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Robe at ABTT 2023

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The Robe UK team report a busy, successful, and very positive ABTT (Association of British Theatre Technicians) expo staged at Alexandra Palace in London, UK.

The company had two exhibition areas, with a stand upstairs in the main hall and a large demo area downstairs in the Palace suite – both showcasing a range of its latest lighting technologies for theatre, performance, TV, and broadcast scenarios.

The stylish booth occupied a great location in the main exhibition hall and featured a selection of the newest Robe, Anolis and MDG products.

A video wall at the back offered four separate brand windows / digital messaging boards snapshotting information, with two dedicated to Robe, one for Robe’s architectural lighting brand Anolis, and one for atmosphere and haze specialist MDG, which is distributed in the UK by Robe.

Selected products were also showcased on raised displays around the stand where the teams enjoyed the buzz and energy of this year’s increased visitor numbers, which also broke the ceiling of the expo’s pre-covid visitor registrations.

Downstairs from the main exhibition showfloor and running in parallel, Robe ran a black box demonstration area where more fixtures could be shown ‘in situ’, which was a perfect environment for those wanting to engage in more techie conversations and get hands on with some of the products.

RoboSpot ‘Taster’ sessions were also hosted in the Palace Suite by Will Blackie designed for those wanting more knowledge about Robe’s popular remote follow spotting system. These also attracted a lot of interest, providing a great opportunity for people to discover the benefits of remote follow spotting.

Sam Blackmore was among the delegate for the RoboSpot Taster sessions and elucidated that the 30-minute refresher into how the system works and how quickly it can be show-ready - including individual user customisation - was invaluable. “Will is a natural trainer and went above-and-beyond to ensure everyone was comfortable and knew what we were doing and was always on hand for any questions.”

Robe’s featured products included T-Series LED luminaires which are designed to meet and exceed the demands of theatrical and performance lighting. The multispectral light sources and additive colour mixing of T1, T2 and TX1 was a particular hit amongst the theatre community visiting the show who also appreciated the economic value and potential of the TX1’s TRANSFERABLE ENGINE (TE) LED engine.

The iSeries of IP rated luminaires was also prominent, together with Robe’s TE range of moving lights, which all have a removable LED light engine that can be replaced at any time or swapped out for a light source appropriate to the application.

The new compact PAINTE moving light was a star of the show, and having fixtures available downstairs for people to see in action generated much excitement.

Robe’s new Footsie LED practical footlight concept product was also presented for the first time to lots of positive comments.

The expo was generally busy over the two days and generated good overall vibes, said Robe UK’s head of marketing Theresa Gibson. “We saw visitors arriving early and leaving late, there was a lot of interaction and networking, and ABTT’s own seminar and workshop programme appeared very popular and was booked up well in advance,” she observed.

This year, ABTT focused on younger people and aspiring future industry professionals with an emphasis on career development, training and job opportunities. Theresa noted, in addition to growing the show and encouraging more exhibitors, that it was THE place to be to get in front of current and next generations of creative and technical innovators.

“It was great that the stand was perfectly situated on the show floor for meeting and greeting customers, utilising impactful visual product video content to start conversations and showcase key innovations,” she stated.

“Being able to conduct live demos a short walk away in the Palace Suite was an added bonus with many quality and in-depth technical conversations over the two days. We were joined by Louis Geard, one of our NRG (Next Robe Generation) members, who provided some fantastic event support and was a great asset to the team.

“Louis got hands-on with the product range, broadened his network and attended some of the show seminars, especially useful as a key ABTT focus was younger generations and career development in the sector.”

Robe’s theatre product specialist Dave Whitehouse commented, “It was generally busy which was great, and I had numerous in-depth conversations on multiple topics including both long and short-term projects. There was a particular interest in the seamless interchangeability of our indoor fixture ranges with their iSeries outdoor equivalents.”

Will Blackie noted the interest in comparisons between white and multi-spectral LED engine fixtures, and echoed Dave’s comments on how people were becoming increasingly conscious of the cost-effectivity and flexibility available using TE products.

Architectural lighting brand Anolis – a Robe Business – interacted with visitors from many different sectors, from theatre consultants to design practices.

Anolis’ Ambiane range was highlighted – offering high-performance speciality luminaires ideal for public space illumination like auditoriums and foyers where light quality is critical.

Also featured were products from the Anolis Eminere and Calumma ranges, and several theatres approached the team to discuss external lighting schemes using these products, including some from coastal locations where the robust Anolis build and weatherised finishes are paramount.

The ProMotion moving head effects / video projector also attracted attention for venue atriums, lobbies, reception areas, box offices, bars and other public spaces and gathering points.

According to Anolis business development manager Ashley Popple, they met a combination of existing clients and new contacts including plenty of new venue contacts which he believes “reflect a general increased awareness of Anolis in relation to the event demographic.”

Robe UK sales director Ian Brown concludes, “We had a very busy show full of top-grade professionals capitalising on the intimate format to have some in depth conversations about current and future projects. Normally at a trade show, you don’t get the luxury of 30 minutes to talk to individuals direct, and that’s the USP and the beauty of ABTT!”

Photo Credit: Paula Duck

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