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The Technical Theatre Awards Reveals Winners at PLASA Ceremony

The Technical Theatre Awards Reveals Winners at PLASA Ceremony

The first ever Technical Theatre Awards (TTA) - celebrating the best of 'behind the scenes' skill and talent - were presented at a well-attended ceremony at the PLASA Show at London's ExCel. Fifteen awards were announced on the Theatres Trust stand in the midst of the PLASA hubbub.

Sponsored by AVW Controls, dbs Solutions, Load Cell Rental, Mayflower, Philips Entertainment, PLASA, Production Resource Group (PRG), StageBitz, Stage Jobs Pro, The Fifth Estate Ltd and Triple E, the TTAs are also very kindly supported by Lighting and Sound International and The Theatres Trust.

The host for the evening was prolific multi award-winning lighting designer Rick Fisher, perhaps best known for his work on Billy Elliot the Musical and An Inspector Calls. Recent credits include Great Expectations at Bristol's Old Vic, The Herd at The Bush Theatre, and Inside Wagner's Head at the Linbury Studio Royal Opera House, to name but a few.

A team of industry professionals assisted Rick in presenting the awards and first up was the Stage Jobs Pro Award for Outstanding Achievement in Stage Management, which went to Jason Benterman. Jason started working in stage management in 1991 with The Oxford Stage Company and has since worked on various productions ranging from children's theatre to musical theatre through to many Shakespeare productions at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

The dBs Solution Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sound went to top sound designer Paul Arditti who specialises in the design of sound systems and sound scores. His recent work includes Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, The Audience, Feast and Dr Dee.

International lighting designer Tim Routledge took the Philips Entertainment Award for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting. Tim is an experienced lighting designer and programmer and the past 12 months have seen him work on the biggest shows in the UK. He was associate lighting designer for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace and lead lighting programmer for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

The AVW Award for Outstanding Achievement in Automation went to Ben Philips. Ben's automation experience spans over six years, in which time he has opened and worked on a number of major West End and touring shows including The Sound of Music (Palladium), We Will Rock You (UK Tour), Legally Blonde (Savoy), The Wizard of Oz (Palladium), The Bodyguard (Adelphi) and most recently Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

The 'StageBitz' Award for Outstanding Achievement in Prop Making went to Jonathan Hall. Jonathan has recently worked on The Lord of the Rings at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, White Christmas the Musical and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium and on the UK Tour.

The PRG Award for Outstanding Achievement in Education went to Chris Layton of LIPA. Chris teaches on the sound technology and the theatre and performance technology degree programmes and on the foundation certificate programme.

The IOGIG Ltd Award for Outstanding Achievement in Wardrobe went to Megan Cassidy.

The Load Cell Rental Award for Outstanding Achievement in Flys and Rigging went to Adam Searle. Adam founded industry acclaimed rigging company Rigging Team and now spends his time working on a multitude of shows. Recent projects include flying Heidi Klum for the MTV EMA's in Frankfurt, several permanent installations and production rigging for Derren Brown's Svengali tour and the Michael Grandage Company season at the Noël Coward Theatre.

The Theatres Trust Award for Outstanding Achievement in Wigs and Make-up was won by Stefan Musch who is currently the head of hair, wigs and make-up for The Book of Mormon and the wigs and hair supervisor for 'The Phantom of the Opera, in London. He also teaches wig and hair work at the Delamar Academy.

The Spotlight Accounting Award for Receiving Venue of the Year was given to Sadler's Wells. Sadler's Wells has a history of over 300 years on Rosebery Avenue, Islington and presents a wide-ranging programme of emerging and established artists.

The AdVision Hire Company of the Year Award went to Autograph which says: "Anybody can hire you a 'kit' – we pride ourselves on a hire department that is manned by people who value and understand the merits of quality equipment over soulless 'gear'. They know how intense the creation of live performance sound can be and how it feels to be ill-equipped and unsupported, and how utterly useless a CD player is without a mains lead!"

The Triple E award for outstanding achievement in Building and Set Construction went to Janet Williamson, whose career has spanned over 20 years. She now works at Guildford School of Acting.

The Mayflower award for outstanding achievement in Stage Crew went to Dan Cauldwell who has been working in the industry since 1998. He has been at Milton Keynes Theatre, since 2006 as the assistant technical manager.

Well-known industry personality Richard Bullimore won The Lighting and Sound International award for outstanding achievement in Production Management. Currently on tour with Wicked, Richard has worked on many of London's leading musicals including Cats, Starlight Express, Crazy for You, Jesus Christ Superstar, Whistle Down the Wind, Saturday Night Fever, The King and I, Fosse, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bombay Dreams, Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker, Absolutely! {perhaps}, The Producers, Sinatra, Evita, Wicked, Joseph, Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Imagine This and Toyer.

Finally the Entertaining Sustainability award for Venue Sustainability went to Bedlam Theatre – a unique, entirely student-run theatre in the centre of Edinburgh. Bedlam is a fully operational 90-seat venue housed in an imposing neo-gothic church. It's both a listed building and a historical landmark - a unique space and community where students maintain the building throughout the year.

Summing up, organiser Ian Taylor says: "We're delighted with the success of the awards. In less than 12 months we've created something truly special and much needed. The support from our sponsors, voters, the winners and the nominees who've come to the awards tonight, and PLASA, is a very welcome surprise. I'm in shock at the moment, but incredibly proud." Taylor was immediately offered support for the 2014 event from a number of sponsors.

"The idea of the TTA awards is to highlight the work and effort of the people who really create productions - the people behind the scenes who are often overlooked," continues Taylor. "Our aim was to recognise all those who work in technical theatre, and we've done just that."

A drinks reception, generously sponsored by Philips Entertainment and Triple E, was held pre- and post- the awards ceremony.

"I'm enormously grateful to all our sponsors as they are all well recognised for their high standards and quality within the industry," says Taylor. "This is exactly what we hope our awards highlight in others! With the support of these companies we believe we will continue to grow and develop the TTA awards."

 In picture: The host for the evening was lighting designer Rick Fisher, who presided over the announcement of 15 TTA awards.

9th October 2013

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