Louise Jeffreys, the Barbican's Director of Arts and ABTT Chairman, John Faulkner, Tony Bond, Mark White, all appointed Fellows of the Association, and Robin Townley, ABTT CEO. (photo: ETnow)
UK - The Association of British Theatre Technicians took the opportunity of its annual Christmas Party on 12 December, at the New London Theatre, to bestow its top honour, the ABTT Fellowship, on three outstanding industry individuals. Generously supported by Gold ABTT Industry Supporters' Group member ETC, the event was the perfect occasion for the ABTT's Council of Management to recognise those who have rendered signal service to the technical aspects of the art of the theatre.

On the day, Tony Bond was the first new Fellow to be introduced. Maggie Saxon commended Tony, whose career has spanned over six decades, for his foresight and vision in setting-up recognised technical theatre training in the UK through the Theatre Technical Training Standards Company, which later evolved into Skillscene.

It was also noted that Bond was instrumental in the development of the National Occupational Standards, which gave full recognition to the complexities of technical theatre at all levels and his sphere of influence carries through still, from Creative Apprenticeships to the ABTT's Training Awards and PLASA's Rigging Certificate.

The second Fellow to be honoured was Mark White, now ETC regional manager for UK & Ireland. Howard Eaton, of Howard Eaton Lighting Limited, an ABTT Bronze ISG Member and a onetime employer of Mark, introduced him to the assembled company. Howard ran through Mark's activities as a theatre electrician, production electrician, technical manager, technical director, consultant, contractor and philanthropist. Only this year has he stepped down after serving 12 years as Chairman of the ABTT. In addition he has supported many other organisations, not least the Association of Lighting Designers and Showlight. However, Howard ended by noting Mark's unstinting commitment and dedication to the ABTT, leading it through some serious challenges to the strong and secure position it is in today.

John Faulkner was the third Fellow to be introduced. Also a past Chairman of the ABTT, his career as a production manager, touring consultant, artistic planner and director was extolled by Ian Mackintosh. Faulkner's many roles in theatre include drama director at the Arts Council of Great Britain (1976-1983), Head of Artistic Planning at the National Theatre (1983-1988) and his current role - for the last 23 years - consultant-at-large for The Pleasance.

The list of ABTT Fellows now reads as follows: David Adams, Ian Albery, Jason Barnes, Tony Bond, William Dudley, John Faulkner, Tim Foster, Roger Fox, Roderick Ham, Chris Higgs, Iain Mackintosh, Richard Pilbrow, Francis Reid, Peter Roberts, John Simpson and Mark White. Those previously appointed ABTT Fellows but now deceased, are Fred Bentham, Richard Brett, Ethel Langstreth, Maurice Marshall and Ken Smalley.

The day also saw two new Honorary Members recognised for giving signal service to the Association - John Offord, editor of Entertainment Technology and Stephen Hocking for his work as the Conference Manager of the International Theatre Engineering and Architecture Conference 2014.

(Jim Evans)

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