With the threads in her hand

The complexity of event planning is increasing, as are participants' expectations. This makes working together with committed and professional planners all the more valuable.

Festspielhaus Bregenz Bühnenturm Ausschnitt mit Himmel © Dominic Kummer

When it comes to organising events at the Festspielhaus, Katharina Bonat can be found where all the threads meet. She told us how she manages not to lose the proverbial thread and to create meaningful events in collaboration with the organisers:


Katharina, you have been project manager at the Festspielhaus Bregenz for two years now. What are your main tasks?

I support our clients through the entire process of planning and realising their event. This begins with the first meeting, continues with individual, in-depth advice and the preparation of a quotation, and ends with the actual realisation of the event on site.


That sounds very exciting. What do you value most about your work?

Variety is what I value most, as I organise a wide range of events, from cultural events to conferences and trade fairs. My working day is never monotonous; something new always comes up because all events are unique. Teamwork is also very important to me. Recently, at STAGE Bregenz, we realised once again that we coordinate brilliantly. The spontaneity that we can offer our clients as a result is what sets us apart.


You're in charge of very different events this year, but they are all very complex in the planning.

Yes, that's right. There was STAGE Bregenz, an art fair that took place at the Festspielhaus in February. The multi-day DestinationCamp and The best place to live are also on the programme for May.


Event design is essential for congresses, meetings and trade fairs, too. As a project manager, to what extent are you involved in the conceptualisation of the events?

We are often involved at an early stage, even before the framework of the event has been finalised. Clients need room plans and estimates of capacity and possibilities from us. Visiting the premises in person is ideal to get a feel for the event. It's often a big surprise what we can make happen.


What challenges arise with regard to the dramaturgy of the event? It's not only a matter of conveying the content well, but also the concept needs to be consistent throughout. How do you manage not to lose the common thread that should run through the event?

With good communication right from the start! Some event organisers come to us with a clear vision and are looking for ways to implement that vision in the best possible way. In such cases, the challenge lies in understanding and interpreting what they want and integrating it into a convincing event plan. On the other hand, we're also familiar with clients coming to us without any concrete ideas. We then work with professional event designers to develop a customised solution that meets their expectations and requirements. Our aim is to provide support, concretise ideas and at the same time introduce innovative elements in order to create a lively, meaningful event together.


Events with added value are all about interaction and working together on relevant topics. What are your experiences with event formats such as Pecha Kucha or the World Café?

That's becoming increasingly important. It's noticeable that the participants get more and more involved, as it loosens up the events and makes them livelier.


Can you tell us your favourite format?

The FishBowl method is a great format. Everyone can contribute, but nobody is forced to. It's often the case that the different personalities of the participants are not taken into account, but it's not like that with FishBowls.


Is there a patent recipe for successful events?

No, I wouldn't say that, as success of course depends on various factors. Every event is unique, there is no one guideline that you can or should follow. However, there are tried and tested principles and methods that can help. Clear objectives and precise knowledge of the target group are crucial, while a creative concept ensures that the event will stay in people's memory. At the same time, careful budget planning is essential to keep an eye on the finances. Close collaboration with all partners, open communication and the ability to adapt are also important factors.


Event planning is becoming more and more complex and expectations are growing. How do you stay up-to-date in the event team?

We learn from every event that we host. When a new concept is implemented [at the Festspielhaus], then afterwards we can advise other clients about that, too. On top of that we take part in c4u (the Austrian Convention Bureau's meetings lab) and the micelab:bodensee learning modules every year, and familiarise ourselves with new formats there.


Is there a dream event that you would like to stage?

Yes, I would like to organise a really big concert or a dance show, something with a lot of action.



With the threads in her hand © buero-magma.at
© buero-magma.at