At the AGM last Sunday, October 7th, the Chairman and Secretary both stood down. They were replaced by Phil Cooper and Emma Bonney. The new committee is:
Chair - Phil Cooper
Secretary - Emma Bonney
Treasurer - Pat Timewell
Publicity - John Brice
Member - Duncan Lindsay
Member - Tony Smith
Member - Chris Barron
Member - Hannah Mitchell
The outgoing Chairman, Barbara Springthorpe gave her annual report.
This has been an eventful and extremely busy year for Ulverston Outsiders. If you will bear with me I shall try and go through the happenings in order.
The season started with our November 2017 production of Arthur Miller’s “All my Sons”performed in the round with a minimal set which made life easier for our set designer Helen Lawler. This play was directed by Jean Hunt, an excellent production with a fine cast which proved popular by the paying public and resulted in us placing out extra chairs for the last night. Congratulations to Jean, the cast, and all who were involved with it.
We heralded 2018 with a superb New Year Party courtesy of Pam and Tony Smith with hot food and sweets provided by them and some of our members. Thankyou Pam and Tony for your hospitality.
Straight after Christmas we started rehearsing for our April 2018 production of Alan Ayckbourne’s “Bedroom Farce” to be directed by yours truly. 3 Bedrooms, 3 Beds, and set on 3 levels and a multitude of soft furnishings and props. After a discussion with Helen she duly arrived with her trademark box set model of the staging complete with furniture right down to tiny bedside cabinets. Thank you Helen! A few weeks into rehearsals Adam Atkinson stepped in to take over one of the parts and then six weeks before the production Kirsty Goodall also came to our rescue to take over a part so my thanks to Adam and Kirsty. With John spending weeks chasing after carpets, Maggie and Pat sourcing beds and a very frustrating Sunday “get in” we were ready to perform. This play was also well attended with us having to put in a couple of extra rows on the last night. I wish to thank my wonderful cast, and to everyone who worked so hard to help with the production and with the Sunday technical get-in, especially my three Musketeers – Geoff, Ian and Roger. The icing on the cake was that we made a very healthy profit.
In January we were dealt a big blow when we received six month’s notice of termination of the use of the Barn. This was a big shock to us. We decided to start looking for other premises. I really must thank John and Pat who both spent so much time sourcing rentals and visiting them to try and find somewhere suitable to store all our staging, props and costumes. Special thanks to Chris Barron who eventually found us Morecambe Road and acting for us in all the legal matters regarding the new lease. I think everyone was shocked when they entered the Barn to start the mammoth task of sorting and clearing, Thirty years of flats, doors, stairs, timber, furnishings, nuts and bolts etc etc etc as well as a load of scenery in the centre which appeared from Abbey Musical. Meeting two or sometimes three times a week over a period of six weeks with a regular core group and other members coming when they could we managed to do it. Fifteen members turned up on the day to help load the van when we actually moved and it was great to see our members coming together to help and even enjoying themselves. Thank you all. I don’t really like to single people out in case I miss someone but we could not have done it without Pat. She advertised all sorts on Am Dram web sites, contacted everyone she knew, made numerous trips to the Barn to meet people coming from as far as Carlisle to look at scenery etc and sold a load of surplus costumes making for the Society. I cannot thank you enough Pat!
About a dozen members are currently reading Pub Scripts at various hostelries in the area. These are written by members of the Ulverston Writers Group and are performed “Script in Hand”. This has been arranged by Pat who also successfully secured us a Community Grant to perform them.
Rehearsals are now well underway for our exciting November 2018 production of “The 39 Steps” from the novel by John Buchan with Tony Smith directing for us. This is receiving a lot of interest locally so we are expecting good houses for this production. The cast are really enjoying rehearsing so please sell tickets even if you are not in the play yourself.
We have not forgotten about applying for Charitable Status. Pat is researching this for us but as we have had the worry of sorting out the Barn and finding new storage facilities the Committee decided to put this on hold until we were settled in our new premises before asking Pat to continue with this.
Our Play Reading Sub-committee started off really well reading a number of plays but have not met during the last few month with us sorting the barn and, of course, holidays. They did however decide that Agatha Christie’s “A Murder is Announced” would be perfect for the Society. We had a read through evening which was well attended and so all being well, that play will be our Spring production in May 2019 with Duncan Lindsey Directing this for us.
One thing the Society needs to be aware of is how Bookings and Publicity Systems have changed within the Coronation Hall Guidelines. The Coro now need our Poster design for our plays at least 4 months before the publication of their Brochure. John and I had many heated meetings with Charlie Rowley over publicity and costs relating to the hiring of the Hall when he was the CEO. Now he has left but the basis of everything is still there. Seating plans need to be in the Box Office to open ticket sales at least 2 to 3 months before performance dates. No photo boards allowed in the Foyer but our poster will be put on a rolling screen in the Foyer about 4 weeks before our performance week and we are allowed a pop up poster in the Foyer. Everything is on a more professional level now and we have to comply with that. It will cost us more money but that’s how it is now. Incidentally the pop up poster for 39 steps has been up in the Foyer and it looks great.
With no one coming forward to take on the role of Publicity Officer at last year’s AGM advertising for our productions seems to have fallen to John, Pat and myself, especially for Bedroom Farce. Thanks also to Rob and Kirsty for preparing the material and finding advertisers. The Publicity for 39 Steps has been left in the hands of John and Tony who have liaised with Fingerprints and Pat and Ian have offered to put up the Road Posters. This is not ideal and we really need members to put themselves forward for these positions. It is not fair to expect Directors to have to do their own publicity.
So now we come to the end of this performing year and the start of a new one. I would like to thank all the members of the Committee for their hard work and for the support given to me over the past year. I am going to make personal mention of John who has been a fantastic Secretary. We have had a really good working relationship and he has been invaluable. John informs the whole membership of everything that is happening all the time so that we all know what is going on.
Thanks to all you members of the Outsiders for rallying round when needed and working as a team helping when asked and having such a good relationship together. This past year may not have been an easy one, but it’s been a fantastic one. Thank you all.'