People News

Michael T. Strickland Awarded Inaugural Live Design Pandemic Pivot Prize

USA – Bandit Lites has announced that Michael T. Strickland has been awarded Live Design’s Pandemic Pivot Prize, which recognises an individual for their actions in managing a business or aiding the industry during the COVID-19 crisis. The prizes were announced alongside the winners of the 2020 Design Achievement Awards in three virtual ceremonies from 13 to 15 January, 2021.

Bandit Lites chair and founder did not anticipate finding himself as the intercessor for the live events industry, but when COVID-19 halted productions indefinitely, Strickland knew he could not simply wait for someone else to act. Thousands of emails, phone calls, Zoom sessions and interviews culminated in Strickland mobilising the industry to action. He not only used his own connections to government representatives to share the struggles and needs of millions, but he also rallied those very same millions to contact their own members of Congress.

His efforts focused on informing the entire industry of the minutia of federal aid, breaking down applications and forms that entire companies and individuals hinged their survival on, and on raising awareness to the public with appearances on MSNBC and WGN America so as to keep the focus on this vital industry.

Strickland then testified before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection on 15 December about the effect of COVID-19 on the live event industry. This testimony led to the passage of the COVID Relief bill providing Save Our Stages, additional PPP and additional PUA to the industry. Strickland continues the work in 2021 to obtain even broader relief for the entire industry.

“I’d like to thank the readers and the staff for Live Design for this Pandemic Pivot Award,” said Strickland. “I’d be remiss to say that I deserved it, because it isn’t me, it is you; the hundreds of thousands of people in this great live events industry that have made this possible. You did the case pushes. You did the empty stages. You made the hundreds of thousands of phone calls to senators and to House of Representative members. You did all the phenomenal work to make sure that Congress heard us, and that we got the much-needed relief that our industry so sorely had to have to survive. I thank you very much for all that you did and look forward to a brighter 2021.”

19th January 2021

Ausma Lace Benefits From PMC’s Sound For The Future Scholarship

Ausma Lace Benefits From PMC’s Sound For The Future Scholarship

UK – Ausma Lace (pictured), a recording engineer from Latvia, has been awarded the Sound For The Future Scholarship, which was set up by UK loudspeaker manufacturer PMC in association with the Audio Engineering Society Education Foundation.

This $5,000 prize is given to an audio engineering graduate who is also a member of the AES with the aim of helping them further their studies. In Ausma’s case it is helping to fund a Masters degree in Sound Recording at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Currently in her second year at McGill, Ausma is studying recording techniques for various musical genres.

“My course has given me the opportunity to explore different areas of the audio industry, including music production, immersive audio, audio for picture and live sound,” she says. “Recording and producing music is my passion and I am experimenting with the latest audio techniques and formats. My goal is to continue along this path and help musicians bring their creative visions to life.”

Peter Thomas, PMC’s founder and chairman, says: “Graduate students are the lifeblood of our industry and the people who will ultimately advance audio technology in the future. As a company we have always been at the cutting edge of research and development and we are delighted to support students like Ausma by providing funding towards tuition fees and educational expenses.”

PMC offers its Sound For The Future scholarship in conjunction with the AES Educational Foundation, which was established in 1984 to encourage talented students to enter the audio engineering profession. Grants for graduate studies with emphasis on audio topics are awarded annually, with recipients selected on the basis of demonstrated talent, achievements, goals and recommendations.

“I am very honoured, grateful and excited to receive this scholarship,” Ausma says. “It’s wonderful that PMC is supporting young audio professionals like myself with our studies.”


19th January 2021

KV2 Audio welcomes Paul Freudenberg to the team

KV2 Audio welcomes Paul Freudenberg to the team

USA – Loudspeaker manufacturer KV2 Audio has announced the appointment of Paul Freudenberg to the position of business development director, US, effective immediately. Freudenberg brings a wealth of experience in a career that spans over 25 years with a number of leading pro audio manufacturers including L-Acoustics, AKG, BSS Audio and Aphex Systems.

Freudenberg will be immediately charged with the task of setting up direct distribution offices in Los Angeles, CA. The aim is to further enhance user and reseller relations as well as complement the existing market development activities being conducted by PLUSMUSIC US, which continues to function on behalf of KV2 Audio as an official value-added reseller in the US market and independent sales representative (north-east region).

