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ABTT 2017 Annual Theatre Awards

ABTT 2017 Annual Theatre Awards
ABTT 2017 Annual Theatre Awards

UK – The Association of British Theatre Technicians Theatre Awards 2017, took place on Tuesday evening (6th June), after the first day of the ABTT Theatre Show at Alexandra Palace, London.

With drinks in the venue’s impressive Palm Court, followed by a ceremony in the Londesborough Room, the event provided the perfect opportunity for exhibitors and visitors alike to gather and celebrate good technology and excellent technical practice.

In a break with tradition, comic Tim Fitzhigham warmed up proceedings with his observations on technicians, gigging and awards with ‘Widget’ in the title. Introduced by Tim, ABTT CEO Robin Townley then enlightened those gathered with the judges’ deliberations, relayed their commendations and announced the winners. ABTT Chairwoman Louise Jeffreys, the Barbican’s director of arts, presented each winner with one of the coveted hook-clamp trophies.

The judges, made up of an experienced jury of working practitioners and industry peers, awarded as follows:

 ABTT SOUND PRODUCT OF THE YEAR 2017:
Shure ‘Axient Digital’
Judge’s comments: Stability and flexibility are the keys to this year’s sound product of the year. The product has been developed with the end user in mind, and built upon industry feedback. With real-time two-way communication between transmitter and receiver the Shure Axient Digital system offers a robust approach to frequency spectrum efficiency. Low latency is coupled with digital interconnectivity for Dante and AES3, with Dante Cue being engaged to allow for any received channel to be monitored via a single headphone output.
The product range is due to grow in the coming months with some truly exciting features, including the ADX1M micropack which features an internal self-tuning antenna.
Judges’ Commendations: The jury acknowledged Autograph Sales and Installation for their signature series X-Dante1 and Orbital Sound for the Nemisis Dante switching systems.
Winner’s comment: “We are honoured to receive the ABTT Sound Product of the Year 2017 Award. We worked very closely with the professional theatre community when developing this product to understand what the user really wanted, so winning this award confirms a job well-done by all.” Tuomo George-Tolonen, manager, Pro Audio Group at Shure Distribution UK.

ABTT LIGHTING PRODUCT OF THE YEAR 2017:
City Theatrical ‘DMXcat’
Judge’s comments: This year a product has emerged that clearly shows consideration to what will genuinely assist with any fit up and fault finding of a performance lighting system.
Utilising an interface that most people have in their pocket the City Theatrical ‘DMXcat’ will communicate via Bluetooth to any Android or iOS device with the installed app. Identifying fixtures, locating faults, remote device management addressing and assigning has never been simpler and as compact. Not only does the device allow control and testing of DMX signal it also has a handy spectrum analyser to assess how best to optimise any wireless DMX system.
Judges’ Commendation: The jury also felt that the tuneable white Dalis 862 from Robert Juliat on the Ambersphere Solutions stand was a noteworthy entry into their LED product range.
Winner’s comment: “As active professional lighting users who have watched the lighting world grow more and more complex over the last fifteen years as LEDs have gained wide acceptance, we thought it was crazy that it has gotten nearly impossible to turn on a DMX fixture without a console and an experienced programmer. We developed the DMXcat so anyone, even with little lighting experience can do it. The DMXcat looks simple but is actually very high tech in its use of bi-directional wireless feedback from the fixture – it is the realisation of what RDM was designed to do, but no one had ever done it. We appreciate that the ABTT has recognised this innovation.” Gary Vilardi, vice president of sales, City Theatrical.

ABTT ENGINEERING PRODUCT OF THE YEAR 2017:
Doughty Engineering ‘three-position tank trap’
Judge’s comments: The mark of a good product is if on first observation the question is raised ‘Why has this never been made before?’. Doughty Engineering’s 3-position tank trap certainly achieves this. With a neat storage and transportation system and flexible mounting details, much of the manual handling issues associated with large tank traps have been suitably and efficiently addressed.
Judges’ Commendation: Also, produced by Doughty and worthy of note is their simple solution for stowing of moving light hook clamps, the Space Saver.
Winner’s comment: “We have had an excellent ABTT Theatre Show this year, with some useful feedback from customers – ideas like the three-position tank trap come from talking to end users at shows like ABTT’s, as it provides a great forum for us to engage with our greatest asset, our customers. Winning the ABTT Engineering Award is the icing on the cake.” Dan Phillips, projects manager, Doughty Engineering.

ABTT WIDGET OF THE YEAR 2017:
White Light ‘Sparkular’
Judge’s comments: Often the widget goes to a simple unobtrusive, almost subtle, product, but a product nonetheless that becomes an invaluable tool to the technician working in live performance. The ABTT Widget Award 2017 will certainly assist the technician by enabling a much safer approach to the realisation of an effect, but it is by no means subtle! The DMX controlled White Light ‘Sparkular’ produces high spark effects, similar to those witnessed with pyrotechnics and industrial angle grinding! Despite this, there are no explosive materials used to create the effect, and therefore no hot fall out, making the effect suitable for a wide range of environments and situations.
Judges’ Commendations: The jury also felt that two other products should receive commendations: Flints ‘Big Block’ pulley for large scenic ropes and Tracking This’s assets management system, which has been built upon by the inclusion of a robust, simple way to identify small loose items such as shackles.
Winner’s comment: “We are delighted to be this year’s recipient of the Widget Award – Sparkular is a product that as soon as we saw it, we wanted to add it to our inventory, as it offers all of the spectacular effects of pyrotechnics yet does so in a completely safe manner, removing the additional precautions usually required with pyrotechnics!” Mark Morley, business development manager, White Light.

ABTT THEATRE SHOW 2017 STAND OF THE YEAR
Gerriets GB
Judge’s comments: There are two criteria for judging Stand of the Year which allow stands both large and small to compete equally. First is the visual impact, into which exhibitors put a great deal of time and thought, and for some, a great deal of money, in order to create an appealing environment in which to present their products. Second, the immediate understanding of what is being supplied. Gerriets GB’s simple but highly-visual stand, left the visitor in no doubt as to what was on offer.
Judges’ Commendations: Hawthorn and Igus
Winner’s comment: “We try, through simplicity, to display as much of our range as possible, so that our clients can make on the spot decisions, with office back-up a click away.” Stewart Crosbie, managing director, Gerriets GB.

ABTT TECHNICIAN OF THE YEAR 2017:
Charlotte Lockyer
Citation: With a BA(hons) in Media and Cultural Studies (Bristol), Charlotte graduated from RADA in 2007 with a Diploma in Theatre Technical Arts, upon which she joined Stage Technologies for the first time. From there she went to work on West End and touring shows, followed by a five-year stint in the NT automation department. Now, with a wealth of experience, she has returned to Stage Technologies as an automation engineer, leading the skilled teams that install, commission and program many varied productions in the UK and overseas. Charlotte’s fantastic understanding of the theatrical process, has quickly gained her a high reputation as an outstanding individual who can gain trust and respect from even the most discerning of production and artistic teams.

In picture: Robin Townley, CEO ABTT, with Gary Vilardi, vice president of sales, City Theatrical receiving the ABTT Lighting Product of the Year 2017 Award, with ABTT Chairwoman Louise Jeffreys; ABTT Technician of the Year 2017 Charlotte Lockyer.

photos: origin8photography.com

9th June 2017

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