Starting a business in the midst of a pandemic may seem ambitious, but for Imagineerium co-creators Natasha Mortimer and Channon Wallace, it was no barrier.
In fact, the enforced change of pace gave them the time, and the springboard, they needed to set down their vision for the company: a specialised design outfit focused on the creation of unique, experiential physical spaces.
They did it in just three months, and from their base in the heart of Stokes Croft, the pace of development has continued unabated.
“Since coming out of the pandemic,” reflects Mortimer, we have seen the desire for experiential events rise to an all-time high and are very excited to see the industry move from strength to strength.”
Each concept relies on a huge team of creative collaborators to see it through to fruition: from costume to carpentry, rigging to dressing, lighting and sound to metal work, sign writing to mural painting, technical direction to production management, and everything in between.
Specialising in design, fabrication and installation/de-rig, it’s perhaps no surprise that Imagineerium have been widely employed by festivals.
Recent projects include The Beacon at Boomtown Fair, El Vice City at El Dorado Festival, The Public Spirit at Imbibe, as well as Wake the Tiger, and the inaugural Forwards festival awaits in September.
At Glastonbury 2022, they were behind two distinct areas: the WOW! Stage at Silver Hayes, and Totem at The Common.
For Mortimer, the 50th anniversary of the festival offered an added opportunity to make a memorable impact, and she committed to organising a 100 per cent female build crew for the Totem stage.
“It was super beneficial, especially for those involved, but I also believe for the future of the industry,” she says. “It is a really empowering thing for women, particularly after my experience in the events/build industry, to work together, to feel supported and to put their abilities and skills to the forefront.
“I was delighted to know that the women left feeling more confident and with the knowledge that when they go back into a mixed crew they won’t be afraid to put themselves forward ahead of other men based on strength.”
The idea snowballed and the stage hired an all female security and venue crew, too. “It truly was remarkable to see women coming together to combat the traditions of society at such a world-renowned event,” smiles Mortimer.
She points out that as a culturally diverse company, Imagineerium shares many of its values with the city in which it was born – liberal, bold, creative, and unafraid to challenge the status quo.
“We have fallen in love with Bristol and found it to be our home, a place full of like-minded people and a wonderful community spirit.
“Bristol is one of the most creative hubs in the UK.”
For more information about upcoming Imagineerium projects, as well as an archive of completed work, visit www.imagineerium.co.uk.
All photos: Imagineerium
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