Now in its 25th year, The Mercury Prize is awarded to the best British or Irish Album of the Year. From the hundreds of applications the judges choose a shortlist of 12 Albums each of whom are invited to perform at the awards ceremony, which in 2016 was held at The Eventim Apollo London.
The event was broadcast live across the BBC and was hosted by Lauren Laverne and Shaun Keaveny.
LRI has been involved with The Mercury Prize since it began in 1992 and this year, with a new format in a new venue, with new management this was a new and exciting challenge for us.
The biggest challenge in producing The Hyundai Mercury Prize is staging up to 12 acts on one stage. Using the venue’s flat floor system to allow two tiers of table guests meant that we needed to build up our own stage. We did this and then put a recessed revolve into the stage which allowed us two performance areas. We then included two more areas by extending the apron on the stage with two round sections stage left and right, these were used as the presenter’s area and a third performance area respectively. This format enabled us to seamlessly bring artists on and off stage to ensure the audience in the room saw a faultless show.
As well as 3 stage spaces we needed to create 11 distinct visual lighting looks. With limited programming time, our Lighting Director chose to have a large number of LED and moving lights to give him a stunning and diverse look. With the addition of a moving truss powered by Kenysis we were able to create different on-screen looks as well different looks on stage.
With performances from artists including Bat for Lashes, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka, and eventual winner Skepta we created a stunning and varied show.
The added challenge this year was the inclusion of a second ‘finalists’ show. Of the 12 shortlisted artists, 6 went on to perform again, and the team had to prepare for this without letting the public or the artists know. With just 30 minutes to reset between shows, all of our planning was tested to the limit. Due to the professionalism and quality of our team we were able to pull this off with precision and poise. As a thrilling finale to the show we were even able to stage the winner Skepta performing a different track from his Mercury Prize winning album.
“The show was magic. I hope you are reading this and basking in the glory that you so deserve. My lot are delighted with how it went. Much respect and thank all your team from us!”
Maggie Crowe OBE, Director of Events and Charities at the BPI