Who we are
We are creative strategists, agitators and alchemists; captivating audiences on intimate and global stages.
To develop creative strategies equal to the greatest ambitions of our clients.
To thrill and transport our many audiences, through unforgettable encounters.
What we do
We dream up the big ideas that connect with people; bringing stories to life in unexpected and arresting ways.
We create high-profile ceremonies, events and launches,designing the complete journey of audience experience: from arrival to departure via extraordinary encounters.
We build relevant, compelling campaigns - from narrative development and winning strategy to 360° support and execution.
SARA DONALDSON OBE
“Create an experience to inspire wonder, and in no small way you will have changed the world.”
Throughout a prestigious career Sara has overseen the delivery of many high profile events and ceremonies. Her trusted name is a hallmark of the imagination, integrity, and impeccable attention to detail that deliver world-beating results for her eminent clients.
Her projects have included London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Royal Opening of Heathrow’s Terminals 2 and 5, the launch of the new concourse at London King’s Cross, BBC Sports Personality of the Year and the Invictus Games.
Following an early career organizing sports and charity events, Sara became National Programme Director for the New Millennium Experience Company and in 2000 was appointed OBE for services to the Millennium Celebrations. From 2001 to 2008 she was Director of LIVE Communications before co-founding Unspun in 2009. She played a crucial strategy role in numerous global bids and campaigns including London’s 2012 Olympic bid, Singapore’s successful bid for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and England’s bid to host the 2018 Football World Cup.
She co-produced the 2014 Commonwealth Games Flag Handover Ceremony in Delhi, was joint C.O.O. of the production company behind the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies and led the creative for the much lauded BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2012 Awards.
In 2014, Sara sat on the board for the inaugural Invictus Games with HRH Prince Harry and oversaw the Opening Ceremony and Closing Concert. She has fulfilled the role of Executive Producer of the Opening Ceremony for the Rugby World Cup and most recently on the Invictus Games Orlando 2016 Ceremonies as well as a fundraising concert for HRH Prince Harry’s charity Sentebale with Coldplay as headliner.
Who we help
Experience on a global scale
From governments and world leaders to major charities and blue-chip organisations, our clients confidently entrust their most prestigious events to our unrivalled expertise.
Fostering an intimate connection
At personal level and for smaller organisations, we provide individual consultancy and bespoke events. We are proud to be known as facilitators and enablers - seeking always to help people connect.
Pricing tailored to you
Our made-to-measure pricing policy enables us to take on smaller projects that ignite our passions, alongside our large-scale work.
How we work
Anything but ordinary, at Donaldson Creative we dare our clients to dream big:
pushing the boundaries of creative possibility to discover uniquely inspiring approaches.
penetrating strategy with boundless creativity;
meticulous delivery with bravery of vision
From the moment the right idea is ignited we are unstoppable, driven to excel with total integrity. We don’t rest until a creation is extraordinary in every detail; lending the weight of our unrivalled experience and intuition to guide an evolving vision toward all-out success.
A desire to delight infuses our every choice. From micro moments of surprise and joy to historic spectaculars on an epic scale, our ambition is ever to awaken people to the moment; touching each audience with a brilliance all at once captivating, memorable, and very, very effective.
London 2017 World ParaAthletics Championships
Donaldson Creative devised, produced the Medal Plaza delivering 213 Medal Ceremonies for the World ParaAthletics Championships held in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in July 2017.
Located in the Hero Village (sponsor activations), this was the first time the ceremonies were delivered outside of the Stadium to ensure that they were not a distraction to competition taking place.
With a complex schedule, a daily programme of the Hero Village and all its activity was created to ensure Partner activations did not disrupt the medal ceremonies and there was a consistent programme of activity both on and off stage throughout the day to create a fun and energetic atmosphere.
A dedicated and highly experienced team was recruited to address the need for flexibility and speed due to number of ceremonies.
Sentebale Concert featuring Coldplay
A unique concert with a live audience of 3,000 at Kensington Palace to raise awareness of the charity’s work - supporting orphans and vulnerable children in Lesotho, many of whom are affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Exclusive performances took place by Coldplay, Laura Mvula, George the Poet and the Basotho Children’s Choir flown in from Lesotho to perform with Joss Stone.
