ABTT 2017 Annual Theatre Awards
Monday, 12 June 2017
abtt-awardsRobin 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
UK - The Association of British Theatre Technicians Theatre Awards 2017, took place on Tuesday evening (6 June), after the first day of the ABTT Theatre Show at Alexandra Palace, London.
With drinks in the venue’s 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:
Sound Product of the Year: 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.
The jury acknowledged Autograph Sales and Installation for their signature series X-Dante1 and Orbital Sound for the Nemisis Dante switching systems.
Lighting Product of the Year: 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.
Engineering Product of the Year: Doughty Engineering 3-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.
Widget of the Year: 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.
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.
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. Also commended were Hawthorn & Igus
Technician of the Year: 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.
(Jim Evans)

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