Darwin College

Case Study

University May Ball , Cambridge



Darwin College, Cambridge

Full suite of event services

Every summer the universities and colleges of Cambridge hold their annual May Balls. Over The Moon provided services to Darwin College continuously for 3 years whilst we were based in East Midlands . The themes and tents changed slightly each year and this case study focuses on the first year we worked with the May Ball committee. Cambridge City Council licences all the events and takes an involved and stringent approach to Health & Safety including fire checks, PAT certification and submission of Risk Assessments & Method Statements.

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WHAT they wanted


The annual summer ball wanted various styles of tents, lighting, power, sound systems and sound engineers, lighting engineers and decor services.

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Our core team has worked in outdoor events since 1996. We are fully trained in the rigging of our equipment, and have PRINCE2 accreditation to ensure good project management.

We work safely and smartly and provide Method Statements and Risk Assessments. We follow the latest Health & Safety industry standards.

Client Background & Brief

Darwin College

Darwin is a supportive, informal community in which postgraduate students, researchers and Fellows meet together academically and socially, so as to enrich and enlarge their scholarship and personal experiences, and to form lifelong connections and friendships. Unusually in Cambridge, Darwin has no undergraduate students: our College is friendly and inter-disciplinary.

Client Brief

Alice in Wonderland/ Fairy Tale Themed May Ball.

The organiser, Jo Balfour, asked us to provide the following services.

  • ‘Stretch Tent‘ marquee to house 50-80 people max and space for a band and later dj/silent disco or/ Party tent + gazebo to do same job?
  • Flooring for marquee – dance floor – preferably wood rather than carpet
  • Sound equipment for marquee bands
  • Lighting for marquee
  • Possibly flags Yurt Arabic style rugs, arabic soft furnishings, lanterns (if you have?) lighting
  • Sound equipment for main bands in ballroom
  • Lighting for ballroom – theme is Cinderella’s Ball so atmospheric until midnight and something more fun after
  • Possible equipment for DJ in small inside Common Room (they may bring their own)
  • Lighting for trees, fairy lights for a couple of areas and an archway yellow brick road – yellow lighting effect on cobbled path
  • Staircase to ballroom – fairy lights?

Our Proposal & Services




Tent Masters with Jedi rigging skills

We like to boldly take tents where tents don’t go. This job entailed a lot of carrying by hand (and trolley) some of the kit onto a small island accessible by small footbridge.

Stylish Event Coordination

We successfully worked closely over three years with different May Ball commitees. Good communication is key with lots of multi-discipline areas and making sure all comes together nicely. Darwin college had a lot of Health & Safety concerns to be met.


Guys I’d just like, once more, to extend our huge thanks to you all for your amazing contribution to the Darwin May Ball last night. Everyone I’ve spoken to was extremely complimentary and people loved the cosiness of the yurt and the amazing projection in the Ballroom particularly. The intent and laser lighting really worked for the silent disco and I was amazed at how popular it was. Paul and Nick, you did a great job with the sound, particularly considering the frustrating restrictions put on us by the Council. Everyone was happy! Thanks for having been so professional, flexible and easy to work with. I’ll make sure that I pass your details on to the new Ball Committee for next year’s event.

Jo Balfour, the event organiser

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