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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Manchester-Based AV Company Strives to Create ‘Hope’ for Ukrainian Refugees at the Eurovision Song Contest

Pulling out all the stops: Manchester-based AV (audio-visual) company, Saturn Visual Solutions, has transformed Liverpool’s Unity Theatre into a ‘Place Of Hope’, just in time for the Eurovision Song Contest.

Saturn, a digital signage consultancy, has helped to convert the Unity Theatre into an interactive celebration of Ukraine culture for the duration of the international event. This is to honour the winning nation, which is unable to stage the event because of the ongoing war with Russia.

Culture Liverpool commissioned the Unity Theatre to create ‘A Place of Hope’, with various cultural events and a pop-up exhibition to allow visitors to learn about and celebrate the culture of and life stories from Ukrainian people, and especially refugees, during the Eurovision Cultural Festival 2023.

The theatre had organised a series of key events like poetry recitals and creative workshops and wondered if their meeting room space could be used to draw attention to Ukrainian refugees living in the area, by showing videos about them. The theatre had some old broken screens so they approached Saturn to see if any could be fixed and used for that purpose.

Rachel Welsh, from the Unity Theatre explained: “As we were so busy organising all the events and activities, we didn’t think about whether we could do something with our meeting room until a fortnight before the Eurovision Song Contest was due to start.

“We approached the team at Saturn and explained that we had a very limited budget available. They said that although our displays couldn’t be fixed, they had a large working display that was perfect for our meeting room and that we could use it for the duration of the event.

“Then they started asking about what we wanted to show on the screen and I explained that we wanted to show videos of Ukrainian refugees. The videos would be about their creative talents, lives before the war and how they are now living in Liverpool but are struggling to find work.  Our hope was that with so many people visiting the city for Eurovision, that some people might be able to offer them paid work.”

The Saturn team suggested that they could adapt some existing software and lend the theatre some freestanding digital signage so that visitors could pick and choose from 10 different Ukrainian refugee videos. They subsequently installed a 50-inch screen and a small touchscreen within a lectern within the theatre’s meeting room.

Matthew Drury said: “It’s been a real whirlwind couple of weeks. Our company’s tagline is ‘everything we do revolves around you’ because we always do our utmost to help our clients. And this was a great example of Saturn’s problem-solving at its best.

“We were really pushed to our limits to get the software developed and working in time – especially as the theatre was recording the videos right up to the last minute, and we had to do lots of testing it to make sure it would work properly. We also had to reschedule our installers’ diaries to make sure we could get the hardware installed for the start of Eurovision. Thankfully, we got everything up and running in time, and we feel like we’ve done the UK and the Ukraine proud. We only hope that the Unity’s videos can provide some hope for the refugees living here in the UK.”

The equipment loaned by Saturn will also be used to display the ‘Ukraine Creates’ video series which celebrates the vast creative talents of Ukrainians who have fled to Liverpool following the outbreak of war. The information will be available with subtitles to ensure that the exhibition and cultural events are as inclusive as possible.

For more information, visit: https://saturnvisual.com/

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