Recreating Narnia for Your Event
One of the best ways to entertain a large crowd of all ages at an event is to have a universal theme that can involve everyone. Creating an event centered around a classic book or movie series is a perfect way to reach the masses; entertaining the kids with popular characters as well as giving the adults a well-known storyline that they can relate to on a different level. We, at Merry Makers Entertainment, love doing themed events that involve an element of whimsy and fun so when a client asked us to help plan a corporate kid’s day based on “The Chronicles of Narnia,” a timeless piece of children’s literature written by C.S. Lewis, we were thrilled to take on the challenge.
And it WAS a challenge. To plan an all day event for over nearly 300 people that would entertain over 120 kids for eight hours is tricky enough, but to transform a modern office building, complete with cubicles, computers, and other office-related paraphernalia into a magical play land for kids took some creativity. We drew a lot of inspiration from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe movie and the rest of the Narnia trilogy created by Disney and Walden Media, and we used the details and imagery from those movies to transform a boring corporate office space into the magical kingdom of Narnia.
Here are just a few suggestions on how to make your Narnia themed event a success too!
Create one major feature in each space you use. The movie adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia is full of iconic sweeping imagery and vast landscapes that can seem a bit daunting to recreate in an office building. But, you don’t have to decorate every inch of your space to give the illusion of being transported into a different world. Having one large impressive décor piece set in the space that is easily recognizable as part of your theme will give your guests something to focus on and they will be too busy taking in the sights to notice if there’s a copy machine way in the back of the room. We created a winter wonderland area built around a massive ice throne fit for the Snow Queen, complete with snow, lampposts and trees heavy with icicles. We also constructed a springtime field full of flowers with a brightly colored satin tent guarded by Aslan in another area of the building that we used for story time and other activities.
Make Your Décor Interactive. We wanted to draw people into the theme right from the start, so we created a giant wardrobe over the main entrance to the space, full of over-sized fur coats, just like the story describes. Everyone had to walk through the wardrobe to get to our magical winter wonderland on the other side. The simple act of having to walk through a set instantly makes everyone feel as though they’ve become a character in the story and gets them excited to be a part of it.
Well-planned lighting will do wonders to set the mood. The fluorescent lights that are standard in most office buildings do little to perk up employees on a day-to-day basis, and even less to create a magical mood for kids. If you can't get a lighting designer, bring in a few special colored lights to highlight your decor and it will drastically change the feel of the room. Try using various shades of blue tones to create a cooler wintery feel. Use oranges, reds and yellows for warmer springtime looks. Dim the lights for a more mystical ominous feel and brighten them to energize people for activities.
Hire Talented Entertainers. If you have a lot of guests to entertain, you will need more than just static décor to hold their attention. Live entertainers will keep the event dynamic and interesting. This can be anything from large theatrical stage performances, to improvisational characters that interact with guests to musicians, dancers or a variety of artists. We had an amazing team of actors come in as characters from the book. We had Lucy, Edmond, Mister Tumnus, and the Snow Queen lead the kids in games, scavenger hunts and other craft activities that went along with our Narnia theme. We also had face painters, magicians and balloon artists to give the kids some additional whimsy.
Give them a piece of Narnia to take home. Who doesn’t love free stuff? Whether your event is a fundraiser, a formal event for adults, or a giant kids party, people always remember what they got in the goodie bags. It is a great incentive to get people to participate and a way to keep them talking about your event long after it’s over. Pick some small give away items that go with the theme. We handed out crowns and tiaras, costume jewelry, bubbles, chocolates and more to the kids and even some of the adults snuck a few goodies away for themselves as a keepsake.
Our Narnia themed event was a big hit with both the kids and their parents and we attribute that to our attention to detail. Watch the movies again and make notes of the little details that make each scene and each character so enduring and memorable. Those are the little things that will blow your guests away and make your event the talk of the town!