Here’s how you connect 5000 people all at once

Brittany Lee Waller

“A big part of attending a TEDxSydney event is connecting. Connecting with people and connecting with the speakers. In a theatre packed full of 5000 eager attendees, our job is to help connect the speakers on stage to the audience right to the last row, while making it feel intimate and personal.”

Brendan Sadgrove knows how to connect people – in more ways than one. As the Founder of Innovative Production Services and Technical Director for TEDxSydney for the last 6 years, he has spent the majority of his days navigating the cross-section between technical and personal connection – the ultimate pursuit being a seamless and unique experience for the individual.

“The pressure is certainly on for the Innovative team to flawlessly produce an event so technical in scale and complexity which is beamed live around the world,” explains Brendan.

As Founder of TEDxSydney, Remo Guiffre, mentioned last year, “TEDxSydney is a wonderful and large moving beast that has both a very specific set of ‘needs’ that have to be met in order for it to be a success, but is also changing and adapting to markets, its audience and a constantly changing global environment. All the while TEDxSydney is run as a not-for-profit organisation and this brings many challenges when it’s time to pack up and move to a new house. In 2017 TEDxSydney successfully transitioned from its previous home at the Sydney Opera House to its new home at the International Convention Centre.”

Last year, the second year at our new home of the ICC, Innovative not only looked after all the production in the main theatre, but also the production in the two exhibition halls – named The Hub – which sounds charming, but think a room the breadth of a football field and the height of a 10 story building.

“We had over 40 screens, audio, and lighting spread across dozens of activations and events in the space. We also provided power for all stands, over 30 coffee machines, and every activation. It was a BIG job!”

He’s right, it is a huge job. And, what does it take to pull of such a grand scale event while making every single attendee feel acknowledged, heard and included.

“Well, to get specific, it takes 15 full time staff, over 40 casual and contractors along with a further 25 technical staff under our direction. It takes almost 12 months of pre-production, pre-programming, 2 days of set up and rehearsals. It requires two separate teams running the keynote room and the Hub Live streaming to tens of thousands of people around the world,” explains Brendan.

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