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The Ubiquitous White Marquee

Laughter House is a unique event entertainment company run by performers. This relatively unique combination gives us an interesting perspective across both the logistical and artistic considerations that one might navigate when producing a festival or event. 

There is a reason why most events look the same - the ubiquitous White Marquee. 

The Höcker, or Clear Span tent has quite rightly staked its claim as the “tent of choice” for festival organisers and event planners. It can be assembled and dismantled by almost anybody - with a bit of direction - making for cheap labour. They are mass produced making them relatively cheap and easy to get hold of, they are generic in size and they can be assembled quickly on most flat surfaces. They are used at almost every major outdoor event around the world and as far as event organisers go, they are the best outdoor structures available.

As far as performers go, they are possibly the worst structure that you can perform in! 

Firstly, they are normally huge. Way bigger than they need to be. As someone who has tried to perform in many of these structures, the stage is normally plonked at one end of the structure with – if you are lucky – a black curtain hung as a backdrop to hide the white canvas wall. The audience would then be seated, in rows, on plastic white chairs with the front row an awkward 4 metres or more from the stage. The rows of seats would fill up from the ends so invariably there would be huge swathes of empty seats in the middle as people refused to move in. No amount of lighting can transform a translucent white shed into anything resembling a performance space and the sound was usually installed for a 6-piece band and take up half the stage.

I had always thought that it was just something that you couldn’t change… until we changed it. 

At Laughter House we now work with several Councils and Events that have made the decision to be different. Made the decision not to use generic white marquees and instead, turn their festival sites into colourful, exciting, atmospheric festive looking places by instead using a combination of different sized, shaped and coloured mini circus tents.

Interestingly enough, we had always just assumed that we couldn’t compete with the white marquee companies until we asked one for a quote! By the time they had provided tent, stage, seating for 100, light and sound, to our surprise our flagship venue La Petite Grande was cheaper! Not only did it offer all of the above but it came with a beautiful 1920’s inspired Art Deco wooden Façade a bespoke proscenium with theatrical curtains, velvet cushions and was custom designed to maximise the atmosphere for the audience as well as the performer. I have not met a performer yet who didn’t bounce out of the tent professing to love working in it! And you know what they say… happy performer, happy audience. Well I don’t think they do say that but it’s true!

So, the next time you are considering your event structures, have a look at what Laughter House has to offer. It will make your event more atmospheric and make it look and feel different from all of the other events. It will cost you less money meaning you can afford to pay more artists (or pay artists more!) and most importantly, your audience will enjoy your entertainers so much more - making you look fabulous while you do less work!

p.s. Once you have saved all of that money on your structures, Laughter House would love to help you program your event, after all, that’s why we have tents in the first place!


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