Donaldson Creative provided consultancy support to develop multiple hospitality packages within the Palace and the creation of a funding model in order to secure partners. In the delivery phase, we developed the overarching running order, created visual content including film and graphics and produced all scripts. We brought in concert promoters AEG UK to deliver all technical production and site infrastructure. We also provided stage management during the show for all creative elements and speakers including HRH Prince Harry.
Careful management of stakeholders including the Royal Household, headline talent and sponsors was required as well as guidance on guest experience including catering, venue management, entertainment and spectator experience.
Invictus Games Orlando 2016
Following on from our successful involvement in the inaugural Invictus Games in London, we provided significant consultancy and production support for the 2016 Invictus Games that took place in May 2016 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. The consultancy began with a feasibility study showcasing Invictus best practice.
We were appointed to produce the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, overseeing the complicated sports presentation for 10 disciplines in 5 venues, as well as a producing a number of Symposium events for the George W. Bush Institute taking place ahead of the games. In addition to this support central project management was provided, including the production of critical path documentation and other project management tools including management action registers and status documentation.
The Opening Ceremony took place on the 8th May in front of an audience of 14,000 and a global television audience of many millions.
Click here to view the Opening Ceremony: http://www.continuumlive.com/invictus-games-orlando-2016-opening-ceremony/
RWC 2015 Opening Ceremony
To excite the world and set the tone for the Tournament, our objective was to create an Opening Ceremony that would engage and inspire a live audience of 82,000 at Twickenham Stadium and a broadcast audience in the hundreds of million. The production played a significant role in realising the vision for the Tournament and in presenting England as a proud, warm and welcoming host nation.
This needed to be more than a Ceremony, this needed to be an experience; a moment in time to break new ground via an extraordinarily ambitious production. We placed the grand, the formal and the received traditions of ceremony to one side and got right to the point, the vision, the SCRUM. The Opening Ceremony set the tone for the Tournament; passionate, succinct, bold and bursting with excitement. Most crucially the field of play was cleared in just 10 minutes, allowing teams plenty of warm up time for the Opening Match. The show had a fantastic response from the audience, the media and the client - a truly unforgettable experience.
RWC Workforce Event
To kick off our work with England 2015, Donaldson Creative produced an all-day training event for the 6,000 strong volunteers of the Rugby World Cup 2015 as a start to their volunteer training journey ahead of the Tournament. The event took place at Stadium MK and featured a plethora of rugby talent including Laurence Dallaglio, Will Greenwood, Maggie Alphonsi and Shane Williams with the event hosted by BBC pundit John Inverdale. Volunteers were given a sneak preview of their tournament uniform, had the opportunity to take photos of themselves with The Webb Ellis Cup and listen to the hugely talented English soprano Laura Wright performing a special rendition of Jerusalem. Production, content and logistics were all expertly handled by the Donaldson Creative team, producing an event that surpassed all expectations.
Salvation Army 150th Anniversary Congress
To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the founding of The Salvation Army, we partnered with Executive Producer Christopher Laue and Corporate Magic to deliver a 7-day programme of full-scale productions, concerts and exhibitions across four venues at The O2, London.
The production included 7 arena shows honouring their rich-storied heritage while at the same time celebrating their innovative future in front of an audience of 15,000 each time. We provided project management for all aspects including brand activations, creative production, complex logistics, stakeholder management and onsite delivery at an iconic but challenging venue.
Invictus Games London 2014
Sara Donaldson sat on the Board of Directors of the inaugural Invictus Games, responsible for ceremonies. The Opening Ceremony had a live audience of 10,000 and broadcast audience of millions. Sara led the team to manage every aspect from developing the creative concept and a compelling narrative to managing full production, logistics, scripting, onsite delivery, entertainment and military elements whilst liaising with multiple stakeholders including the Royal Household, within a challenging venue and a stringent budget. Highlights included persuading Chris Martin to compose an Invictus anthem, Idris Elba performing a reading and the Foo Fighters playing an exclusive headline set to close the games.
