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The Sage becomes a screen

The Sage becomes a screen

At the beginning of September, the Newcastle Gateshead Quayside and the River Tyne was transformed into a giant outdoor arena for the Great North Run Million Opening Ceremony, which marked the official countdown to the one-millionth runner crossing the finishing line at this prestigious annual sporting event.


The spectacular ceremony, which featured live performances from local hero and Dire straits legend Mark Knopfler, Sting, the Unthanks and Chase and Status, was a multi-media spectacular, with fireworks, animations, giant sculptures, plus video mapping onto the iconic Sage building, a concert venue and centre of musical education that is located on the south bank of the River Tyne. In order to transform the Sage into a suitable surface for video projection, it was wrapped in Contra Vision. This enabled it to be transformed into a giant video screen, which accurately mirrored all of the excitement of the evening, while also enabling the building’s interior life to continue uninterrupted during the run-up to the event.

AAA Signs was commissioned to oversee the project and also to produce and install the Contra Vision, something that proved particularly challenging, as each of the Sage’s windows is differently sized. Accordingly, the Gateshead-based signmaker purchased pre-packed kits from William Smith, a Contra vision distributor and also its supplier of choice.

Happily, the work was completed in time to help showcase the set pieces designed by Jon Bausor, a specially commissioned film and animation by BAFTA award-winning artist Tal Rosner, music composed by Ivor Novello-winning Dan Jones and performed by Northern Sinfonia, and performances by hundreds of volunteers who were choreographed by Nathan Curry.

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