profiles - a light-hearted look at industry personalities

No. 92 in a continuing series

Caricatures by

David Lewis

Chris Higgs

Training Manager, Total Fabrications Ltd.

Having developed an interest in stage lighting, Chris Higgs left school at the first opportunity in 1973. He started out with the disadvantage of being profoundly colour blind, but was at least blessed with an O level in basketry. His health took its first downward turn in 1973 when he was diagnosed with theatre - subsidised rep. to be precise.

The condition abated by the late 70's as he worked in other areas of the entertainment industry, including touring theatre, dance and music - but returned because of the need to avoid working for a living. Gradually moving towards rigging through a long standing disposition to climbing, whilst engaged by the then fledgling Midland Theatre Services he started a rigging business which limped along until the founding of Trapeze Rigging in 1989.
Trapeze provided rigging services throughout the UK and Europe including training, but hypercholesterolaemia caused him to do a bit of personal re-rigging in 1998.

Trapeze was eventually acquired by the Outback Rigging empire who have since made it into a proper business. He joined Total Fabrications in that year and since then has devoted the majority of his time to training riggers in the UK and overseas.

Now, with a couple of very successful books* under his belt (that's why his shirt sticks out at the front) Chris spends his life training riggers and going to committee meetings. He has contributed to the writing of BTEC and NVQ rigging standards initiatives. Already an ABTT safety committee member, in 2004 he was elected onto the ABTT council and shaved off his beard.

Chris is a member of the British Standards committee drafting a Code of practice for the use of lifting equipment above stages which should be published early in 2005. This document has been a long time in preparation and will be a valuable tool for anyone involved in rigging in the entertainment industry in the widest sense.

One of his current passions is the proposed National Rigging Certificate which will create recognised standards of rigging competence. Working with industry luminaries Mark Armstrong and Eric Porter, the certificate aims to standardise training and ensure entertainment industry rigging standards are maintained accordingly by venues and rigging contractors.

Chris lives in Worcestershire with a wife and some children who should know better. One has escaped to Greenwich to read Philosophy which he says explains a great deal.

*Chris Higgs' books from Entertainment Technology Press are:
An Introduction to Rigging in the Entertainment Industry
Rigging for Entertainment: Regulations and Practice

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