Keeping true to the philosophy that less is more, Gareth Hadden and Grant Orchard
are the founders of the stage and production design agency Formative. Based in
Cape Town, the duo of Business Director and Creative Director respectively possess
decades-worth of experience working on international as well as local television,
stage and live event productions. One such production includes the recent Cassper
Nyovest “Fill Up the Dome’ concert, which saw over 20,000 concert-goers basking
in the glow of not only a first in South African music history but also a
demonstration in polished stage design.

“Our concepts orchestrate scenic, lighting, video and motion graphics into a singular
vision,’ adds Orchard, and it is exactly that focus that yields the results Formative
has achieved over the past four years. By creating all the elements of a production
in one environment projects become seamless from start to finish.

Both UK nationals, Hadden and Orchard have collectively lived in South African for
almost 14 years. Together with a team of four in-house designers they share
experience working in theatre, music festivals, broadcast, interior design and
architecture. Some of their clients to date include Santam (2011-2015), the 2015
MTV African Music Awards, AfricaCom (2011-2015), and the Huisgenoot Kyknet
SuperSkouspel 2015.

The team at Formative is constantly watching and learning from its international
counterparts. “The quality of custom content created for South Africa stages is
improving but there is still a lot to learn from watching how the exact philosophy
our team works by – that less is more – can ultimately benefit a production; how
moments can be created with less yet still captivate audiences,’ says Orchard.

Case in point would be the now historic “Fill Up the Dome’ concert funded and
spearheaded by South African hip hop artist Cassper Nyovest. Whilst working on the
2015 MTV Africa Music Awards Nyovest was impressed with the video content
Formative created for the ceremony. Fast forward a few months and one more
meeting later, Formative were tasked with conceptualising and developing the
production, which took place on 31 October 2015.

“In our line of business there are no second chances. Everything is live and under
immediate scrutiny,’ adds Hadden. “What we produce needs to be as near to
perfect as we can get it and as soon as we press play.’

When asked what the most important element of a production is for Formative: “It’s
about creating moments,’ Hadden and Orchard say simultaneously. “Moments that
stay with you forever.’