“Our new distribution facility on the west coast complements the existing activities of the eastern US and Canada regions,” says Freudenberg. “Helping our existing users as well as new and prospective clients gain greater access to the product and offering the support of a local service department are some of our goals. We are positioned for greater responsiveness and improved customer experience for the reseller and live-sound professional.”

Stefano Trevisan, CEO of PLUSMUSIC US welcomes the expansion of the US team: “It’s clear that KV2’s presence in the US market and globally has grown in the past few years making this next phase for the brand an exciting time for us in the United States. As KV2 is increasingly recognised as a leading player in the high-end segment of the market, we’re excited to have Paul on board as a resource from KV2 to bolster support for our existing network while we continue to permeate the market. This addition allows us to better allocate our time and resources for our customers, as they increasingly turn to PLUSMUSIC US and KV2 to give them a sonic edge in the marketplace.” Kieran Edling will continue his mission at PLUSMUSIC US as business director for the ongoing reseller and independent sales representative activities.

George Krampera Jr., CEO of KV2 Audio, is glad to count Freudenberg as a member of the team. “In the early days of KV2 we made quite an impression on the US market,” he recalls. “With Paul’s help and our improved US infrastructure, we are very much looking forward to rebuilding that excitement for our historic users, as well as introducing a whole new realm of audio professionals to the exceptional quality and performance that is now synonymous with KV2 all over the world.”

Freudenberg agrees: “I am pleased to offer my efforts and experience to the broadening of the KV2 business in the US,” he says. “The brand’s reputation and sonic notoriety proceed me, and I am looking forward to expanding brand and product awareness throughout my professional network.”

6th January 2021

Stuart Gibbons awarded with an OBE in the Queens New Year’s Honours List

UK - Stuart Gibbons, Managing Director at Le Mark Group Ltd was awarded with an OBE for services to International Trade in the Queens New Year’s Honours List 2021.

Since Le Mark’s founding in 1982, Stuart has always had a passion for exporting and expanding the company into international markets. The company has a reputation within the Arts & Entertainment Industry for product excellence and award-winning British design and innovation. Now, in the additional role of a Department for International Trade Export Champion, Stuart continues to encourage and advise British regional companies to embark on the path of exporting.

Stuart’s voluntary career has encompassed the position of vice-chairmen of the Global Trade Network. Founding Chairman of the Huntingdonshire Manufacturing Association and the GCGP Business Advisory Panel. Stuart is currently Chairman of the Cambridge & Peterborough Apprentice Ambassador Network.

“I first heard that my name had been put forward for this honour on the 2nd of December 2020, I was utterly shocked! To be noted and honoured for what I consider to be a personal passion of mine was something I had never imagined.

Stuart concluded: “I believe I am still in shock and can only thank those that considered me worthy and worked behind the scenes to prepare a submission to the Main Honours Committee and ultimately Her Majesty the Queen. I have had the privilege to work on some amazing projects with talented people both at Le Mark and around the world. I will continue to support British exporting companies whenever I can.

“What an incredible and positive way to start 2021.”

4th January 2021

ABTT announce four new Fellows of the Association

ABTT announce four new Fellows of the Association
ABTT announce four new Fellows of the Association


UK – This year the ABTT was pleased to follow the trend and hold its Christmas Party online. The traditional annual social event which has settled on the first Friday in December took place on 4th December providing some sorely needed seasonal cheer. Throughout the afternoon Members, Associates, Affiliates, Supporters and friends of the ABTT made time to take a break, catch up and celebrate those who have truly excelled in their Industry.

Online it may have been but the ABTT continued in its tradition of presenting individual honours in the virtual presence of peers and friends.

At the start of the event Richard Bunn, chairman of the ABTT council, welcomed everyone who had joined and provided a brief summary of the ABTT’s year. He acknowledged the exceptional challenges that the industry’s individuals, companies and organisations had faced. He thanked the ABTT staff (Elysia Moore, association co-ordinator, Stuart Roberts, financial controller and Robin Townley, CEO), the trustees, ABTT committees and members for their tireless efforts guiding the Association and expressed his pride in the way they have all risen to the challenge of supporting the sector.

Richard highlighted how responsive ABTT communications had been, not only sharing its own information but by linking with others to become a trusted channel for the best advice and resources available.

He noted how the ABTT safety committee had worked with organisations across the sector to provide guidance on Covid-19 risk assessments, support and safe working practice and that only last week it had been shortlisted as a finalist for a most influential health and safety team award.

