’Tis the season when many folks are in the midst of baking goodies, wrapping presents and getting ready to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. For those who share a work space, the annual office Christmas event presents a chance for co-workers to enjoy each other’s company and share some holiday cheer outside of the formal office setting. While many look forward to this tradition — which usually includes music, speeches, wining and dining — these gatherings can often be somewhat…predictable. Recently, one business in St. John’s decided to jazz things up by enlisting the help of some members of the local arts community.
This year, for their Christmas reception at The Rooms on Decmeber 1, Stantec opted for a bit of a different flavour. While they’ve had typical receptions in the past, says Mark Shrimpton, Principal at Stantec Consulting Limited, the company opted to engage their guests in a unique and fun way by hiring four artists from Wonderbolt Circus to provide entertainment throughout the evening.
“These many years, Stantec has had the traditional dinner, speeches, DJ/dance at a local hotel – relatively predictable and I think increasingly, not what people are into. We certainly felt the need to sort of change things up,” he says.
“Of course, with a dinner/dance, you spend most of the time sitting at whatever table you’re sitting at. And Stantec, as a business, we are architects, we are engineers and we’re environmental services people – so three rather different groups. And there’s always a tendency to sit with the people you know…so we got into something which allowed for more interaction and people to mix and mingle.”
While there was food and beverages on hand throughout the evening, there was also a magician, a juggler, a hula hoop artist, and a stilt walker (Wonderbolt’s artistic director, Beni Malone).
“They circulated through the crowd. The juggler engaged some of the people in juggling, and Beni had people in the crowd spinning plates. A lot of fun was had,” Shrimpton says.
Stantec is a member of Business & Arts NL and consulted with them on options for having a local arts group entertain and animate the event. Stantec made the final decision to engage Wonderbolt and couldn’t have been happier with their professionalism and performance, Shrimpton says.
“We’ve had all sorts of good feedback from people. It was evident in the evening that people were having a good time,” he says, adding that some guests lingered after the reception was over.
“I think it was a great success. I don’t think people will want to go back to the classic hotel dinner/dance, having had this rather different event.”