“There are always clients and brands with stories to tell and we want to make those stories as relevant and engaging as possible…”
– Adam Blackwood
Adam Blackwood is the founder of Private Drama Events. Private Drama Events are creators of immersive experiences and otherworldly events. In 2002 they were established from the heart of London’s live performance scene to create experiences that put brands centre stage like never before. Think immersive productions aboard luxury trains, bespoke parties in Royal Palaces and opening ceremonies that are broadcast worldwide. They do that by delivering from end-to-end. Idea to execution. With a network of performers, designers, production crews and events professionals who can produce the spectacular, bringing stories to life.
Tell us about your business and how you came up with the idea/concept?
When I trained at RADA, Mark Rylance was in the year above. Mark took over running the Globe Theatre and it came with a large exhibition space for private and corporate events. Mark was very keen that any theatre performances in that space were of the same high standard as in the main theatre. I had already started an after-dinner theatre company so he asked me to help. From there it was a steep learning curve – aerial performances at Kew, a circus in the Hamptons, the Royal Opera House in a secret venue off Oxford Street, a 24 hour immersive party on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express! Always with a narrative and attention to detail. Now we are producing an experience on British Pullman!
What is your overarching mission and aim today?
There are always clients and brands with stories to tell and we want to make those stories as relevant and engaging as possible and bring them to life through our expertise in creating events that immerse you in different worlds.
Describe briefly the three biggest challenges you have faced during the life of your company?
Covid, covid, covid! was the biggest challenge without a doubt.
You have just announced a multi-year partnership with British Pullman, A Belmond Train to reimagine, bolster and refresh its Moving Murder. What kind of experience do you want visitors to have?
From the moment guests step onto the platform, the clocks have turned back, and the year is now 1951. As well as enjoying a sumptuous five-course lunch, they will be served an irresistible mystery by a cast of enigmatic suspects visiting the 1951 Festival of Britain. The craftsmanship and captivating glamour of the train’s carriages, provide the perfect setting to crack the case. Blurring the lines between fact and fiction, every dramatic plot-twist invites them to lean further into the train’s astonishing history whilst they piece together the clues.
What is your background, and did it help you get where you are today?
I was always involved in drama, reviews and plays at school. I joined the National Youth Theatre and then trained at RADA. After leaving I worked in theatre and TV for about 20 years from Dr Who to Jeeves and Wooster!
What’s been the most rewarding moment of your journey?
Producing the One Young World (OYW) London Summit in 2019, the UK’s most international event since the 2012 Olympic/Paralympic Games. 2000 young leaders or delegates from 190+ countries were counselled by 60+ influential political, business and humanitarian leaders including Richard Branson, Jane Goodall and Meghan Markle, amongst others. We produced an Olympic-style Opening Ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall, with over 250 young people from RADA, the Brit School, the GSA, the National Centre for Circus Arts, with industry professionals to ensure a fresh, raw and exciting cast and to reflect the values of diversity, inclusivity and embody the spirit of youth and hope: London is a place for change, together we are stronger and this OYW generation has the power to save the world! Followed by three days of conferences and a Closing Ceremony at Central Hall Westminster, with live streaming of all content around the world. Last year we produced the Opening Ceremony for OYW in Manchester with incredible homegrown talent and we are so proud of what we achieved for them.
What’s been the biggest lesson – about yourself, your abilities or just general life lessons – you’ve learnt since starting your business?
Having some longevity in the business means we now have the incredible privilege of working with some of the best creative minds in the industry and we can quickly assemble a creative team to collaborate and deliver remarkable experiences and events for our clients across the world.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Always surround yourself by the most talented people. Listen.
What will be the next phase for your business?
Immersive Experiences seem to be the buzz words in our industry right now. Perhaps it’s the fallout from covid but it feels people wish to be more connected and when choosing something to do, we always hear that immersing people in an experience, wrapping them up in a different world and stimulate all the senses will ensure people share an unforgettable experience together. We aim to be one of the leading experiential creators and an agencies that clients will want to work with time and time again.
Who is Adam Blackwood outside the ‘office’?
It is difficult sometimes to get the work life balance right especially when I am delivering a complex job. I am happiest firing up the Green Egg, cooking something slowly with lots of side dishes, surrounded by family and friends – or on the ski slopes that’s where I really relax!