banner imageColin Willoughby
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Garsington Opera Pavilion gets the Unusual treatment for the summer season
15th June 2017
Garsington Opera Pavilion has undergone a number of major additions to its existing structure ahead of its summer 2017 programme of events that started at the beginning of June, thanks to Unusual Rigging. Visitors to the pavilion will this year experience enhanced protection from the unpredictable British weather as well as additional flexible space beneath the seating tier which will increase the champagne bar area as well as acting as a gallery space.

Angus Boyd-Heron, events manager for Garsington, said: "The award winning pavilion which Unusual constructed in 2010 was  built as a  demountable structure and has gone from strength to strength.   Each year we bring Unusual Rigging back to make some additions and improvements, which have escalated into some pretty major works as our ideas have become larger.  As our ambitions grow and our season now extended enabling more people to attend, so too have our hopes for the venue."

Mark Priestley, head of major projects at Unusual, explained: "We've worked closely with Angus and the Garsington team to come up with ways to improve the building to achieve a new level of audience comfort. Visitors to Garsington come dressed for the opera but unfortunately the elements aren't always considerate of this. Even on the finest of days, the evenings can be chilly and we needed to look at ways to match comfort with audience aspirations."

With just two months to complete the project, Mark and his team reconfigured and added to the outer sliding screens which provide weather protection and added more glazed panels and doors to complete the exterior weather protection envelope. Angus added: "Speed really was the greatest challenge for Unusual, yet they offered so many different ideas and we now have an area that should eliminate any drafts and avoid exposure to the rain. The Unusual team has also done an amazing job of taking an empty void under the seating tier and creating a whole new room which provides more shelter from the weather, not to mention a space which can be used for hospitality, presentations, rehearsals and as a VIP area – a facility we were previously lacking."

Mark added: "Garsington really is our baby – we've seen it grow from something relatively small scale in a temporary tent structure at its previous location into a really impressive venue that provides first class opera. The challenges it throws at us are interesting and we have had the benefit of a first rate steel fabrication partner - Sheetfabs who have been with us on the whole journey – they fabricate all the steelwork – often against difficult deadlines - and are a key ingredient in our success.

Angus concluded: "Once again, Unusual Rigging has pulled out all the stops for the upcoming season. We are extremely proud of our beautiful structure which, thanks to Mark and his team, is constantly evolving as our audience continues to grow."