Richard acknowledge the collaboration and depth of experience and knowledge that had been involved with online seminars to engage with the membership and wider sector and that it had include themes around diversity, mental health, re-opening, training and sustainability.

He celebrated the resumption of ABTT Training with Bronze and Silver Award courses and the support provided by venues that were able to host these programmes following postponements due to government regulations.

Richard concluded by thanking everyone for their active involvement noting that now more than ever the association needs the support of its membership and Industry supporters to continue its work.

Following this, Robin Townley, ABTT CEO, introduced an industry figure and colleague to introduce each new fellow. In 2020 the ABTT appointed four individuals as fellows of the association. Fellowships are awarded to persons who have rendered signal service to the technical aspects of the art of the theatre.

David Evans, head of production for National Theatre of Wales introduced the first fellow to be appointed, Michael Anderson.

David Evans commended Michael to the gathered company as an extremely experienced health and safety professional who has worked on a number of large international projects and over the last 13 years has been an integral part of implementing a good safety culture within the exhibition, entertainment, live performance and theatre industries. He has been at the forefront of numerous industry safety committees, having liaised closely with the HSE on behalf of the sector about a number of safety reviews and policy changes. Safety is his passion: he is always willing to help with advice or guidance to achieve a positive solution. Michael is fondly acknowledged throughout the theatre industry as a loquacious and enthusiastic individual who is fun to work with. Michael is the Ccairman of the ABTT safety committee.

David Blyth, previously property director for Ambassador Theatre Group, chairman of the Marina Theatre Trust Lowestoft and ABTT fellow introduced the second fellow to be appointed, Phill Brown. David Blyth commended Phill to the gathered company as a highly accredited risk and safety manager who has developed a sector wide approach to risk, health and safety and technical management. Phill commenced his career with the Ministry of Defence in a variety of positions including UK and International security management. On leaving the MoD he re-trained and qualified in safety and risk management first working within the NHS in safety, risk and security management positions. He then became risk management director for the Ambassador Theatre Group. During his time at ATG he created and nurtured a proactive approach to safety management and developed positive changes in theatre working practices throughout the Group portfolio developing invaluable risk management experience both in the UK and internationally. Now, as head of risk and safety at the Society of London Theatre he provides industry wide support for safety and security advice, training requirements, emerging industry risks and the development of sector best practice. Phill manages the theatre safety committee and is a member of the standing committee for Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment and the ABTT safety committee.

Lisa Burger, executive director at National Theatre introduced the third fellow to be appointed, Mark Dakin. Lisa commended Mark to the gathered company as a highly experienced technical and production leader. Mark worked at the Royal Opera House as a design assistant and draughtsman in the 1980s and is remembered as a smiley face with an engaging personality. He also gained a reputation for being something of a taskmaster and for getting everyone organised. In 1991 Mark went to English National Opera at the Coliseum as an assistant production manager, and three years later to the National Theatre as a production manager in the Lyttelton. At the same time he organised a drafting summer school with Colin Maxwell which ran for four years. His engagement with education in the industry started early and has been present ever since. In 2001 he became head of production at the National Theatre and in 2011 technical director, leading the technical department through a £70m “NT-Future” capital project and Dorfman Theatre refurbishment. Mark became technical director at the Royal Opera House in 2015 starting with the £40m “Open Up” capital project which included refurbishment of the Linbury Theatre. Now director of technical and production he has just completed a full restructure of the technical and production department. Mark is a Trustee at the Bush Theatre and at The Yard and a committee member for Stage Sight.

Bruno Poet, Olivier Award winning lighting designer, introduced the fourth fellow to be appointed, Prema Mehta.

Bruno commended Prema to the gathered company as a highly experienced lighting designer. Prema’s journey began with a school trip to Blood Brothers, drama at GCSE and then theatre studies at A-Level led to Guildhall School of Music and Drama. While there Prema had placements with stage designer Es Devlin and lighting designer Neil Austin. Returning to Guildhall, Prema went on to light a couple of shows and the more she lit the more she realised she wanted to be a lighting designer. After graduating she lit for pub theatres and fringe shows but also worked for the NHS developing her non-lighting career to become a project manager for Saracens Rugby Club. She left to concentrate on her theatre career. A turning point came when she met Watford Palace Theatre’s artistic director Brigid Larmour who gave her the opportunity to light a diverse range of productions and so on to a hugely busy and comprehensive portfolio. In addition and at the same time Prema has been a leading advocate and force for greater diversity in the backstage workforce. She has had a hugely influential effect by founding Stage Sight which exists to create an off stage workforce that is more reflective of our society today, inclusive of ethnicity, class and disability.

