Total Production

ABTT Theatre Show 2009

July 2009 Issue 119

Mark Cunningham reviews the show that offers the best in theatre technology...

Despite the inevitable commuter chaos resulting from London’s worst tube strike in 12 years, the attendance at last month’s ABTT Theatre Show at the Royal Horticultural Halls was surprisingly respectable — reportedly just 15% down on 2008’s figures.

    It may have cost yours truly a £23 cab ride to get there from Liverpool Street but, as always, the relatively compact nature of the show provided the chance for meaningful liaisons with old and new industry faces, free of the rush-and-dash of larger exhibitions.

    With over 100 exhibitors spread across the show’s two halls, there was plenty of evidence that companies are weathering the current financial climate, with several reporting a gradual improvement in fortune.

    The show’s new online registration initiative appeared to be a hit all round, with airport-style e-ticketing smoothing the arrival process. And for many of the companies exhibiting for the first time at ABTT — including Yamaha, Midas Pro Sound, Cadac, Schnick Schnack, L-Acoustics, Naotek, Terralec, SSE Audio Group, Red Square Audio and Kotobuki Corporation — it was a positive experience, in spite of the tube horrors!

    With the HSE now getting tough on non-compliance, Orbital Sound took the opportunity to offer some expert guidance to attendees on the issues surrounding The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 Act — there will be more on this topic in a forthcoming issue of TPi.

    Zero 88 showcased its new theatrical lighting console, Orb. Designed to provide innovative control of latest LED, moving head and video system technology the Orb combines extreme flexibility, incredible capability and contemporary styling to create a dedicated control solution.

    White Light featured a wide range of LED lighting products, demonstrating how LED fixtures now offer solutions for a wide range of lighting challenges. Its exhibits included the Cyc9 cyc-lighting panel, SpectraLed 144 and SpectraWow LED spotlight from LDDE plus the JBLED A7 Zoom washlight with variable beam control.

    Australian brand LSC, whose products are distributed in the UK by White Light, also showed its Redback and EKO dimmers.

    The new T-Series from d&b attracted serious interest. Perfect for applications from speech to music, the range features unobtrusive visual design, compact dimensions, light weight, high power and exemplary directivity performance. Everything you’d expect from those wacky Germans.

    As well as highlighting Soundcraft’s new Si2 digital desk — the Si3’s baby sister — Sound Technology announced its distribution of JoeCo’s Black Box Recorder. The Black Box records 24 channels of hi-res audio directly to a USB2 drive and is set to generate huge waves in the live recording market. Watch this space!

    Red Square Audio débuted at the show with Tannoy’s VQ Live system and InnovaSon’s Eclipse digital console, featuring its onboard recording, while Allen & Heath showed its new iLive-T Series and Trantec demoed the digital S-D7000 wireless system.

    Stage Electrics filled its stand with such innovations as the SPLNet sound monitoring device, Edirol V8 video mixer, Flame Jet fire effect and the Interspace TheatreCue Light Master.

    One of several exhibitors appearing at the LIMS show in the same week, Polar Audio majored with Dynacord loudspeakers and beyerdynamic’s Opus 600 wireless mic system.

    This year’s ‘Hook Clamp’ ABTT Award-winners included Hoist UK, RC4, Sound Technology, A.C. Entertainment Technologies and Flints Theatrical Chandlers. John Tapster scooped Technician of the Year, the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Paul Sadler, and special awards were present to Brian Croft and John Simpson.

    Delighted with this year’s turnout in the face of a public transport meltdown, show director Roger Fox commented: “We’re very happy to have maintained our position as a leading event and are now looking forward to the 2010 show on June 16-17.”