NEWS

Welcome to 2020!

Tim Davies has designed the poster for the show in June and taken advantage of the fact that this is 42nd staging of the ABTT Theatre Show.

ABTT Theatre Show Stand of the Year 2019

Theatreplan

L-R

Robin Townley, ABTT CEO, with Helen Walker & Amy Hickson, General Manager & Practice Assistant respectively at Theatreplan, and Richard Bunn, ABTT Chairman

Judges’ comments

As ever a lot of people made a big effort and the Theatre Show looks stunning as a result, especially with the new layout giving a more open view of the hall on entry. One of the criteria for judging the Stand of the Year Award is that it clearly shows what the exhibitor does. Theatreplan is a new arrival at the ABTT show. They have a well laid out stand that clearly shows their creative process, with a soft, welcoming and intimate feel, inviting those who enter to engage with the consultancy’s global work. The Sydney Opera House variable acoustic reflector on display is a particularly striking and fun feature.

Judges’ commendations

  • 3D Creations
  • Attle Costumiers
  • Lamp and Pencil
  • Robe
  • Shure

Winner’s comment

The Theatreplan team was truly thrilled to receive the Stand of the Year Award, especially as first time exhibitors. The Theatre Show was a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase how we collaborate with clients and partners, to provide innovative technical solutions to complex design challenges. We’re planning next year’s stand already! Helen Walker, General Manager, Theatreplan

https://theatreplan.com

Photograph: origin8photography.com

ABTT Widget of the Year 2019

Mantracourt Electronics | BroadWeigh

L-R

Robin Townley, ABTT CEO, with Johnny Marshall, Senior Rigging Sales Executive at A.C. Entertainment Technologies, and Richard Bunn, ABTT Chairman

Judges’ comments

As a quick way to provide monitoring of small rigs, the BroadWeigh load cell shackle – in conjunction with a Bluetooth connected device running the Broadweigh App – is exceptionally useful for those touring shows that require up to 12 points of rigging. The App also sums selected load cells to enable a maximum load to be identified. Use of this product will greatly speed up prep days.

Judges’ commendation

Igus’s adjustable shim

Winner’s comment

We’re delighted to receive this year’s widget award at the ABTT Theatre Show. Our aim was to bring a useful and affordable tool to a theatre technicians’ tool-box, which would provide a clear picture of what is happening on the rig. As a design and manufacturing company our ethos is to bring intelligent, usable products to market. We believe the BroadWeigh Bluetooth system fills a gap in the load monitoring solutions currently available. Thanks to the ABTT panel. We look forward to more BroadWeigh innovations. Kelly Voysey, Sales & Marketing Manager, Mantracourt Electronics 

https://www.ac-et.com

https://www.mantracourt.com

Photograph: origin8photography.com

ABTT Engineering Product of the Year 2019

AED Group  – Showlift AED-SL18

L-R

Robin Townley, ABTT CEO, with David Baker, Commercial Manager at AED UK, and Richard Bunn, ABTT Chairman

Judges’ comments

A piece of engineering equipment with the lighting designer in mind. With a small lifting platform that can take the weight of a moving light and controlled from the same DMX system as the moving light, the Showlift allows all the programming to sit in one place.

Judges’ commendations

Safety Lifting Gear’s Battery hoist & Lift Turn Move’s G-Pro Briefcase Controller.

Winner’s comment

We are excited to introduce the Showlift AED-SL18 to the theatre and creative industry at this year’s ABTT Theatre Show. It is a privilege to accept this Award on behalf of the AED Group. David Baker, Commercial Manager, AED

http://www.aedgroup.com/en/team-aed-united-kingdom

Photograph: origin8photography.com

ABTT Sound Product of the Year 2019

Sennheiser | DIGITAL 6000 SK 6212

L-R

Robin Townley, ABTT CEO, with Kevin Gwyther-Brown, Channel Sales Manager at Sennheiser UK Ltd, and Richard Bunn, ABTT Chairman

Judges’ comments

Having a discreet belt pack transmitter for radio microphone systems is a goal of costume designers and sound designers, this product caters for both! The Sennheiser SK6212 belt pack for the Digital 6000 series at just 63 × 47 × 20 mm and a weight of 112g including battery and clip, has already been successfully deployed on a number of West End shows where high quality is demanded, and small size is desired. Long battery life of up to 12 hours becomes an attractive option for commercial and corporate use.

