Inside the Challenges of Bringing the Coronation Concert to an Isolated Corner of Windsor Castle

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If the Platinum Party at the Palace in June 2022 was about honoring Queen Elizabeth II and London, the city that became a cultural capital during her reign, Sunday’s Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle was a moment for King Charles III to reintroduce himself to the world. It helped that two of the night’s headliners, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry, were friends of the king’s and only too happy to shout him out for his personality and charity work. But the stage was constructed on the castle’s east terrace, where the public has rarely been allowed, turning the evening into an opportunity to invite the world—and the local community—into the royal family’s backyard.

For Alicia Tkacz, one of the partners at Stufish Entertainment Architects who helped design the concert stage, her first tour of the Windsor Castle site revealed a handful of challenges. “It’s a big empty lawn paddock, so we’ve taken over quite a large area of that,” she said in a video call a few days before the big show. “Although it looks kind of level, it’s not, so we have to take into account all the different changes in the ground level and slopes to make sure the audience can see the stage.”

Courtesy of BBC Studios.

Stufish is best known for its work designing stages and sets for pop performers at the highest level, like Adele, Madonna, U2, and the Rolling Stones, and it’s also the firm that designed the stages for last year’s Party at the Palace. Though some of the light show elements of the night were similar, the design team tried to take advantage of the unusual look at one of the UK’s most iconic structures. 

“We really wanted to embrace the castle and the architecture of the castle. Obviously, it’s beautiful,” Tkacz said. “Within the design, we’ve incorporated parts of the parapet and the steps, which lead down to the lawn into the stage. So the stage kind of develops from the castle.” 

For entertainment architects, the job is an opportunity to use all the various components of a concert to evoke an event’s purpose, and those at Stufish were thinking about how to use the design to fit the needs of the night and make something memorable. “Entertainment architecture provides the building blocks that can enhance an event and trigger the emotions that will be embedded in the memories of the collective consciousness,” said Stufish’s CEO, Ray Winkler. “We are honored to be working with BBC Studios to design this historic moment that will be remembered for many years to come.”  

The design of the concert’s stage subtly embedded two iconic motifs that highlighted the event’s meaning. The various elements of the build formed a Union Jack that could be viewed from above, and the circular element over the center of the stage symbolized a crown. 

Courtesy of BBC Studios.

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