The ABTT Theatre show has been running since 1978. Originally named The ABTT Trade show, it was rebranded in the 2001 to make the annual event more accessible to a wider audience including front of house theatre services.
This has resulted in the growth of both exhibitors and attendees.
The show originally started in 1978 at the hands of principal organiser Roger Fox (still current Theatre Show director) and ABTT members Bob Anderson, Joe Aveline, David Adams and Richard York at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre, RSC Warehouse in Covent Garden, moving on to the Piccadilly Theatre in 1979.
ABTT Fellow Ian Albery is part of the Albery theatre family who owned the Donmar Warehouse Theatre and the Piccadilly Theatre and facilitated the ABTT in getting the Theatre Show started
From 1980, the event was situated in the Shaftesbury Theatre; proceeding in 1981-82 to The Roundhouse and Riverside Studios during 1984-90.
The Mermaid Theatre hosted the show in 1991 and then it relocated to The Royal Horticultural Halls where it stayed until 2011. The move from the Royal Horticultural Halls came after the sale of the hall to Westminster School – who planned to convert the exhibition space in to a sports hall.
The ABTT then moved the Theatre Show to The Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch after deciding that an event space, rather than an exhibition hall would “provide everything we need to use… (with it being ) a quirky venue… exhibitors have welcomed the choice.” and since then Alexandra Palace has held the event from 2015 to present.
In 2018, Roger Fox will be celebrating his 40th anniversary as Theatre Show Director along with the Theatre Shows 40th anniversary on 6-7th June 2018.