Judges’ commendation

We look forward to seeing the production of the d&b D8 compact sub.

Winner’s comment

It’s extremely rewarding to receive the ABTT 2019 Sound Product of the Year Award for the SK 6212 – the transmitter is only a few months old in the market but already being adopted by many West End and UK touring productions, which is healthy recognition of the design process. Considerable thanks to all of the Stakeholders that contributed to its development. Sennheiser UK Pro Audio Solutions Team

https://en-uk.sennheiser.com/sk6212

Picture: origin8photography.com

 

ABTT Lighting Product of the Year 2019

Robe T1 Profile

L-R

Robin Townley, ABTT CEO, with Dave Whitehouse, Theatre Products Manager at Robe, and Richard Bunn, ABTT Chairman

Judges’ comments

The lighting product of the year award goes to a new moving light that has clearly had a great deal of thought put into its development. Robe’s new T1 fixture delivers an immensely useable theatre lantern. It is light weight, quiet and extremely well featured. Of particular note, the scrim function and the brown/blue focus tweak on the hard edge on the PC lens version is a welcome addition to the lighting designer’s pallet.

Judges’ commendation

GLP’s beam light accessories that adapt the Impression X4.

Winner’s comment

We are so pleased to win this Award, especially as it is from the very people that influenced its conception and who really know their craft. Once again, the ABTT Theatre Show presents us with the best opportunity to address the technical theatre market. Mick Hannaford, Managing Director, Robe UK

https://www.robe.cz/t1-profile/

Picture: origin8photography.com

 

 

What is the Notebook? Its a space where we explore issues, consider challenges and with the help of other interested parties, promote discussion and the content for the show. The common thread appears to be the concept of progress and how best to deal with it!

Nearly sold out – the reason why

With 90% of all space allocated for the ABTT Theatre Show next June, it’s worth asking why. In a world where the default means of finding out about something is to Google it, in a world where you go to Amazon to buy anything and in a world where you text people rather than talk to them, it seems an anachronism that companies choose to exhibit to promote what they do. Look at the situation a bit closer and it is actually more of a head scratcher that companies choose not to exhibit.

The internet isn’t always the panacea that it might seem to be. I needed to know what the Italian word ‘dado’ meant. I needed an Italian to English translation. Nuts was the answer – as in nuts and bolts. The only problem was that I was making arancini, Italian stuffed rice balls, and to the best of my knowledge, they don’t have bits of metal in them. It took a bit of searching and I eventually found out that ‘stock’ was the answer. The point I am making is that if you don’t know what you are looking for on the internet, you may easily end up with the wrong thing. If you have the opportunity to converse with a wide range of experts at a trade show, you stand a high chance of avoiding rookie errors on the back of the experience of others. Time, experience and knowledge are some of the most valuable commodities in the world. All being on offer at a show such as the ABTT Theatre Show makes it nonsensical to walk on by. In essence, old fashioned communication is as good as it ever was.

Delving back a few years, I remember reading a book about Mark McCormack, the founder of IMG. What struck me was that he conducted his business very much on his own terms. He would not take any calls in the morning and whenever communication was ‘outbound’ it was always on his terms. He was always in control of the agenda, he was on top of his subject and this led to inevitable success. There are similarities with our exhibitors. They make choices about the nature of their space, what they are going to do and how they are going to do it. They are self contained and do not depend on others to realise their objectives. They set their agenda and derive a distinct benefit form the investment in exhibiting. The financial outlay can certainly be modest and if properly exploited, it can be a ‘no brainer’. It’s all about understanding the event, the industry, the exhibitors and the visitors. It’s all about opportunity. A bit of conventional marketing graft and ingenuity can easily deliver the required results when the client purchasing cycle comes around. Golden rule: It’s not about instant orders, it’s about contacts and making sure your name is in the frame when the time comes. Be visible.

