Alan Jacobi passes away
Tuesday, 14 April 2020
ajAlan Jacobi collecting his Gottelier Award at the PLASA Show in 2018
UK - LSi is sad to report that following a long illness, Alan Jacobi LVO, the founder of Unusual Rigging, passed away peacefully at home on 13 April aged 67.

Jacobi began his career at the Old Vic. He soon moved to the lighting department of the National Theatre, under the directorship of Lord Olivier, and assisted in the theatre’s subsequent move to its current home on the South Bank. He continued to build his comprehensive technical knowledge of show production and toured the world as a freelance production electrician with theatre shows, music and concert production.

Forming Unusual Rigging in 1983, he expanded the company in 1990 to incorporate the production of large-scale national and international events.

In 2018, Jacobi was voted by his peers to receive the Gottelier Award in recognition of his work towards raising the profile and professionalism of the rigging industry. On receiving the award he said: "I am so very honoured … to know how much support I have from industry peers, friends and colleagues. They not only voted me the winner of this year's award, but have been a source of support over the years as we strive to give riggers the credit and professional respect they deserve."

Jacobi - known affectionately to many in the industry as AJ - had long championed the need for training and education in the sector and was a driving force behind the National Rigging Certificate (NRC) accreditation scheme since its inception in 2005.

Awarded an LVO in a special honours list drawn up by the Queen for his work on the production and co-ordination of the Golden Jubilee celebrations and the VE day 50th, Jacobi worked solidly to make rigging an acknowledged and established profession.

Unsual Rigging director and Jacobi’s son, Tom Harper comments: “Alan, AJ or the ‘Old Man’ as we all knew him was adored and respected by so many - family, colleagues, clients and the live entertainment industry as a whole. His mark upon the industry was massive, through his charisma and can-do attitude, his extraordinary work ethic, occasional bloody mindedness and an ability to solve any problems that arose, he took Unusual Rigging to where it is today – leading the field internationally in entertainment rigging and engineering."

Tributes have been pouring in across social media since news of Jacobi's death. Harper adds: "Speaking on behalf of AJ's family and the Unusual team, we have been completely overwhelmed by the love and admiration that those who worked with him have been keen to share over the past few days. AJ undoubtedly left a huge impression on everyone he ever met. Although a larger than life character, he would have been stunned and deeply touched by the abundance of love and support sent his way in the past few days.”
 
Lee Dennison, head of business development at White Light comments: "It’s not often we talk about heroes in a real way. Alan Jacobi (AJ) is a hero to so many of our industry and no doubt we will all have our own memories, stories and smiles when thinking about him. A strong-minded businessman, loving family man and the most caring and passionate of trustees to BackUp."
 
Meanwhile, Artichoke Trust published its own tribute to AJ on its website, stating: "As a company, Artichoke is acutely conscious of the enormous debt we owe this legend of the entertainment industry. Our success is his success. Without AJ, the British public would have had no access to some of the most memorable cultural events of the last 15 years. His legacy will live on as we try to echo his relentless certainty that anything an artist can dream up can be made to happen."
 
A private funeral will take place for AJ (as per Covid-19 guidelines) at the end of the month, with a memorial open to the industry to be held in 2021, with venue and date to be confirmed at a later date.
 
Anyone wishing to make a donation in AJ's memory should contribute to BackUp, the technical entertainment charity which provides financial support to industry technical professionals working in live events, theatre, TV and film, of which AJ was a patron.

Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time. 
(LSi Online)

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