St Catharine’s College and Venue Audio Visual today announced the launch of a new partnership to provide conference and  event organisers in Cambridge with a range of tried-and-tested hybrid meeting solutions that can be tailored to specific requirements.

Robert Jonas, Catering & Conference Director at St Catharine’s, said, “Although national restrictions for in-person events were eased in July, organisers are still faced with attendees having very different appetites for meeting face-to-face, as well as the risks of travel disruption and self-isolation affecting their plans. We’ve taken care over the last few months to listen to our customers and collaborated with the team at Venue Audio Visual to ensure our reputation for excellent service for in-person events can now be replicated for hybrid and virtual events.”

St Catharine’s will offer modern in-person conference services for up to 154 delegates at its McGrath Centre, which comprises a state-of-the-art auditorium and a light, welcoming foyer space with floor-to-ceiling windows. The Venue Audio Visual team will provide additional expertise, operators, equipment (such as cameras, hardware and cables) and post-production services to maximise the engagement of audiences who cannot attend in person.

Chris Watson, founder of Venue Audio Visual, added, “We have worked with St Catharine’s across a number of different projects over the years so it is great to be able to partner to support organisers wanting to host hybrid events in Cambridge. We piloted our new packages over the summer and look forward to rolling out more successful hybrid events together in the months ahead.”

The partnership agreement offers organisers the chance to choose from a range of packages – and even explore back-up arrangements so they feel confident and prepared if circumstances mean an event changes between hybrid and virtual or in-person and hybrid set-ups. Four popular packages are offered as standard, all of which can be easily adapted to suit organisers’ needs:

  • Package 1: Single camera recording of proceedings in the McGrath Centre
  • Package 2: Single camera recording with additional presentation recording
  • Package 3: Video conference and streaming from the McGrath Centre, supported by a location studio and expert operator
  • Package 4: Video conference and streaming with a second camera and operator

Claire Armstrong, Centre for Doctoral Training Administrator at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Earth Sciences, commented, “I organised a successful hybrid training course earlier in the year, using Package 4 offered by St Catharine’s and Venue Audio Visual. About 70% attended in person, with the rest preferring to join virtually. Feedback was extremely positive and all agreed it was a worthwhile and enjoyable experience. Regardless of how they participated, the combination of the McGrath auditorium and AV technology meant everyone could see, hear and, most importantly, learn from each other.”

St Catharine’s is currently investing £16 million in the modernisation of its dining hall and other shared spaces on its main site on Trumpington Street. Known as the Central Spaces project, these renovations will connect the existing McGrath Centre facilities with a suite of other accessible and elegant spaces, which will extend the capacity for in-person and hybrid events from Summer 2022.

About St Catharine’s

Founded in 1473, St Catharine’s (affectionately known as ‘Catz’) is a College of the University of Cambridge and home to approximately 1,000 students, Fellows and staff. The College offers state-of-the-art facilities in a central location for conferences and events. It received AIM Secure accreditation from the Meetings Industry Association, in recognition of first-class service, excellent facilities and a total commitment to upholding legal compliance and health and safety protocols. Visit caths.cam.ac.uk/conferences

About Venue Audio Visual

Venue is a family-owned company with over 25 years’ experience in the hire, supply, installation and servicing of audio visual equipment and event production services, including supporting many of East Anglia’s most highly regarded venues and organisations.