The Show Director is Isobel Hatton, whose background is in theatre. Her experience brings a great understanding of many industry exhibitors. Unlike many other B2B exhibitions, the primary purpose of the ABTT Theatre Show is an industry networking event where exhibitors get a distinct advantage by presenting their offer in a sympathetic environment. From a marketing perspective, the exhibitors have access to bespoke email footers with tracking links enable them to invite their clients and suppliers to the event. Historically, it is the marketing activity of each exhibitor inviting their own clients and suppliers, which has made a major contribution to the stimulating melting pot of industry operators – those who deliver the end product. It’s almost a form of cross contamination but with good germs! Exhibitors are part of a team that has become the ‘go to’ reference point for the entertainment industry. From a broader perspective, Isobel presents a spectrum of exhibitors, which is highly relevant to the full cross section of operators in the industry. Visitors are not always ’single track’. The nature of presenting a live show is multi disciplinary and more often than not, a visitor will be interested in more than one discipline.

The ABTT Theatre Show is the place where you get to find new people. They may be students. They may be relatively new to the industry and not yet on the radar. They may have come for one reason but didn’t realise that it was you who had the solution all the way along. Acorns and Oak trees. Although there is a hard core of exhibitors who are ever present, there is a steady turnover of new exhibitors. Our estimate is that there are in the region of 6500 working people in our industry sector of which a third attend the show every year. It is comforting that the other two thirds are probably too busy working to attend!

This insight goes part way to explain why year on year, The ABTT Theatre Show presents a full exhibition floor with a distinct programme of complementary activities. Wisdom, seminars, training sessions, demonstrations and workshops all form part of an event that is more of a convention than a straightforward exhibition.

If you have booked as an exhibitor – welcome! If you are interest in exhibiting, please get in touch with Isobel. If you have registered as a visitor – thank you! If you would like to visit and want to know how to register, please follow this link.

Review, Reimagine and Rethink

Review, Reimagine and Rethink? That phrase might cause some head scratching and you will need to read on a bit to understand what ‘Re:’ means. 

Whether we agree or disagree, whether we like it or not, we are all beginning to realise that we have to take action to address the issue of climate change. You can talk about it, you can go on demonstrations but what are we all actually going to do about it? Our governments are doing very little and the promises of being carbon neutral by any specific date are fanciful at best. The choices made by by individuals and by companies are going to be the key drivers of change. It’s up to us – each individual – every company.  

A simple example about choice and how quickly we can move is that if you offer somebody a car and that they have the choice of diesel, hybrid or electric, we now know that the least likely choice will be diesel. That would not have been the case five years ago and gives grounds for optimism that we can collectively turn the climate situation around if we put our minds to it. The choice has nothing to do with government policy or finance.  The choice is made because business has recognised the need and developed the product in the knowledge that the consumer will choose it on environmental grounds. In fact, it is now acknowledged that business is moving far quicker than governments. It involves the least amount of personal sacrifice with a healthy salving of conscience! This may seem to be a cynical statement but it is a fair reflection of human nature. Be thankful that something is happening rather than nothing. The more concerned environmentalist will of course challenge this premise because of the environmental footprint of the car itself, but in the end, we all have to move step by step to a new way of being. Without hard core environmentalists pushing the way they have done recently, the issue would not receive the attention that it deserves.  

The first part of ‘Re:’ is Re:view. We need to explore what we can all do to start making changes. Time to Re:think and Re:Imagine

As organisers of the ABTT Theatre Show, we have implemented a few initiatives recently. The lanyards that we use are being reused after being handed in on departure last year and the passes are made of recycled card. Small steps indeed but we have downsized from size 9’s to 8 and a halves. We are going for a bigger footprint reduction in 2020! 

