A theater rigging assembly having a beam, which is attached to structural support members of a theater or other performing arts venue. The assembly further includes a winch assembly and head block that can be positioned at any point along the beam and selectively fixed in position. The winch portion includes cables for raising and lowering battens or other loads. The head block includes head sheaves, which redirect the cables to loft sheaves that are selectively attached to the beam. The head sheaves are diagonally displaced to separate the cables. The winch portion includes a motor, a gear box, a drum and a brake. The brake includes a ratchet and two brake disks. It uses at least one friction surface that contacts at least one of the brake disks to cause a pawl to engage or disengage from the ratchet.