Two new Honorary Memberships awarded at ABTT Christmas Party 2022

4 December 2022

This year, the Association of British Theatre Technicians took the opportunity at its Members’ Christmas Party on Friday 2nd December, generously supported by ETC and LW Theatres, to present honours to two of its members. Howard Potts, recently retired Technical Director at Warwick Arts Centre, and Matthew Freeman, currently working as an Associate Project Manager at TAIT, were both appointed Honorary Members of the Association.

At the start of the event Robin Townley, CEO of the ABTT, welcomed everyone gathered at the Gillian Lynne Theatre thanks to the generous hospitality of LW Theatres.

Robin’s welcome was echoed by Matt Cowles of ETC, very generous co-hosts of the ABTT Christmas Party, who also took the opportunity of the hugely popular annual gathering, returning after two years’ unavoidable absence, to thank the ABTT for all the work it undertakes to support the sector highlighting the Theatre Green Book and the new ‘W’ series of ABTT Guidance Notes providing recommendations on how legal duties to ensure the welfare of workers are met.

Robin then explained that individuals were appointed by the ABTT’s Council of Management as Honorary Members to formally acknowledge those “who have rendered signal service to the Association. This highly sort after achievement is only bestowed on those who have truly excelled in assisting the ABTT, so it is fantastic to celebrate these individuals’ achievements with so many Members, Associates, Affiliates, Supporters and friends.”

ABTT Co-Chairs David Evans and Mig Burgess Walsh then spoke in turn – each introducing one of the new Honorary Members and explaining the scope and commitment of their efforts in supporting the Association.

David Evans introduced Howard Potts commending him to the gathered company for his “numerous and long-serving support and contributions to the work, governance and in particular training delivery of the ABTT. Having previously served as an elected Trustee Director of the Association and Vice-Chair of Council some two decades ago, as Technical Director, Howard has more recently been repeatedly instrumental in accommodating and providing comprehensive facilities for the ABTT annual Summer School at Warwick Arts Centre.

His dedication to the principles of the Association and the importance of industry-led training has supported over the years many, many ABTT trainees on their journey.”

Image 1: Geoffrey Joyce, ABTT Training Co-ordinator (left) accepting Honorary Membership on behalf of Howard Potts, presented by ABTT Co-Chair David Evans (right)


ABTT Co-Chair, Mig Burgess Walsh then introduced the second Honorary Member to be appointed, Matthew Freeman. Mig Burgess Walsh began by stating that “as a teacher who spends most of her time with the next generation, I am beaming with pride to be able to formally appoint Matthew as an ABTT Honorary Member.

His commitment and work is to be commended including acting as a Young Associate Representative to the ABTT Council, writing for Sightline for the last five years and organising online seminars particularly in collaboration with the Stephen Joseph Committee.

During the periods of pandemic lock-down Matthew’s contribution immensely assisted the ABTT in being able to continue to support our sector.  Matthew has always been fantastic at promoting and advocating for the ABTT, especially to new and early career members.  For Council to award Matthew this recognition while he is still at such a young age really highlights what a tremendous contribution he has made!”

Mig went on to say that “by allowing more space for the next generation to make their mark on the industry, and here at the ABTT, we actively invite young people to join and feel they can come and proactively be a part of all things ABTT.”

Image 2:  Matthew Freeman (left) accepts his ABTT Honorary Membership
presented by ABTT Co-Chair Mig Burgess Walsh (right)


The ABTT wishes to congratulate both the newly appointed Honorary Members for their amazing achievements and for their significant contribution to the Association.

The event was extremely popular with people dropping in throughout the afternoon. Peaking at more than 200, guests enjoyed seasonal fare, mince pies,  celebratory drinks, and the entertaining conversations that can only ever happen at the ABTT  Christmas Party.