2018 AGM Minutes continued

The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company entertained us in June and we look forward to their 2018 visit.

At our August Members' Evening, the highlight was the world premiere of a new play by Edwin Preece, Hanging on by a Thread, directed by Wendy Davies, followed by a supper.

The autumn production was Quartet, by Ronald Harwood, directed by Geofrey and Jennifer Steward. The review highlighted: "This is a tragi-comedy that Jennifer and Geofrey Steward directed with great skill and sensitivity. The backstage crew did a fantastic job moving furniture and props, particularly in the final scene when the music room is transformed into a makeshift dressing room. The makeup and costumes suited the characters down to a tee, and with the Rigoletto overture playing between scenes, the sound and lighting perfectly complemented the whole production. Prompts, though rarely needed, were timely and unobtrusive, and the front of house team did their usual sterling work of keeping us refreshed and organised, making the whole evening a happy experience. Full credit must go to the actors for giving such a spirited performance and to the musical director Jill Scott-Kerr."

The WCDS Committee has set up a development group, MAG (Membership and Activities Group), to improve our recruitment of new members. One outcome is an involvement in Horsham District Council's year of Culture. I have again been well supported by the Committee. I would like to thank them this evening for their commitment to the Society over the last year. Furthermore I am grateful for the support of other people in our Society who are not on the committee but have also made a great contribution to its success; I shall not formally name them but they, and we, know who they are! They include front of house, backstage, lighting and sound, catering, set builders, ticket sales, programme design and, of course, performers. I must mention at this stage that three members of the committee, Betsy Rimmer, who has been on the committee getting on for 20 years, and Dave and Jayne Templeman, are stepping down. They deserve our thanks for their commitment and achievements. Moreover, I am delighted that they will still remain active members of the Society.

We are always pleased to welcome additional help in the Society. Lighting, catering, set builders and, especially, actors are all needed. Charlotte, who organises front of house for our productions, is always looking for members who are happy to help with coffee, door, ushering or the bar. As always, I would like to give a special thank you to our box offices for supporting the Society; Nisa, the Post Office Stores and the Storrington Card Shop. In 2018 we can look forward to a pair of super productions, together with several other members' activities. For more information about our activities do look at our website; it has a new format superbly developed by Rob Pearson, and our Facebook page. They complement our regular newsletters, edited by Margaret Watton, sent to all members, and articles in the local Parish Magazines.

I am sure we will all agree that this is a great Society in which to experience dramatic activity, be it on the stage, as part of the support team or sitting back and being entertained. Membership today stands at a very healthy 137. Thank you all for your contributions over the last year. The Society has a good future ahead of it. I hope you will all continue to enjoy your membership in 2018. In conclusion, I have enjoyed leading WCDS for the last 10 years. However, it is no secret that I am retiring from the office of Chairman and the Committee at this AGM when Geofrey Steward takes over this very enjoyable, interesting and important responsibility. Things that have made my role so memorable have been the pleasure of acting on stage, the privilege of working with some great directors and the almost 100% happy and purposeful activity and friendship which makes this Society so successful.

5. Treasurer's Report: The only observation I have is that in 2016 we decided to place the costs of the newsletter distribution under 'Operating Maintenance' but for 2017 we reverted to the historic allocation to 'Admin', hence the jump in costs under that heading for 2017. In view of the closure of the Storrington NatWest Bank this June, we are moving our banking to Lloyds, and hoping they do not close in July. My thanks again to Julian Gaydon for his help in auditing our accounts over the years, and to John, whose support as Chair to his 'little treasure' has been terrific.


17 February Members Evening

talk presenter

Ian Gledhill

The highlight of the Dramatic Society's Members Evening was a talk by Ian Gledhill, once professional actor, theatre company manager, and latterly an opera set designer. The talk was entitled Art and Illusion; theatre set design from Sophocles to Spiderman, in which he traced the entire history of stage scenery with fascinating insights to the origins of the words we use to describe the various parts of our theatres and the development of art of stage set design.

We learned that 'The Gods', now thought of as the highest part of the theatre where the cheap seats are, was once a small booth at the top of the stage from which gods were literally lowered on ropes as a play required. We were shown the amazing Drottingholm Palace Theatre where a still-functioning eighteenth century mechanism can change a set in twelve seconds, something that can't be done today. He completed his presentation by showing us his design for an enormous Spiderman set for a stunt show at a theme park; the scenery was computer drawn and painted, and printed on to huge sheets to be hung from scaffolding.

As he began his talk Ian could be seen painting a couple of light lines on a rectangle of grey board; he laid this aside to dry but took it up again at the end of his talk, painting in two other darker strips. He held up the result for us to see: and there was a section of wall panelling to all intents three dimensional: that was an illusion.

The evening was rounded off with a fish and chip supper and the raffle.


6. Technical Report: We are very sorry to lose Julian as our 'sound man'. He has made a huge contribution to our productions over the years. We have made adjustments to the team and the way we operate the sound which so far have resulted in the non-appearance of Julian's 'Dais' at the back of the stage as we are trying to operate both sound, video and lighting from the now somewhat crowded loft. We are pleased to have gained David Goddard and Jim Read to help and Rob Pearson with the techie bits, but we still need that 'younger' recruit from amongst your friends / children / nephews / nieces / cousins etc. Those of you who actively participate in our productions will be aware that our somewhat aged video monitoring system for Stage Manager and cast has finally showed signs of a serious illness and we are in the process of updating the system with clearer monitors and higher quality imaging.

7. Appointment of Auditor: The Chairman thanked Julian Gaydon for auditing this year's accounts. Mike Nicholson was proposed as Auditor by John Rimmer and seconded by Mike Phillips, with all in agreement.

8. Election of Officers and Committee: John Rimmer, Betsy Rimmer, David Templeman and Jayne Templeman all retired from the Committee. Geofrey Steward was proposed as Chairman by John Rimmer and seconded by Betsy Rimmer, with all in agreement. Christine Pearson and Rob Pearson were proposed onto the Committee by Pat Arculus and seconded by Jean Trew, with all in agreement. The Committee, as follows, was proposed by John Rimmer:

Officers: Chairman: Geofrey Steward; Vice Chairman: Vacant; Treasurer: Mike Phillips; Secretary: Amanda Hislop

Committee: David Burnett, Christine Pearson, Hermin Daley, Rob Pearson, Doug Yule, Angela Sloan, Julia Yule

Geofrey Steward was congratulated on his new position as Chairman.

Geofrey reported as follows: He thanked John for all his dedication to the Society and intended to build on everything John had achieved. He was looking forward to celebrating the Society's 70th anniversary in 2019. He was still waiting for confirmation of grant being awarded under Horsham District Year of Culture, and the outcome of that decision would shape how WCDS would develop in the future. MAG is helping to raise the profile of WCDS, bringing in new members and outside interest from a wider area, and hoped this would generate younger members. He was not worried at this stage that no Vice Chairman had been appointed. He was very much looking forward to an exciting couple of years and potential productions.

He then opened the meeting for questions: Justin Curtis questioned the choice of venue for Play Reading for Fun. Janet Methley commented that The Queen's Head was more interactive, and Jean Trew mentioned the limited space in both venues and the question of being amongst diners. Review needed on choice of night to get a balance on how busy the venues are and interaction involving the public, but there was a general feeling that attendance was better in a pub. The cricket pavilion was also suggested as a possible venue. There being no other business, the formal meeting closed at 8.12pm. Geofrey and Honorary President, Hermin Daley, then presented John and Betsy with plants, photo album and card in thanks and commemoration of their service to the Society, followed by a social time with refreshments.

Amanda Hislop - Secretary




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