One is an award-winning publicist and events guru with a formidable work ethic. The other is a seasoned production and stage manager who is in demand around the world as a technical specialist. Now, Bridget van Oerle and Thabo Pule have come together to form The BUZ Factor – a new events consultancy with the X factor!
“After having worked together for nearly two decades, we are finally joining forces and pooling our strengths to increase the bouquet of services we offer and give clients the option of a one-stop shop with customised packages, including virtual and hybrid eventing,” says van Oerle. “We factor in the BUZ – and your budget.”
Adds Pule: “We learnt during Covid that offering quality specialised services is vital to the success of any event or project, and that each client has their own identity and needs. The time has passed for a one-size-fits-all approach – we cater for clients’ specific needs and have the ability to be flexible and adapt quickly to changing requirements.”
The BUZ Factor already has several successful projects under its belt – including handling the PR, event coordination, technical requirements and social media or the recent Beautiful Things 2022 craft exhibition, a hybrid event, plus the My Body My Space public arts festival, both in Mpumalanga. Van Oerle and Pule have also worked together on events such as the Rosebank Transport Indaba and SANEF’s Nat Nakasa Awards.
Working with a team of professional suppliers and harnessing the power of Pule’s and van Oerle’s combined networks, The BUZ Factor offers bespoke services in public relations, marketing, eventing, training, connecting and stakeholder management, as well as specialised technical services and consulting.
Pule says he has long admired the way van Oerle conducts business, “always showing commitment and love to any event”, and that during the course of working on several projects together they have built up a solid working relationship based on mutual respect.
“We are motivated to change the way the industry operates,” he says. “The BUZ Factor is a hands-on consultancy that will go the extra mile; one that understands clients’ needs – and no job is too big or too small. One of our key offerings is a bespoke events package that can cater for online, hybrid or live events, supported by a specialised team of public relations, marketing, social media, film production, sound, lighting, and staging experts. We also offer a tailored training programme when we do events, opening the door for the youth to learn about event management and technical production.”
Adds van Oerle: “Thabo and I are very excited to have formalised our working relationship after so many years – it’s been a long time coming. I have the greatest admiration for his professional work ethic and dedication to excellence. We believe our collective experience and networks add huge value to our offering, and we are looking forward to this brand-new adventure.”
About Bridget van Oerle:
Bridget van Oerle has built up a strong track record and reputation as the “go-to” person in South Africa for any arts publicity, communication, event and education requirements, with her finger constantly on the pulse of what’s happening across sectors. As the head of BUZ Publicity and BUZ Consulting, she has busily buzzed around the local creative industries for the past 26 years, picking up several awards and widespread acclaim along the way.
Dawn Robertson, CEO of Constitution Hill, says Van Oerle goes beyond the call of duty in servicing clients, maintaining high levels of professionalism and always being willing to engage, even at short notice. She also hails BUZ’s “extensive network of resources and connections in various spaces, and [she] uses these relationships to support the overarching goals of their client, wherever possible”.
Gayle Edmunds of City Press has nothing but praise for how Van Oerle and her team expertly handled the logistics, organising, PR and last-minute changes surrounding the City Press/Rapport Land Indaba in 2018. Avril Joffe of Wits concurs, singling out BUZ’s “professional, reliable and sufficiently flexible” approach to ensure the four-day International Summer School online conference last year was a success. For his part, SANEF’s Reggy Moalusi said BUZ was “a pleasure to work with” during the staging of the 2021 Nat Nakasa Awards.
Carolyn Steyn, founder of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day, hails Van Oerle and her team for their excellent pro bono work on the Guinness World Record-holding project since 2014. “Media exposure garnered by the BUZ PR team for the 67 Blankets initiative has been nothing short of phenomenal … Our association with BUZ PR is a match made in heaven and I would not hesitate to refer them as a service provider in a very competitive industry.”
About Thabo Pule:
Thabo Pule has worked extensively as a sound and lighting designer, logistics, tour and stage manager within the performing arts and event industry, including locally for Moving into Dance Mophatong and internationally for Robyn Orlin. Soweto-born and bred, he is highly skilled in lighting design, sound and video operation, production management, theatrical production, projection, and technical festival management.
MIDM’s Nadia Virasamy describes him as “nothing short of professional and his level of service has always been impeccable”. Furthermore, she says “he goes beyond the call of duty to ensure complete client satisfaction … he is a pleasure to work with, and I say that of few people in the dance and theatre industry”.
Internationally acclaimed choreographer Robyn Orlin, now based in Germany as the head of the City Theater and Dance Group, also praises Pule as a valued long-standing collaborator. “He has been working with me on many different projects for more than 20 years as a stage, sound and video manager,” she says. “He is a pillar in my work and I couldn’t imagine working without him. … He is a delight to work with.”
National Arts Festival technical director Nicci Spalding hails Pule’s work ethic and his reputation as a “skilled and valuable production team member”. Pule has worked on this multidisciplinary festival for more than 20 years, 12 of which have been as a senior member of the core technical team, managing a number of professionals to ensure the safe and timeous delivery of works while mentoring younger technicians. “Thabo is an asset to any team and we would readily employ him on future projects at the National Arts Festival,” says Spalding.
Truly a winning team that is ideally poised to shake up the fast-moving, ever-changing world of events – giving any project The BUZ Factor!