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Ideas & Insights

Virtuoso Symposium Gala | Emerald City

When leading global luxury travel network, Virtuoso, announced it was bringing it’s symposium to Melbourne, planning for events began all over the city.

As one of only two Australian hotels in the network, Crown’ Hotel’s position as the leading provider in Melbourne for both it’s hotels and event facilities made it a natural contender for the Farewell Gala Dinner event. The dinner would also provide Crown the perfect opportunity to launch Crown Hotel’s new Sydney Towers development in 2021.

Working in conjunction with Crown’s management and the technical production team at Encore Event Technologies, Instinct’s Managing Director, Richard Sayer, was asked to develop the creative around the night’s entertainment to support the “Emerald City” event theme. Through entertainment a story was told using theatre and drama rather than a series of disconnected stand alone moments.

“This involved not just the selecting the right performers and talent, but also selecting the right music to tie together each moment and create energy flow through the event. It was important to give every performer entrance and exit a context and musical accompaniment” – Richard Sayer

Emerald City | Event Theme

Referencing Sydney’s nickname and location of the new Crown Towers, the Crown Palladium was transformed over a number of days, into the Emerald City.

Encore Event Technologies provided all audio visual equipment, lighting as well as amazing vision mapping capabilities. This was a spectacular show case of their technical expertise, that amazed guests throughout the night.

Emerald City Themed Event

Emerald City | Styling and costuming

The creative for this event was driven by the guests experience and playing with their expectations. Borrowing more from the musical “Wicked” than the 1939 classic film, custom costuming inspired by the “steam punk” look lifted the performances to the next level, ensuring the event theme’s success.

Emerald City Hosts

Build the suspense before the reveal behind the curtain

Emerald City Hosts

The pre-function space was intentionally left “undressed.. or plain.. as if to intentionally underwhelm guests on first glance”. Generic “muzak” was selected to reinforce this bland and uninspired “vibe”.

Guests were greeted by comedic hosts, dressed in custom costuming to intrigue the guests and pique expectations with announcement “all would soon be revealed”.

Emerald City Guards

A large drape line separated the guests from main event space and was guarded by “Emerald City Guards” whose only line was “halt”.

Sixteen costumed hosts/dancers suddenly swarmed into the pre function space then began as our hosts announce the reveal and the drape opening, welcoming guests into the Emerald City.

Music changes the guests state

Music plays an important part of delivering the “theatre” of this event. Careful selection of music throughout the entire night ensured the guests were also taken on a sonic journey.

The room reveal began with a major fanfare music accompanied with pre-recorded “voice of god” announcements. Leaving the jazz based “muzak” in pre-function behind, the room was revealed to mix of fanfare and major cinematic orchestral music, adding drama and pomp to the moment. The dancers and hosts led the guests into the main space, like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, taking guests on a 10 minute musical journey.

Soprano Performer Melbourne | Kerrie Anne

Stunning Song from a Soprano

As the intensity of the music built, the dancers formed an arcade of honour to greet award-winning Australian Soprano, Kerrie-Anne Greenland, as she made her way to the central stage for her performance.

Dressed in a custom designed, Emerald City ballgown and head piece, her stunning performance of Kate Miller-Heidke’s, “Zero Gravity” was one of the nights highlights.

This whole sequence was inspired by the “blue soprano” in the movie, 5th Element and delivered the “high impact moment” to kick off this amazing event.

Emerald City Dancers | Ballet to Buzz

Ballerinas for Corporate Events

After meal service, the entertainment continued with two ballerinas dancing their way to the central stage. In a room of emerald green, their stunning red dresses and pointy shoes popped with colour, as guests were swept up in their enchanting performance. Energy shifted as the music moved from “gentle and sweet” to “high energy” custom show, with 16 “Emerald City Dancers” refocusing the guests attention to the main stage for their performance.

Emerald City Nicolena

At the conclusion of this stunning performance, dancers welcomed Group Director of Sales, Crown Hotels, Nicolena Orborn to the central stage for her presentation and launch of Crown Hotel, Sydney in a custom designed “Emerald City” ballgown.

High Energy Dance Performance | Emerald City

Emerald City still had Oz!

Our Emerald City didn’t have a Dorothy, Lion, Scarecrow or Tin man, but it still have Oz!

Guests were treated to a performance from the spectacularly talented “ Oz Boyz™” group. It wasn’t long until the room erupted into dancing as these four lads danced and sang their way into everyones hearts.

Working with the colour schemes of the night, the boys bedazzled in sparkling gold jackets and their talent was immediately noticed and complimented by the C.E.O. of Virtuoso, Matthew Upchurch, who has literally seen the best in the world!

The dance floor now full, the Oz Boyz™ finished their set on the central stage, and handed the reigns to Melbourne based DJ band, “The Mad Men” on the main stage, ensuring guests did not sit down.

Oz Boyz australias boys of motown 340

Oz Boyz australias boys of motown 349

Mad Men Cover Band Melbourne

Mad Men Cover Band Melbourne

The event planning

This event delivered theatrics and drama in spades. From beginning to end, guests were immersed as they experienced the best in events Melbourne can deliver.

Considerable work went into this event for Crown Hotels, Encore Event Technologies and the team at Instinct. All in all, an absolutely memorable event experience was had by all.

Emerald City Themed Event

Services provided by Instinct

  • Creative Direction
  • Selection & booking of all performers
  • Design & creation of the custom costumes
  • Music selection & direction throughout the night
  • Choreography
  • Theatrical Make up
  • Run sheet creation & event flow
  • Show Calling
  • Stage Management & performer logistics
  • Scripting & recording of all Voice of God announcements

Talent provided by Instinct


Client Feedback


Nicolena and I would like to say thank you again for everything you did to make the Virtuoso Dinner a huge success! It would not have happened without you.

Clare Lewis
 | Administration Manager – Hotel Sales



In recognition to the success of the 2019 Virtuoso Symposium, I am delighted to share the attached letter which I received from Matthew Upchurch, Chairman & CEO of Virtuoso presenting to Crown Hotels the Virtuoso Performance Award.

Thank you once again for all of your efforts.

Nicolena Oborn | 
Group Director of  Sales – 
Crown Hotels

Virtuoso Performance Letter