Building a Stellar Line-Up for Your Awards Ceremony in 2023/24

Any event manager knows the significance of a well-curated line-up for awards ceremonies. The headline act at your award ceremony sets the tone for the whole event, and plays a key part in attracting publicity and selling tickets. It’s also a key opportunity to embrace the importance of diversity, inclusivity and cultural sensitivity in crafting your events. So let’s take a quick tour of things to consider when putting your line-up together.

How Do I Pick the Right Act for My Audience?

This can be a tricky balancing act and it’s not always possible to get it 100% right, but looking at the make-up of previous years’ events will give you a key indication of the needs and wants of the crowd. As well as the usual demographic categories (age, genders, seniority, nationality, job titles), try asking some new questions about your audience each time you plan an event, such as: ‘Are there particular act choices that are more likely speak to the cultural or religious make-up of the audience?’, ‘Is my audience made up of lots of individuals/pairs, or large teams that will know one another?’ and ‘What sort of current trends/cultural references are my audience of 20 – 25s likely to engage with most, as opposed to my group of senior directors?’.

Making an Atmosphere

When building your event’s overall objectives, this is the time to think about building event atmosphere, and choosing speakers and entertainment options that support those objectives and goals. Is your atmosphere aiming to be a ‘no expenses spared’, glamourous affair, or an intimate and friendly celebration with a relaxed atmosphere. You know your guests best, so try to imagine what they’ll prefer on the day. If your event is one of the biggest in the year for the industry, your area’s Oscars, then a famous face in a sharp suit and a string quartet might be the right option, but for a more down to earth event, a circuit favourite with lots of audience interaction could be a better bet.

Searching With Intention

Thankfully, when it comes to corporate entertainment and speakers, things are starting to change; the days of the same white male faces appearing at every event are coming to an end – and your audience knows this! Comedy featuring a diverse range of topics and perspectives is not only hilarious but interesting and fresh, whether your audience is mixed or largely from one demographic.

Getting the Message Across

Don’t forget to factor in accessibility when choosing your acts, hosts and entertainment. If, for example, you’re hosting many guests from overseas, then an act relying heavily on regional dialects/accents or local knowledge will be a miss. This is especially relevant when hiring impressionists! If you know you’re hosting guests with sight or hearing impairments, or otherwise differently abled, consider how your acts will translate to these audience members, and what adjustments can be made to make the experience inclusive.

Cultural Sensitivity and Awareness

It’s not always possible to predict exactly what the potential impacts of your choices will be on various members of your audience, because there will always be some things that are simply outside of your own cultural experience. This is one of the many, many reasons that recruiting event managers from a wide pool of talent is so important when crafting successful event experiences. It’s best not to make guesses; speak to real people and gather different opinions and perspectives. Luckily, at Spectrum, this is something we’re really good at!

Balancing the Program

Creating a line-up with balance, rhythm and texture is a tricky business – let Spectrum advise you on the best way to order and allocate stage-time at your event. Does that CEO’s speech really need to be 90 minutes long? Do you really want a comedian to perform for 40 minutes, when they are advising that a punchy 20 would be best? Also consider who is following whom – no comedian wants to go on straight after a heartfelt charity appeal; it’s jarring and inappropriate.

Speak to the Experts

Here at Spectrum, we pride ourselves in having great relationships with the hottest new acts, as well as more established favourites, drawing on the full spectrum of available talent. When you choose to work with Spectrum, we’ll quickly compile an accessible short-list of available options that fit in with your event objectives and budget, saving you time and money.

Are The the Right Fit (Literally!)

Not only should your acts fit in with your event goals and objectives thematically, but it’s important to communication the strengths and any limitations of your venue early on in the selection process. It’s especially important for physical and visual acts, such as dancers or circus performers.

Promotion and Communication

If you’re serious about diversity and inclusion, this should extend to your marketing and comms too. Have a look at our easy to follow guide for inclusivity in event marketing here.

It’ll Be Alright on the Night!

Spectrum is here for you to lean on at every step of the organisation process, but this is especially relevant when it comes to rehearsal and logistics for your speakers, hosts and entertainment. Transporting everyone to the venue in the appropriate way with all of their gear can feel daunting, but we work with you to ensure that both you and your acts needs are met on the day. Be guided by the act/speaker when it comes to rehearsal – does your awards host really need to be there 6 hours before the kick-off? Or could they do a run through and then go away and come back?

Ready To Start Planning?

Get in touch! Our roster is made up of thought-leaders, entertainers, speakers, hosts and DJ’s from a vastly diverse range of backgrounds, who captivate audiences and spark discussion. We’d love to help with the line-up at your next event – drop us a line on: or on +44 203 239 4555.

For more helpful tips and advice about running events inclusively, check out our Mastermind Clinics for events professionals. Our Masterclass Clinics for Events Professionals are curated by experts in the business. As one of the first Inclusion focussed suppliers and consultancy to the events industry in the UK, the Spectrum team are uniquely placed to advise, inform and spark discussion about how to weave inclusion into all aspects of event management.