clients have asked us to make them something traditional and quaint, we absolutely loved the opportunity to do something sexy with an ‘Irish’ brief and add a spectacular spin.