Q&A With Chris Byrne on The Mermaid London as a Multipurpose Venue

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The Mermaid London is the most multipurpose venue in the city, with its wealth of event spaces, highly flexible rooms, and creative in-house team.

We sit down with Chris Byrne, General Manager at The Mermaid London, to find out more about this multipurpose venue.

What is The Mermaid London, in a nutshell?

It’s the City of London’s coolest meetings and events venue, delivering a range of in-person and hybrid events across all sorts of sectors, to a growing global audience. With an exclusive use capacity of 1,900, and nine versatile and flexible event spaces, our venue can be used as a blank canvas to accommodate any type of event. We love telling our clients’ stories, not our own, with the support of our cutting-edge AV and production providers, our innovative visual communications team, and our tasteful catering crew.

Tell us more about this multipurpose venue and unique capabilities…

Let’s start with just how unique this building is. It was the first theatre to be built in the city since Shakespeare’s Globe, meaning it was purpose-built for spectatorship and has huge creative flair. Fast-forward to today, and although the original structure and design haven’t been altered, the venue’s existing extraordinary acoustics and sightliness have been enhanced with the latest innovations, so we really can bring to life whatever the client is thinking.

Now onto multipurpose use: clients are spoilt for choice when it comes to event space. They can make the most of the stunning views of the nearby River Thames and Blackfriars Bridge from our Upper and Lower River Rooms, or the pillar-free Queenhithe with 120sqm of solid oak wooden floors. Newgate’s conference and exhibition space can be divided into four breakout rooms, with whiteboard walls, and there’s also a maze of walkways, mezzanines and foyers, which are perfect options for registration or cloakroom.

Plus, we’re the only 600-seated auditorium in the City of London with a stage that can accommodate anything from an orchestra to a car!

What different types of events do you host there?

Think of anything from complete venue buy-outs for over 1900 delegates with client’s own branding throughout, to stylish themed Christmas parties in our River Rooms, large-scale conferences for up to 600 in our Auditorium, to smaller, more intimate meetings, private banquets and weddings.

We attract a diverse range of sectors including corporate, finance, medical/pharmaceutical, retail, technology, media, music and legal. This means we’ve hosted summits, exhibitions with 27 stands, music concerts, product launches, and just about anything that can be dreamed of.

What’s your favourite room at The Mermaid London and why?

I absolutely love the auditorium, there’s just something about the look and feel of it with its original architecture combined with some seriously impressive-looking technology which includes a 13K laser projector and a state-of-the-art digital audio DANTE system. This room embodies what ‘multipurpose venue’ means.

Watching our operations team help set up that room for an event is like witnessing magic – I still can’t get my head around how one day there’s a car on the stage, the next there are over 30 tables set up to welcome delegates to a private dinner, and the next there are hundreds of people sat in theatre-style watching an on-screen presentation. It’s steeped in history and stories and I think this really translates into the room’s atmosphere. The backstage area is also awesome and reminds me of being on a film set.

How does your team and service partners help feed the offering of this multipurpose venue?

Event planners who come to us have the ability, scope, and support to create events without restrictions, so they can stay ahead of the game and deliver really unique events for their guests. Together with our partners, we offer every event reliable expert support, an on-site team, and the latest technology.

Our dedicated team is here from day one to help bring clients vision to life, starting from the first point of contact with the sales team to the operations team who deliver the event. They know the venue inside out, and no idea is too big or small to run with, the wilder the better. We offer versatility, exclusivity and independence, meaning we’re not interrupted by core commercial activities or rules which govern other venues, which means we can truly embrace creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.

We partner with White Light, our award-winning event production suppliers, who understand that technology is constantly evolving and clients yearn for innovation. Our event caterers, Seasoned, are all for working with clients to excite and impress delegates and deliver not only innovative food concepts tailored to dietary needs but love to get creative with how and where the food is laid out.

Corporate branding helps clients create an unforgettable event, and our partnership with Jupiter, our visual communications agency, allows clients to completely take over the venue. We work closely with organisers to provide made-to-measure designs and sets that are installed and de-rigged efficiently and effectively.

What’s the most interesting event The Mermaid London has hosted?

It has to be the acclaimed Autism’s Got Talent production, organised by Anna Kennedy OBE. We’ve hosted this annual event for the past five years now, and I love how it makes use of our accessible, versatile spaces, including original backstage greenrooms to provide sanctuary for those on the autism spectrum. Seeing and hearing the joy and fun experienced during this event is truly uplifting, and we can’t wait to work with the group again soon.

Tell us a fun fact about The Mermaid London

Our clients love The Mermaid London’s musical past. We’ve hosted performances by some world-renowned artists like Kylie Minogue, Nile Rogers, and even Prince, who played a special industry show in 1999. Although it’s now a meeting and events venue, it’s throwbacks like this that demonstrate just how culturally important – and diverse – this multipurpose venue is.

What would be your dream event and why?

Our dream event would be a TED Talk with Michelle and Barack Obama – no explanation needed!



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