When we met… Ross McKenzie, We The Curious

We The Curious offers more than just the average events venue, consisting of interactive science exhibits, a spectacular planetarium and Bristol Aquarium. Venuelior caught up with their events operations manager, Ross McKenzie, to find out more about events at the innovative science and discovery centre.

What are your top tips for both planning and running a successful event?
Calling the client and going through everything to make sure you are on the same page! Emails are great at collating information but that personal touch of calling or speaking face to face is essential for making sure nothing falls through the cracks.

On the day, making sure me and my team of event staff are communicating properly is crucial. Having radio contact with the team and making sure that they have the most up to date information means that everyone knows what their role is and when things need to be done by.

What do you find is in high demand when people are booking events?
It seems that companies and clients want to offer much more of an experience for guests/colleagues and something which they can really engage with rather than a person on a stage for six hours. Lots more conference artists and opinion walls! Clients are much keener than before to offer something a bit different or out of the ordinary! We’re lucky here as we are able to offer access to two whole floors of interactive exhibits in We The Curious to make an exciting addition to their day.

Have you seen any changes over the past year in event requests or event themes?

We have much more requests for team away days than previously – either we are more attractive for this than previously or companies are much keener to get out of the office for inspiration! We have a lot more requests for concerts, gigs and film screenings in our Planetarium and in the former IMAX than ever before – I think more and more people are realising how cool these spaces are and just what can be accomplished in them!

What are client’s priorities when planning events?
Food! A lot of the time events revolve around food so it is important that this is on time and to order. Our on-site chefs work with clients to create bespoke menus, sourcing ingredients from the local area. As Bristol is a bit of a foodie Mecca, this means that we can create something truly special.

Another priority is definitely making sure guests know where they’re going when they arrive – from the front door to their seat, we want to make sure that guests are attended to and looked after.

What has been your favourite/most memorable event at We the Curious?
Most memorable – VR World Congress 2017. This event used all of our spaces to great effect. They built an enormous marquee out on Millennium Square which housed the latest in VR and AR technology from around the world. Meanwhile, our Rosalind Franklin Room was used as the main hub for talks and presentations by internationally renowned designers and engineers. A huge and incredibly successful event.

Favourite – The British Paraorchestra performing In C by Terry Riley in our Planetarium as part of the Simple Things EXT. programme. This featured gorgeous music and stunning visuals which were produced live using a programme developed in-house. A true one off and an event I was very fortunate to run/be present for.

Find out more about We The Curious here.