The Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) has announced that Louise Jeffreys, the Barbican’s Director of Arts, will be its new Chairman. Jeffreys succeeds Mark White, Regional Manager UK & Ireland for Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC).
Jeffreys’ extensive background in the performing arts, encompassing programming, production and venue management, alongside roles as Head of Production at Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and Technical Director at English National Opera, make her the ideal candidate to lead the ABTT’s Council of Management over the next twelve months.
Her timely appointment comes at an exciting moment for the ABTT following twelve years of consolidation and steady development under White, and with the full-time Chief Executive Officer Robin Townley now in post.
As a registered charity the ABTT seeks to pursue its aim of advancing education in the technical subjects connected with the theatre and theatrical presentation. This work has led the organisation to become a recognised source of independent and trusted advice on technical management, operation, safety, planning, and good practice in places of entertainment. The work of the ABTT in publishing a Code of Practice for the Theatre Industry in the UK has become an essential element in supporting the work and vitality of a world-leading sector of the creative industries.
The ABTT has a strong democratic framework, which ensures that its Council of Management is elected from its own Members, all of whom have been admitted to the Electoral College by their peers. The membership consists of theatre technicians, designers, architects, local authority officers, theatre consultants, mechanical & electrical engineers, health and safety practitioners, production & stage managers, and many others with a manifest commitment to the technical aspects of theatre.
Elected by the Council of Management, Jeffreys follows in a great tradition of industry leaders committed to offering their expertise to assist the work of the ABTT. She is particularly welcome because of her broad skills and experience, which will guide the Council during the planned development of the organisation in the year ahead, focusing on strategic direction and the formulation of plans for delivery.
Commenting on the role, Jeffreys said, “I see this as an excellent opportunity to assist the elected Council members in discharging their duty. It appears to me that the ABTT is in a good place – with a thorough understanding of its place and purpose within a fairly complex ecology – but with a belief that there is room for progress.”
She continued, “Supporting a management team serving a wide membership that wants to embrace these possibilities will be a privilege.”
Robin Townley, CEO, replied, “ I am tremendously pleased to have the opportunity to work with Louise during this exciting time for the ABTT. To have someone of her calibre to assist the Council of Management and me in taking the Association forward is a fantastic opportunity. I look forward to the next twelve months with great enthusiasm.”
He went on to say of Mark White, “I have had the privilege and pleasure of both acting as a Trustee of the Association with Mark White and more recently serving as CEO with him as Chairman. Over a period of twelve years Mark has discharged his role with energy, enthusiasm and unerring commitment. During his tenure the ABTT has faced some serious challenges but with his steady and most competent guidance he has lead the organisation to a strong and secure position with great success. He passes to Louise the opportunity to continue the process that he started, of developing the work and activities of the ABTT to meet the ever-increasing demands for trusted guidance and information, which are made by the creative sector and those that work in it. I am very pleased that Mark will continue to be involved with the Association as Chairman of the new Communications and Publications Committee.”
The ABTT Council of Management also appointed as Vice Chairman Richard Bunn, a Theatre Consultant with Arup, already an elected ABTT Trustee/Director. Furthermore, at the ABTT’s AGM in early August this year, the results of the election of Trustees were announced. Therefore also joining Council, as new Trustee/Directors, are Anette Ollerearnshaw, Technical Manager at London’s Camberwell College of Arts and John Young, Head of Technical Services, Ambassador Theatre Group.