Winner announced for ABTT Virtual Ideas Platform 2023

The 2023 ABTT Virtual Ideas Platform winner was revealed on Thursday 1st February in a ceremony at the annual ALPD and White Light ‘New Technology Showcase’ in the Embassy Theatre at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

This annual industry event features the latest in lighting technology and felt like an appropriate opportunity to speak on the Virtual Ideas Platform and its winner, whose innovative idea is now being developed by industry leader Triple E.

Presented by ABTT Co-Chair Mig Burgess and introduced by Virtual Ideas Platform Developer Charles Haines, David Ripley was awarded the iconic ABTT Hook Clamp Award and Certificate for his winning idea, The Counterweight Caddy.

The Counterweight Caddy is a method of storing weights and addressing the Manual handling issues associated with work on the loading gallery.

Speaking of his award win, Central’s Head of Technical and Production David Ripley said: “It’s very exciting to see something go from a random thought, into reality via the ABTT Virtual Idea Platform and now being developed by Triple E. We hope The Counterweight Caddy will make a positive improvement to Health and Safety on the loading galleries of our theatres when it is fully launched, but we need the industry feedback to make it the best product it can be.”

ABTT VIP Concept Developer and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Head of Performance Venues, Charles Haines, commented, “A few years ago, during a trip to the excellent USITT (US Institute of Theatre Technology) Trade Show, I saw their Innovations Gallery in operation and fell in love with the concept. An informal introduction service between independent creative innovators and commercially minded developers behind our leading brands, products and services. On my return to the UK, we set up a meeting with the ABTT and the idea turned into the Virtual Ideas Platform you see today.”

The ABTT Virtual Ideas platform, set up in collaboration with Guildhall School of Music & Drama, is open to anyone and everyone with an idea and aims to recognise and help realise new ways of making theatre work. By its very nature, theatre is a dynamic working environment in which to invent and develop new and better ways of doing things whether this is in special effects, costume and wardrobe, wigs, make-up and hair, scenery, stage, sound, lighting, automation, audio-visual and any other discipline which makes live performance happen.

ABTT CEO Robin Townley said of the Platform: “We know when backstage people are faced with a technical challenge, they get inventive and creative, cook up ideas and find solutions. The Platform is here to recognise, salute and honour those innovators in our midst. We are looking forward to new ideas being submitted for 2024.”

For those interested in seeing the Counterweight Caddy prototype or speaking in more detail about their own ideas, you can attend the annual ABTT Theatre Show running over June 5th-6th at London’s Alexandra Palace for free. Details on this industry staple event can be found on their website where you can also register for a free ticket.

To assist with the development of the Counterweight Caddy, Triple E are seeking the opinions of those in the industry who use counterweight flying on a regular basis. If you are interested in sharing your thoughts, please contact Stephanie Addo at Triple E.

Find out more about the Virtual Ideas Platform by visiting the website here. Alternatively, if you already have an idea – you can find out how to enter and register your idea for consideration here!