Donaldson Creative was also awarded the contract to oversee Sports Presentation, Opening, Closing and Medal Ceremonies for the 2016 Invictus Games hosted in Orlando in May 2016.
Heathrow – Slipstream Launch
Working with the Heathrow Communications team, Sutton PR and Future City, Donaldson Creative were briefed to provide creative strategy and event production for a series of events to launch Slipstream at Heathrow Airport in the spring of 2014. The production, which was installed at a landside location at Heathrow Terminal 2, was versatile in its nature and was used for a number of different events over a week long period. Events held during this week included a press briefing, a drinks reception, a day conference for airline employees as well as an awards ceremony.
Donaldson Creative provided both production and logistical support to Heathrow as well as producing a wide variety of engaging video and PowerPoint content to support presentations made by key stakeholders including Richard Wilson RA, Paul Bonhomme, Mark Davy at Future City and a number of key Heathrow Executives.
The events were deemed a great success and the sculpture has been lauded as ‘the most beautiful piece of sculpture in Europe’ by Heathrow’s former Development Director, and now CEO, John Holland-Kaye.
Heathrow - Launch of T5 & T2
March 2008 & June 2014
To launch the new landmark buildings with purpose and pride required world-class ceremonies. We provided full service event support co-ordinating every aspect, from writing speeches and producing films, to co-ordinating Her Majesty’s schedule and ensuring that up to 1,100 VIP guests passed seamlessly through security checks whilst working within a live Terminal environment.
We included creative, bold and unexpected elements alongside the official proceedings to create unique events and also addressed various challenges such as high security levels, strict royal protocol and the buildings themselves.
BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2012
2012 was a historic year for British sport; hot on the heels of the Olympic Games, the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year 2012 Awards was the most hotly anticipated show of its 59 year history. The BBC needed to deliver its biggest and best celebration yet so we created an event that wowed the 16,500 live arena audience and millions of viewers through live transmission.
Our innovative set design created a dynamic canvas that allowed unlimited possibilities for lighting transformation as well as diverse staging possibilities for an exciting show. In addition to the main arena for the Awards ceremony, we were also charged with the design, implementation and management of four high-end hospitality areas and the after-show party featuring a unique musical performance by Bradley Wiggins.
London 2012 Ceremonies
As a partner in a joint venture company, Flow Productions Ltd and our team established and managed London 2012 Ceremonies Limited - the dedicated production company that delivered the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Sara Donaldson and Christopher Laue served as joint Chief Operating Officer with the remainder of our leadership team serving as Procurement Director, Finance Director and Producer of the Ceremonies.
The creative concept of the Ceremonies brought to life the key themes and priorities of the London 2012 Games – ‘Inspiring a generation’ - through sport, youth and urban transformation. It was a Ceremony 'for everyone', celebrating the most innovative, revolutionary and iconic examples of Britain’s rich history and unique humour. Led by a visionary creative team that included Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), Kim Gavin (Take That The Circus Tour) and Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliott), these distinctly British ceremonies were embraced by more than 4 billion viewers worldwide in 204 countries, and received widespread critical acclaim.
Glasgow 2014 Handover Ceremony
To bring to life Glasgow 2014 and the city’s unique personality, we delivered an 8-minute segment of the Closing Ceremony of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, working across geographies and cultures with a limited budget. The objective was to deliver a strong and stylish performance; meaningful to the home audience, entertaining to the live audience, and memorable for the global broadcast audience. This was achieved by identifying established symbols that led the audience on a journey through traditional Scotland to modern Glasgow and by placing the proud people of Glasgow at the heart of the performance. This was highly visible in the form of tartan, kilts, bagpipes, the Loch Ness monster and a 350-strong mass choreographed cast from every corner of Scotland, from all backgrounds and all walks of life. We provided the overall creative concept from inception through to delivery as well as creative direction on all elements including choreography, original music, protocol, design, and co-ordinating a team of world-class experts to lead an inexperienced in-house team. We were also responsible for the technical and operational delivery.