The ABTT wishes to congratulate all the newly appointed fellows for their amazing achievements and for their significant contribution to the Industry.

The event was a success with people dropping in throughout the afternoon with a peak of more than 100 mingling between some 20 different breakout rooms. Although guests had to supply their own refreshments, the conversations that can only happen at the ABTT Christmas Party were in full swing and as entertaining as ever.

ABTT announce four new Fellows of the AssociationABTT announce four new Fellows of the Association

7th December 2020

Unusual Rigging appoints Mark Priestley to Board of Directors

Unusual Rigging appoints Mark Priestley to Board of Directors

UK – Unusual Rigging has appointed Mark Priestley to its board of directors. Mark, who is currently head of capital projects at Unusual will build on the company's reputation as a source of independent experience and expertise and develop its consultancy role, offering a one-stop-shop service for capital projects.

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience of theatre design, particularly stage engineering and technical systems, much of it gained during 19 years at the National Theatre. He joined Unusual Rigging in 2010 following a five year period as a consultant with Charcoalblue where he was responsible for delivering the new RST in Stratford-upon-Avon, Newcastle Theatre Royal, National Theatre Studio and Bristol Old Vic amongst others. Since joining Unusual Mark has been responsible for projects such as Garsington Opera Pavilion, the Dominion Theatre, Birmingham New Street and the Olympic Games.

Commenting on his appointment to the board, Mark said: "It's an honour to join the board of directors at Unusual Rigging, working alongside the existing team who all share the same aspirations for the company's future. In my new role, I'll be focused on building on our USP, a willingness to tread where others dare not with difficult and challenging projects. Alongside this, we'll be looking at developing our service into new territories while maintaining our relationships with existing broadcast event clients and expanding the services we offer in partnerships with other aspects of the industry, like camera companies."

Tom Harper, managing director added: "Mark is a well respected member of the Unusual team, both amongst his colleagues and within the industry and we're delighted to welcome him onto the board. As we approach the end of a difficult year which has seen us face challenges we could have never anticipated, we are keen to enter 2021 with renewed energy and enthusiasm for developing new routes for our business while continuing to build upon the reputation we have in theatre, museums, live events, engineering and sports. Together, our board of directors, all long standing employees of the company, have thousands of hours of experience in their specific areas of expertise and we feel confident that this gives us a secure base to guide us into the future where without doubt the responsibilities will be even more demanding.

4th December 2020


Audiologic Appoints National Account Manager Rob Davies

Audiologic Appoints National Account Manager Rob Davies

UK – Audiologic has announced that Rob Davies has joined the team as national account Manager, as the company focuses on its ever-growing number of customers and projects.

Rob joins Audiologic with a career background in audio which spans multiple sectors, including high-end car audio, hi-fi, home cinema, home automation and, for the last six years, pro audio. Rob’s experience covers retailers and installation companies but mainly account management for UK distributors, which is where he feels most at home. Rob has been involved with projects as diverse as theatres, town halls, sports halls, night clubs and cruise ships.

Audiologic is always striving for the best ways to serve clients and in his new role, Rob will be responsible for engaging with the company’s new and existing customers, emphasising Audiologic's application support team, as well as award-winning products.

Andy Lewis, managing director, Audiologic, comments: “We are proud to welcome Rob Davies into a role that we have been keen to develop for some time. Due to an increase in larger and more demanding projects, we are keen to ensure that every one of our customers has access to the full suite of services we can provide. Rob will be responsible for nurturing and developing our existing and prospective customers and we look forward to the value that he can add to the team.”

Rob Davies comments: “Personally, I’m very excited about the new role and can’t wait to get going. Of course, like everyone, I’m looking forward to things returning to normality next year, when the majority of meetings can be face-to-face again. In the meantime, though, virtual meetings have their advantages too. Audiologic have always put customer service right at the top of the list. This is very important to me and one of the main reasons I feel so positive about the position. I feel that I’ll be part of a very strong and enthusiastic team right from the start.”

