A working dinner
Janet Smith, Venues Manager, at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD) was the project manager for NATO at their venue and she discusses the event.
The college was hosting a working dinner for Foreign Ministers of NATO, so all our work went into delivering that part of the summit. We were honoured to have been chosen to host the dinner, we have established ourselves as one of the leading contemporary landmarks in Wales.
Being located within the so called ‘ring of steel’, the day of the summit proved to be very different to a normal day. The 'ring of steel' was 13KM of high security steel fencing that was installed around Cardiff for the NATO summit.
The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD) was closed for the day, with only event staff permitted access. For the entire 24 hours leading up to the event, the college was entirely focussed on delivering the NATO dinner.
The greatest challenge was balancing the requirements from so many different directions, at a time when information was sometimes fluid and security requirements so intense. We worked hard to be as flexible as possible acknowledging how complex the situation was, but also ensuring that everything we did commit to we were confident that we could deliver well.
The event itself went very smoothly, a testament to the amount of planning, and the dedication of those working on the various aspects of the whole summit.
A warm Welsh welcome
The warm Welsh welcome came across to the delegates, Wales is very good at providing a personal touch for major events, and the choice of impressive locations such as Celtic Manor, Cardiff Castle and the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, really added to the impact of the event.
The event went very well. We were one part of a hugely complex logistic operation involving venue managers, event planners, technicians, media officials, caterers, a wide range of government officials and of course, a very large security requirement.
Business as usual
We had very little time to be sad after the event! Immediately after the NATO dinner, we were straight into a number of other conferences, before welcoming our students back to college on 22nd September. We’re very familiar with managing a busy schedule, and while NATO was undoubtedly an exceptional event – it was one of several we managed across the late summer.
We were back into full college mode from 22nd September, with a full programme of cultural and artistic events. We generally host over 500 public events every year, with a busy programme of conferences, dinners and weddings held during the college vacations. In terms of the next big event, the Cardiff Half Marathon has chosen the college as the location for its finish line this year, so we’ll be looking forward to seeing up to 20,000 runners cross that line shortly.