Good evening fellow Outsiders and thank you for the effort you
have made to come to this evenings A.G.M. I would like to begin by thanking my
predecessor, Barbara, for all the hard work and commitment that she brought to the role of Chair.
She is a truly hard act to follow!
I don't habitually look at horoscopes but just before taking on
this role I happened to glimpse my horoscope in the North West Evening Mail which said :
"You will be asked to assume a thankless task. Be wary about accepting this
offer even if there is a lot of pressure to do so. Ordering others around will cause
resentment. If members of the team don't fall in line - dismiss them!"
Fortunately it hasn't been necessary to have recourse to such draconian measures.
Indeed I have had cause to feel extremely grateful for all the hard work, commitment and assistance I have received from members of the Committee.
This is the point where I say that it would be invidious for me to single out any one individual and then go on to do precisely that! In particular, I would like to express immense gratitude to Emma in her role as Secretary. She has worked with characteristic diligence and efficiency to keep the "show on the road" - all the more creditable given the huge demands of her day job.
In addition I would like to thank Pat for her sterling contribution to getting things done including, of course, her role as Treasurer. I shall talk about play readings a little later but I would like to thank Hannah for her considerable efforts in sorting out various play readings.
I would also like to thank Tony for the many things he has done over the last year which includes directing and sorting things out in the new store and in connection with the trailer.
Much the same applies to Duncan in his role as director and capacity to sort out various matters for the Society. To have had our committee meetings hosted by John, Hannah and Emma has been greatly appreciated.
Finally a big thank you to John who has been typically indefatigable in his efforts to promote Ulverston Outsiders in a variety of ways which has made a notable contribution to the way that things have gone. If I have left anybody out which is highly likely then I apologise for any distress caused.
Doubtless I might be hearing from somebody's solicitor or indeed directly from a
member who is a solicitor!
I believe that this year we have experienced a successful year building on the
success of last year and, indeed, previous years. Both "The 39 Steps" as well as
"And Then There Were None" were well received and, gratifyingly, this was
underlined by them providing us with healthy financial returns.
The casts of the plays are to be complimented for their efforts as indeed are the directors of the plays - Tony and Duncan respectively .
In addition I would like to pay tribute to the commendable efforts of the many people who make such a huge contribution to our productions 'behind the scenes'. Without them we simply couldn't get our plays put
on. I never cease to admire all their hard work
.So I'd like to thank - in no particular order - Daniel, Sammy, Maggie, Ian, Roger, Brenda, Jayne, Steve and Geoff.
Again, if I have missed anybody out (which is quite likely) then profound apologies. It was also nice to see Adrian 'returning to the fold'; in recent times.
While on the subject of supporting productions, I also recognise the role that
Society members play in coordinating and providing Front of House Staff. I'd like to thank all those who have participated in this during the last year.
Volunteers are needed for our next production from November 19th to 22nd, so please contact Barbara to offer your services. I would also like to mention that Adam Atkinson has been nominated for the second year in a row for an acting award which comes as no surprise given the superb performances he regularly provides in our productions.
So our next production will be 'Woman in Mind' by Alan Ayckbourn, directed by
Jean Hunt, to run from November 19th to November 22nd I understand that
rehearsals are going well.
Hopefully it will attract good audiences and receive good
support from members of the Society.
As referred to previously in this report, play readings have taken place throughout the year with various plays being considered as potential future productions. These include : 'A Christmas Carol' by Patrick Barlow', 'Bothered and Bewildered' by Gail Young. We also read a play written by our very own Ann Thomson, 'Adam Bede'.
As regards our Spring play, the Committee is pleased to confirm that the Outsiders production in April 2020 will be Arthur Miller 'The Crucible', to be directed by Steve Carrick (who is an outsider but not an Outsider).
It has been good to forge links with the Big King pub in Ulverston as it is colloquially known. I believe that being able to access its upper room has enhanced the social side of events such as play readings.
Looking to the future, I would like to think that we shall continue to explore how we can perhaps do more, involving putting plays on in the community and not just confining our output to the Coronation Hall, good though that is . I certainly see our continuing to use the latter venue as an important contribution on our part to keeping it integral to the cultural scene in Ulverston.
I think that using various venues as well as settings such as the King's and presenting different sorts of drama such as doing "Script in Hand" out in the community will enhance our profile and help recruitment. It might extend the number of people willing to try their hand in participating in what the Society does.
I certainly enjoyed taking part in such productions even though it consisted of me lying flat on my back on the floor of "The Old Friend's" pub which, let me try to reassure fellow members, has been the first time that this has ever happened in any circumstances irrespective of thespian demands!
I know that when I make a comparison between being an Ulverston Outsider and being a part of a family, it might seem a bit of a risky analogy to some (depending on people's experience of family life). But for me when I say being part of this Society makes me feel part of a family, it is an entirely positive comparison. In my experience it is a wonderful thing to work together to provide entertainment for the people of Ulverston and feel a sense of belonging in doing so. I feel very lucky to have felt the benefit of such an experience and feel grateful to be part of something which is so fulfilling.
Thank you to everybody involved in such a worthwhile enterprise and may the coming year bring the kind of success and satisfaction to which we all aspire.
At the Annual General Meeting on Sunday October 13th, both the Chairperson and Secretary stood down.
We are glad to announce that Hannah Mitchell and Rob O'Hara were unanimously elected as Chairperson and Secretary respectively.'
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.'