Set in a magnificent Grade II listed, four-domed, Edwardian building One Great George Street is a stunning event venue located in the heart of London, close to the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and St James’s Park. With 21 distinctive rooms of diverse sizes and expert in-house Catering and AV, this is a venue that will guarantee you a great event. We recently held a Christmas party at One Great George Street and fell in love with the venue for it’s grand interiors but also their flexibility in helping you tailor the set up to suit your own requirements.
The venue has an impressive history: The Queen visited in 1978 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the grant of the Institution’s first royal charter. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh sat his Royal Navy examinations in the Great Hall and in 1945 the signing of the charter establishing UNESCO also took place in that room. Today One Great George Street, in addition to hosting corporate and social events, is also is used for numerous special events including fashion shows and filming. The building has been used in a large number of feature films including: Bridget Jones – Edge of Reason, Gandhi and Mr Bean plus various TV series including the BBC’s current adaptation of John le Carré’s thriller, The Night Manager.
We spoke with event manager, Perry Simmonds, to find out what it’s like managing such an impressive venue in our 60 second interview:
What does a typical day at work look like as a venue manager?
“There aren’t really typical days as an Event Manager at One Great George Street. It’s very fast moving and priorities change frequently. I do, however, usually start off my day by blitzing my inbox, have a walk around the venue and, if I’m not running an event of my own, liaise with clients and work on forthcoming bookings. My role involves a lot of engagement with clients; advising them on their event’s progress, and if necessary trouble shooting. What seems like a calm day on paper can often be the opposite behind the scenes, and our goal is to make everything run smoothly and successfully so that our clients leave One Great George Street having had great, stress-free experiences from concept to completion.”
What is the most unusual request you have had?
“There are always unusual requests coming through to One Great George Street and we like to think that our flexibility and resourcefulness allows us to meet the challenges. One always gives me a little giggle though. A few years back we had lighting requests for a couple of acts after a Christmas dinner for a major estate agency. All was going smoothly but then we got suspicious and had to press the client for full and exact details of the after-dinner entertainment. There was one female and one male performer. On nailing down the client about the female performer he said and I quote “Well, she basically gets her kit off” which of course we then had to refuse; not only as we felt it was inappropriate for our venue, but also because we did and do not hold the correct licence. The marginally-less obvious male performer, ‘Hans the German pelvis thruster’, managed to keep his pants on!
What is your favourite event that you have worked on?
“There have been many in my time here at One Great George Street, but one which springs to mind was a very large Christmas party we had a couple of years back for a large pharmaceutical company. They had a huge budget and because of that we virtually had a free hand for theming. It is very rare that you are in that position, and it allows you to really put your creative hat on and bring in the experience of the whole team to create the wow factor for the client by totally transforming the venue, and the event’s food, drinks and entertainment. It was hard work for the entire venue team on the day, with set up starting early and most people working through until the early hours, but it was great to have an event that literally engaged everyone, and of course to see the end result and happy clients.”
What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?
“Go for it. The hours can be long and eat into your social life but it’s full of excitement and challenges, and there’s rarely a dull moment. For those that want it, there are also opportunities to work abroad and see the world as event management is an easily transferable skill.”
To get more ideas on finding venues for your event or help on styling your event talk to the team on 020 7610 2808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org