De Boer recently constructed a performance arena for Rugby School’s ‘Festival on The Close’ event that was held within the school grounds from 25th – 29th June 2017. The week-long, public arts festival featured a programme of 200 creative workshops and once in a lifetime experiences, and was part of the famous public school’s 450th anniversary celebrations.
The 1300 sqm arena was creating using one of De Boer’s Jumbo Hall structures and played host to a series of live performances including G4 and Lesley Garrett; a night at the Proms; National Youth Jazz Orchestra; West End show, Stomp; a comedy night with Simon Evans and Zoe Lyon; as well as artist, Laura Mvula.
At the heart of Rugby School lies The Close, a monument to the origins of rugby. It was here in 1823 that William Webb Ellis first ran with the ball and invented the game of rugby. The site is still an essential part of school life, featuring two well-maintained rugby pitches and cricket square, so it was imperative during the build of the Festival’s main auditoria that the historic grounds were managed with exceptional care.
Peter Spruce, De Boer’s managing director, explains: “The team’s careful use of plant and machinery and specially laid trackway protected delicate tree root areas. We also unloaded core materials 150 metres away from the project site and manoeuvred them using smaller vehicles to safeguard the grounds. The build was completed in just three days and carried out during term time, so all vehicle movements were supervised by a banksman and conducted at walking pace, ensuring the safety of pupils and staff at all times. De Boer also provided its Alu Hall structure to create 200sqm of kitchen space.”
The Performance Arena also hosted the school’s 450th Anniversary Gala Ball for 600 guests following the screening of a specially commissioned film featuring eminent Rugbeians in the Temple Speech Room.
Peter Berners Price, chairman of Rugby School’s 450th Anniversary Year, adds: “The reaction from our guests when they saw the Performance Arena was simply – ‘awesome!’. Its scale and elegant appearance provided a wonderful backdrop for the Gala Ball as well as the festival’s performances. What most won’t have appreciated is the attention to detail and the precise planning needed to realise this project, and in this respect, the De Boer team could not have been more helpful. The sight of the structure internally lit alongside the beautiful façade of the school after dark will remain an abiding memory.”