In conversation with Rebecca, Head of Event Planning at Tate

We love planning events at Tate so we were delighted to catch up with Rebecca Evans, Head of Event Planning. We talked about the reopening of the galleries, virtual site visits, new safety measures for events and some exciting new event opportunities.

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Tate has been reopen for over a month now. Can you tell us what galleries are open and what the experience is like for visitors now?

The teams across Tate have been working hard over lockdown and since reopening to make the gallery as safe as possible for visitors. All our sites are operating at a reduced capacity to allow for social distancing. In addition, we have developed a new ticketing system for both the free displays and paid exhibitions. Each exhibition has a set one-way route for guests to follow which allows them to safely explore the gallery. We have a limited number of our catering outlets open so guests can still experience all the wonderful food and drinks Tate Eats has to offer. These include our pizza container and bar on the North Landscape. This is a perfect spot on a sunny day!

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How have things changed for you and the events team, are you still working from home and are you available for site visits?

Our events team quickly adapted to the new way of working and have all been able to work effectively from home. We very much miss being in the galleries though. We have launched virtual tours. These have been hugely successful in lieu of not being able to access the gallery for physical site visits. We're encouraging our clients to have virtual site visits where possible. In addition, we have been conducting site visits out of hours when needed. We have also been working very closely with one of our fantastic production companies, Event Concept. We have been creating new floor plans of all our event spaces so we can help clients visualise how their event will look. The new floor plans also helps clients visualise how social distancing can work with their events. Our new digital tools and floor plans are making it easier for everyone to plan their events remotely whilst working from home.

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You’ve been incredibly busy working with your suppliers to ensure you can hold events safely when restrictions are lifted. Can you tell us more about your plans for this?

Working with our suppliers and groups like UVL, we have looked at how we need to adapt events to work safely in a Covid-19 world. We have reviewed all our capacities to allow for both a 2m and 1m bubbles per guest. We are working closely with our suppliers on ways of working onsite to ensure events are safely delivered. Changes include increasing cleaning pre, post and during all events. In addition we are providing hand sanitiser stations and clear signage throughout the gallery and event spaces. Tate are asking all staff members onsite to sign declarations of health upon arriving for their shift. We'll also require them all to complete adequate training before starting work. 

The way we serve food and drink has been adapted to reduce high touch areas and groups congregating. For example we have removed front of house bars and now offer a bespoke drink service instead. 

In addition, we are also asking our clients to stagger guest arrival and departure times to allow for safe entry into the gallery. Tweaking the start times of events also discourages travel during peak hours. All of our new policies are outlined in our Covid-19 document, that helps clients to plan events with the reassurance that the health and safety of guests has been thoroughly assessed and is ready to implement.

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We’ve been chatting about a virtual tour of Andy Warhol for one of our corporate clients, have you had many enquiries about virtual tours and events and how have they been going so far?

One of the best things (among many) about being a Corporate Member with Tate is being able to access our incredible temporary exhibitions such as Andy Warhol. This exhibition has now been extended until November. As we were sadly closed for so long, many of our members were unable to host the wonderful events they had planned around the exhibitions at Tate Modern and Tate Britain. Luckily, we have some fantastic Art Experts at Tate. They have been hosting virtual talks around Warhol and our other temporary exhibitions such as Aubrey Beardsley. Our Corporate Members have been thrilled to be able to experience Tate’s incredible exhibitions virtually and engage with art whilst the gallery was closed. 

Now the gallery has reopened we hope to be able to host events again soon. We are looking forward to showcasing the Warhol inspired concepts and delicious menus we developed for our Corporate Members

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When we spoke last you mentioned opening up to private bookings and weddings, can you tell us more about that?

During lockdown we have been working hard to open up Tate Events to the wedding and private sector. We are currently finalising wedding offers for Spring Summer 2021 and should be able to share these soon. In addition, we are planning an exciting showcase to launch this in the Autumn! We have also been working closely with our colleagues in Tate Eats. They include the Level 9 Restaurant at Tate Modern and Rex Whistler Restaurant at Tate Britain. We have created unique private dining experiences which are very exciting.

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This all sounds great, we can’t wait to find out more! Are there any other new projects happening at Tate that you’d like to share?

We have been focused on getting ourselves ready to host live (and hybrid events) as soon as we get the green light from the government, spending a lot of time reviewing capacities and working on our Covid-19 guidelines. We are conscious there may be some nervousness around hosting events so we have created introductory end to end event offers for receptions, dinners and meetings which we hope will encourage clients to return to Tate for events with confidence. These include some of our most sought after spaces including the Level 10 Viewing Terrace which has outstanding views across London and The South Room which is Tate Modern’s premier conference space.

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