Redesigned Bell Event Incorporates Contemporary Theme and Entertainment, Raises $1.2 Million for Mental Health Group

By Carla Warrilow October 19, 2011, 4:00 PM EDT

Photo: Courtesy of Bell

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's Bell Event
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The newly named Bell Event—formerly the Bell Ball—drew 2,000 guests for the October 11 fund-raiser, with the theme “One Night Under a Blue Sky.” Bell redesigned the annual extravaganza, scrapping the celebrity angle and creating a contemporary, brand-driven event with a conceptual theme in support of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
Bell partnered with Circo de Bakuza for the first time this year. “We asked for their biggest idea ever to bring a truly unique 'one night show' to the Toronto marketplace—something that would represent our brand in a sophisticated, elegant, and classy way with a strong narrative throughout each event component,” said Patricia Lakin, director of national events at Bell.

Bell and Circo de Bakuza transformed the Metro Toronto Convention Centre with white draping and vibrant blue carpeting, Bell’s brand colours. The dining room had a theatre-in-the-round layout, a challenge in the convention centre, with a runway and circular stage in the centre of the space lit overhead with a circular lighting truss. Large screens back-dropped the stage showing images of the day, night, or dawn sky.

One Night Under a Blue Sky was divided into sections, each one representing a progression of day to night. The event began with the “blue sky” cocktail reception, leading to “the sky opens,” where the curtain was drawn back to reveal the dining room and guests were led in by masked performers. After dinner was “night falls,” with a performance from theatre troupe La Salamandre. A second performance, from Freedom Ballet, marked “a new dawn,” ending the event on a hopeful note. The theme and entertainment drew on mental health visuals and language. Entertainment, for example, incorporated masks into performances to represent the stigma of mental illness. “It was subtle and creative, but not lost on people,” said Loring Phinney, vice president of corporate marketing at Bell.  

The redesigned Bell Event received positive feedback from guests and raised $1.2 million for the centre.

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