Christmas Eve stage design

This month I had a blast working with the leadership team on our Christmas Eve services. It was really fun helping to create the drama, video, and tech area, but a major focus on my role was the look and feel of the services.

We planned to change up things just for Christmas Eve services, and I wanted there to be a wow factor and element of surprise when people walked in. So the stage most of the month was pretty plain-looking, with a bang planned for Christmas Eve.

The huge factor was that this year we had black curtains that totally increased our ability to create designs that were previously limited. Just to show the difference, last year’s Christmas Eve stage:

And this year’s stage:

Can you even tell that this is the same stage and same building???

It all started in November when we started planning all the elements to the service. Based on the requirements and goals of the service, I drew up a plan in Illustrator. The week before service we realized a huge video element that we had planned for was not going to happen. Remove large screen and redo the whole design. I also tried to add color to it to get the look as close to possible to what we were thinking. Then there was the overhead view to figure out where all the platforms would fit.

As usual, things didn’t go exactly to plan. For one thing, I miscalculated on the gold fabric and bought 1 yard too short, forgetting that satin is not reversible. So I had to improvise and make a triangle on the bottom.

My colleague Glen and our amazing tech team volunteer Peter had rigged up a makeshift ceiling system of ABS pipe hung on chains from hooks in the ceiling. Glen put duct tape and grommets on one end of the fabric and we tied the fabric to the pipe. (Clyde and Emma were two other people who helped but I didn’t get pictures of them. Speaking of pictures, these lovely pictures are from my phone because I didn’t have my camera. Hence the fuzziness factor.)

Here are Glen and Peter. This would not have been possible without all their hard work, skills, and a lack of fear of heights. I just watched the two of them going up and down the lift and climbing up and down the ladder and it made my palms sweaty! How funny that I happened to get the camera and the lift in the picture too, as they were major players in this plan.

I wound the ribbon and lights around the garland and then we tied that up on the pipe too. The black velveteen I had made from before, to hide all the ropes. This was just draped on top of everything. But it’s very slippery so one of these days we will need to add some velcro to it.

We also strung Christmas lights behind the white panels. This was not in the original plan but came in a moment of inspiration during the redesign. You can barely see Peter up there way high on the ladder. Shudder. Oh. The lift snuck into this picture again too.

After we hung the pipes to the ceiling, I realized I had tied the back ropes to the wrong pipe! It just didn’t look quite right so we tied all the ropes together to give more of a gathered look in the middle.

It gave a really cool feel when we turned off all the lights.

We had two lights on stands to put on the floor, and after experimenting with colors discovered that blue gave the coolest look.

Peter’s a pretty handy guy. He rigged up another stand so then we had three!

Side-ish view…

We added Christmas trees on the side. They were vertically challenged considering the height of the stage, so we put them on risers we found in the back room and that really helped!

The trees had red and gold ribbon woven throughout, like the garland on top.

These matched the Christmas trees out in the lobby. The decorating volunteers came up with the ribbon idea. It looked great!

Stage done. Lighting’s next… coming soon…



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  1. Glen Nielsen - December 27, 2010

    That is just a STAGGERING contrast … how did we live like that?????? Truly amazing how look & feel impact the overall experience.

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