2nd December 2020

Karan Kathuria Joins Renkus-Heinz with Focus on Asia, Oceania and SAARC Regions

Karan Kathuria Joins Renkus-Heinz with Focus on Asia, Oceania and SAARC Regions

Asia – Renkus-Heinz, manufacturer of premium professional loudspeakers, has appointed Karan Kathuria to the position of director operating across Asia, Oceania and SAARC. The role will see Kathuria evolving these regions through the introduction of Renkus-Heinz technologies to the Pro AV community, including consultants, integrators and end users.

“One of the biggest reasons for me joining Renkus-Heinz is the company’s inclination toward cutting-edge technology,” Kathuria said. “This is a company that understands and appreciates the mechanics and physics of sound at an incredible level, which enables it to address inevitable acoustic challenges across various applications.”

Kathuria’s professional background includes engineering, sales, operations and marketing roles with renowned organisations, including Bose, Harman, and MUSIC Tribe. His most recent position was senior director at MUSIC Tribe, a position he’d held since 2015.

Kathuria said the coming months will be a critical time for pro audio as it plays a role in the world’s return to physical workspaces. Kathuria believes adding Renkus-Heinz solutions to more projects will result in more collaborative – and safer – environments across the globe.

“We need to give people the right setup to return to professional and personal environments, including corporate spaces, schools, houses of worship, sports facilities, large venues and more,” Kathuria said. “I believe there is a huge opportunity to unleash the power of Renkus-Heinz into different verticals.”

"Karan brings a wealth of experience and he will play a critical role in strengthening our presence in the Asia, Oceania and SAARC territories,” said Karl Brunvoll, VP of international sales for Renkus-Heinz. “Karan is a tremendous resource, and we're excited to have him on board."

1st December 2020

Phil Addyman Joins IPS Staging and Structures Team

Phil Addyman Joins IPS Staging and Structures Team

UK – IPS has announced the appointment of experienced staging specialist Phil Addyman as the newest project manager to join the team.

There have been a lot of developments at IPS recently, with some exciting new outdoor structures joining the established line-up for 2021. Following extensive infrastructure investment in this area, Phil will be helping lead the deployment of outdoor roof systems and staging projects across the broad IPS customer base.

Phil has extensive experience, having spent many years working for Star Live (known previously as Star Events) and been involved with many different projects all over the UK and further afield. IPS has completed a range of staging and structure projects over the last few months, and IPS MD James Mason is excited to welcome Phil to the team saying: “The structures side of our business has helped keep everything running through what has been a very tricky 2020, and with our product range expanding with increasingly larger structures, Phil is the ideal person to help us continue to grow in what looks set to be a busy season next year and beyond.”

Phil will be based remotely from the IPS office and will support projects both in the design phases and as part of the established IPS on site delivery team.

27th November 2020

Elation Professional mourns loss of friend and colleague Joe Adams

Elation Professional mourns loss of friend and colleague Joe Adams

USA – It is with deep sadness and the heaviest of hearts that Elation Professional and the ADJ Group of Companies announces the sudden passing of their friend and colleague Joe Adams on Saturday, 14 November, 2020.

One of Joe’s most deeply held beliefs was that he was better because of the people he served. Joe’s family shares: “It doesn’t matter if you are the owner, stagehand, or the repair technician in the back, each of you had a lasting impact on Joe. You were never his dealers, his clients, or his work. You were friends and family; never a chore, obligation, or dollar sign.”

An esteemed and beloved colleague, Adams, 53, worked as a regional sales rep for Elation Professional from 2017. He began in the lighting industry in 1998 with his own company as an American DJ dealer and came to the Elation family from manufacturers rep firm PSLP. Most recently, he operated his own firm Epic Pro Sales. In total, he proudly represented the ADJ Group of Companies’ products for over 20 years.

“On behalf of Elation Professional and everyone at the ADJ Group of Companies, we express our sincerest condolences to the Adams family as we keep his wife Kim and their three children in our thoughts and prayers,” said Eric Loader, Elation director of sales and marketing. “Like so many others, we are heartbroken. Joe was a positive, genuinely kind-hearted person and a much-loved member of the Elation and ADJ family. Joe had a passion for life and work that was infectious and inspiring and he always found something to smile about. He was a true beacon of light in life and in our industry and he will be sorely missed. We are thankful for the time we had with Joe and the memories we made together with him.”

For more information about planned public services and to offer condolences, a Gofundme account has been set up in Joe’s name to support his family through this difficult time. Please visit:


19th November 2020