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ABTT Fellowships 2015
The Association of British Theatre Technicians has bestowed its top honour, the ABTT Fellowship, on three outstanding industry individuals, whom the ABTT’s Council of Management wish to recognise as having rendered signal service to the technical aspects of the art of the theatre.
David Blyth has been involved in theatre management, in both the commercial and subsidised sectors, for over 35 years.
Between 1983-87 he gained experience with two major West End theatre owners – Maybox Group and Stoll Moss Theatres – before joining Croydon’s Fairfield Halls management team as head of operations for the next five years.
He joined The Ambassadors Theatre in Woking as general manager in 1992 and became head of operations for all ATG theatres in 1997.
In 2000, he joined the board of ATG as operations and building development director and in March 2011 he became an executive board member as property director, in which he headed up the property, technical, health and safety, and environmental teams.
A major part of his role was to improve the technical services in ATG’s theatres, through capital investment and training, and he was also in charge of health and safety and the development of greener working practices to enable ATG to become a more sustainable business.
He retired from his directorship of ATG in May of this year and has recently joined the board of creative and cultural skills.
The technical theatre sector can now rely upon an introductory training provision, developed through the dedication of one theatre practitioner and trainer. As a facilitator and training programme leader, Geoffrey Joyce has undertaken through personal conviction and resolve, to ensure that when national structures have fallen by the wayside, there has been a relevant, accessible and vocational training provision available to young people wishing to commence careers in technical theatre.
Having established initial entry-level training, he has continued over the years to develop the framework and maintain the relevance of the scheme; today the ABTT Bronze Certificated Award for Theatre Stage Technicians, the ABTT Silver Certificated Awards for Stage Technicians, Stage Electricians & Sound Technicians, along side the ABTT Gold Award for Technical Supervisors, are fully accredited by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and provide the essential grounding to ensure that those working in technical theatre are safe backstage.
Following a grammar school education Paul Sadler studied engineering whilst completing his apprenticeship with a mobile equipment manufacturing company, leading to a number of years as design engineer for the company’s range of hydraulic excavators, and subsequently the post of production engineering manager.
This background provided valuable experience of the design and manufacture of hydraulically operated mechanical equipment, enabling him to become works manager of a leading hydraulic ram and equipment manufacturer, before forming Delstar Engineering Ltd in January 1978.
From this beginning the company grew steadily and was well placed in the early 1980s for the introduction of modern hydraulics into the performance aspect of theatre, with musicals such as Starlight Express, Time, Chess, and numerous opera productions of the period.
Theatre is now the company’s core business and they produce complex stage sets for theatre productions, musicals and opera on the world stage, as well as designing and manufacturing permanent equipment for new theatre builds.
The list of ABTT Fellows now reads as follows: David Adams, Ian Albery, Jason Barnes, David Blyth, Tony Bond, William Dudley, John Faulkner, Tim Foster, Roger Fox, Roderick Ham, Chris Higgs, Geoffrey Joyce, Iain Mackintosh, Richard Pilbrow, Francis Reid, Peter Roberts, Paul Sadler, John Simpson and Mark White.
Those previously appointed ABTT Fellows but now deceased: Fred Bentham, Richard Brett, Ethel Langstreth, Maurice Marshall and Ken Smalley.
Two new Honorary Members have also been recognised for giving signal service to the Association itself; Ken Bennett-Hunter, always a counsel and ambassador for the organisation and most recently editor of Sightline, the ABTT’s journal of theatre technology and design, and Maggie Saxon, a consultant, CEO and producer, who has always been a supporter and advocate of the ABTT and has contributed to some of its major initiatives in training and organisational management.
The Awards were presented by the Barbican’s director of arts and ABTT chairman Louise Jeffreys, at the ABTT’s annual Christmas party, held 4th December 2015, New London Theatre, sponsored by ETC and RUT.
16th December 2015
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