We have reviewed this word recycling. Recycling has become a regular part of our lives where we consider that we have done our bit for the planet by separating recyclable stuff out from landfill. Dig a little bit deeper and the truth of what goes on in the use of resources in the creation of the product to be recycled and the resources used to recycle it does not make for good reading. How much recycling is shipped overseas for processing? If it is recycled; what does it become and how is it used? What about the stuff that should be recycled, which isn’t recycled? Recent documentaries by Liz Bonin and David Attenborough portray a really dark picture. Recycling is not quite what it seems. Consider the moves being made with take away supermarket carrier bags, coffee cups and plastic water bottles. Consider also that continuers of material for recycling are heading back to the UK from Malaysia! Recycling is a nonsense if you didn’t need to use products in the first place.  

Exhibition carpet is a classic. It is single use. Significant resources are used to manufacture it. It is transported several times and it is sent for recycling. We do not know what is becomes or what it is used for but what we do understand is that is a pretty cavalier use of energy and resources. We have decided to stop using it. If exhibitors wish to use carpet, we will point them to a sustainable and reusable solution. On the other side of the coin, modular shell scheme, truss, drapes and furniture all tick the boxes. It’s time to really question ‘single use’. 

Think laterally. In our industry, carpet can be floor canvas. Carpet could also be scenic floor paint, but we think that there are a few practical issues here! We are now working with J&C Joel to provide a solution where the exhibition hall aisles are constructed with modular strips of scenic floor canvas. Using velcro to join the network of strips together and tape to secure it to the floor, the floor canvas will be reusable until it is completely trashed. We can even turn it upside down. When unusable, we only need to replace it strip by strip. 

So far we have Re:view, Re:cycle and Re:use. When you start thinking about ‘Re:’, the words start coming. Repurpose, regenerate, reinstate, remodel, retrofit and so on. We want to encourage all exhibitors to contribute to this initiative so that ideas can be shared across the industry. No matter how small, no matter how insignificant the idea might be, everyone needs to understand that it all makes a difference. We all know that technology moves at lightning speed but what happens to the gear that has been superseded? Re:use? Re:purpose? Have you removed single use products wherever possible from your place of work? Have you developed new processes as part of your sustainability strategies?  

Exhibiting used to be about how flashy and successful you appear to be. Ego marketing. Taking it back to basics, exhibiting is all about communication. How can we communicate successfully whilst addressing the new challenges of sustainability? What is absolutely predictable is that those not embracing change will start to stick out like a sore thumb. We are all in a new era of change because we sat on our hands for too long over the past thirty or so years.  

Visualise the exhibition hall. We start, literally, with a blank canvas. Early ideas are that we could engage with the world of scenic design and create something extraordinary. We could use the canvas for graphics. Stencil logos and spray paint? Suggestions are welcome !  

Some of the companies exhibiting at The ABTT Theatre Show have worked enormously hard on environmental and sustainability policies. For the size of our industry, we are about to have a disproportionate impact on the world of exhibiting. Please contribute any thoughts, suggestions or other ideas on our Facebook page. 

Any exhibitors wishing to use carpet on their stands should start here: https://professionals.tarkett.com/en_EU/node/desso-carpet-tile-and-roll-solutions-innovation-functionality-and-sustainability-5527  Recommended products are Tarkett Stratos, Grain and Linon. We have a contact who is going to look after us. Please get in touch if you need his details. 

It is indeed interesting how quickly humans can adapt. As already illustrated, diesel cars and recycling were the ‘new’ and represented progress. Somehow, we got to sit on our laurels for just a bit too long though and the need to get a wiggle on has become imperative. To help you understand where we should be heading, have a look at this: https://www.c2ccertified.org/get-certified/product-certification 

… or you could ask yourself a searching question? ”Did I really need it in the first place?”