Below is my President’s Report for the July meeting. I’m sharing it here so that members can keep up with what’s happening around the theatre.
This month has seen us tick off several items on our Strategic Plan. This meeting will see us finally pass the changes to the Constitution about membership (hopefully) and we have made progress towards updating the website so that it can manage membership.
There’s also been a range of meetings with theatre management staff about the evolving nature of the role. Vivien has also met with Jo Michel about ticketing systems as part of our investigations into changes in this area in the future. In the office area, there’s been a clean-out ahead of plans to move the photocopier into the secure store.
Back of house, there’s been a lot of activity this month. Several of our members have been busily transferring set items, materials and props to our storage shed in Cardiff, and we are making progress towards refurbishing the green room. I will be meeting this week with our WfD supervisors to work out the next steps.
The replacement of the doors into the old theatre, the repairs and repainting of the wall in the old theatre are also significant improvements.
In line with our plan, we have also had the theatre professionally cleaned and at the July meeting we will be looking at and confirming plans for the future in this area.
The ADSC has also been very busy, getting us to the point where we can lock in next year’s season.
Independent Member’s Projects
Much Ado About Nothing was our ‘trial run’ for this kind of project and it has, in my view, been a considerable success. This project was the result of several months’ worth of committee discussions and recommendations, and a response to a long-running discussion with members.
Where this idea grew from is from members’ comments about club nights. We were looking for a model for club nights that engaged members and audiences. Shakespeare’s Women most certainly did this. The idea of a four-night club night taking over $4,000, total audience well over 200, and with strong positive press about its quality? If anyone had suggested that this was possible twelve months ago, would we have believed them?
Of course, there were some unanticipated problems. We ended up with three large shows rehearsing at once, and there was some strain on the people involved. Could I thank everyone who showed patience and made accommodations for others?
We also hadn’t considered some of the organisational needs in detail, so a few things were done in an ad hoc way. As one example, bump-out breakfasts happened and were successful, but they depended on the goodwill of a few of the members in all three casts in order to work.
I would like to hear from people involved in the production, and from committee, about difficulties we can address in the future. Clearly, we have the makings of a long-term initiative here. If we can successfully manage two or three members’ projects a year, it would be one way that we could better meet the needs of our members and contribute to the wider theatre community.
Unfortunately the charity who was keen to take on The Sea has had to pull out. We have had this happen a few times lately, and it begs the question: why? Perhaps we need to revisit arrangements for our final dress rehearsal? Or is this an issue of engagement? I am keen to hear people’s views on this.
Audience and Membership Engagement
I’d like to acknowledge the work of everyone who has been putting time into this area. Noel Grivas, Amy Hill, Debra Hely, Susan Dredge and Vivien Jones in particular have been instrumental in keeping this side of things running. However, we are currently operating without a dedicated sub-committee in this area. I’d like to get this going as a priority. Running our website, planning for season 2018, staying in touch with members, engaging our audience, making decisions about publicity… these things are essential to what we do. I know there are a number of committee members with ideas and the capacity to contribute, so what can we do here? Is there a good time that people with an interest can meet?