AGM Minutes 3rd December 2016

1. Present: Rod Moor-Bardell; Rod Miflin; David Morrell; Gill Morrell; Lauren Davis; Elliott Davis; Pat Cannings; Adrian Philpott; Gaye Philpott; Michael Taylor; Sue Sedgwick; Graham Paton; Jeremy Reece; Laurence Parnell; Colin Jackson; Jake Lennox; Faye Matthewman; Paul Batson

Apologies received from: Mike Harley; Sylvia Clegg; Penny Clegg; Christine Partington; Bob Partington; Dot Barker

2. Minutes of the last AGM: The minutes of the last AGM were accepted (proposed by Graham Paton, seconded by Jeremy Reece)

3. Matters Arising:

New venue: Cleeve House is in Seend, accessible from the A361 Trowbridge - Devizes road. It is much more like Hazelbury, smaller than we are used to, with a large lawn that is surrounded by woods, the attractive house and terrace, and open fields towards Salisbury Plain. It is operated as a small hotel and the owners are keen to have us, with a friendly and positive approach. The parking area needs to be enlarged, which the owners intend to do, and the three phase electric supply needs to be improved. Rehearsals will be on site, with access to indoor rehearsal space and toilets. Dressing rooms will be provided. Portaloos will be needed though not for cast or disabled visitors. Cleeve House will run the bar and refreshments. Marketing will be a challenge as the distance from Corsham and Chippenham is notably further, though about the same from Bath and Swindon, and less from Frome, Devizes and south Wilts towns. There is a hard standing track for access for the stand and plenty of options for placing it in different places.

4. Chairman's report:

Rod Moor-Bardell reported on an interesting year where the stability and success if Shakespeare Live was challenged. The Dell submission was unfortunately unsuccessful (fewer dates and a focus on traditional productions) but a revamped submission will be made. We did, though, perform a very well-received series of scenes - Shakespeare Shorts - in Lackham and Lacock on the 200th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, for which Gill and the team were warmly thanked.

In May, we were told that the new contract for Lackham would cost an unsustainable amount, so with much reluctance Lackham College was informed that we would be seeking a new venue. Rod went on to describe the search for new venues, which included Lacock, Bowood, Neston Park and Hartham. The challenge was to find a venue who does not find our presence too disruptive. Despite Hartham remaining a potential venue for future years, the Board has made the decision to move for 2017 to Cleeve House, Seend. Further details below.

Gill's production of The Tempest was again struck by misfortune when Graham (Prospero) was too ill to perform at the dress rehearsal and first night. Thanks and congratulations to Adrian, who gave a great performance as Prospero, and to David Cromarty and David Morrell who also filled in, ensuring the show was at a high standard. Rod described the production as a tour-de-force with a splendid storm scene, a multitude of Ariels, and some sterling performances from new and old-established members of the company. It was, he said, intensively satisfying to bring down the curtain at Lackham with such an exuberant show.

The Board of Trustees continued to work very hard for the company. Amanda Costain joined as Secretary but, sadly, Annie Rose is stepping down from the Board. She was thanked for her hard work over five years, especially in securing charitable status for the company and for being a real stalwart managing Front of House. Rod asked for volunteers to help run this amazing company.

Rod touched on the finances, remarking that the small loss follows significant charitable donations and the purchase of three good quality gazebos. However, he warned against complacency.

He also said that this year there will be an autumn tour of Bottom's Dream regardless of whether it is picked for the Dell.

Rod introduced his vision for 2017's A Midsummer Night's Dream, for which auditions will be held at Cleeve House on Sunday January 15th from 10am - 4pm. He explained the rationale for changing from King Lear in order to avoid the 'perfect storm' which followed the move from Hazelbury when weather, recession, change of venue and choice of a tragedy led to financial crisis.

Rod asked for new directors to come forward, with potential for mentoring or assistant directors.

Christine and Bob Partington have for many years stored many costumes in their attic, and have asked us to find an alternative storage area within the next 12 - 18 months. Anyone who has or can suggest suitable storage is asked to contact him.

Personal news: Lauren and Elliott Davis were congratulated on the birth of their son Tyrion; congratulations also to Charlotte Howard and Murray MacDonald who were married this year; on a far sadder note, Sue Sedgwick lost her son, Will, to depression.

Rodney Miflin advised his intention from the role of Lighting Manager from the end of the summer 2016 production. This was a real blow as Rodney has a wealth of experience but he has agreed to assist on a consultancy basis. The assembled members stood to applaud Rodney for his long years of service to the group.

Oscar Davis will take on the role of site electricity manager.

5. Financial report:

David Morrell distributed copies of the accounts, also available on the website. We have £17,700, a slight reduction from last year because of £1900 to charities, the purchase of three gazebos, and no Dell / autumn tour.

David compared the present situation to the move to Lackham; ticket sales are up, stand hire is less; costume, pre-show entertainment and other assorted costs have all been brought down.

The charge for Cleeve House will be £3750, which will be the same for 5 years if the Cleeve House trustees agree, as is expected, and if we choose to stay there.

David hopes the stand contract with Wernick will be renewed this year

The AGM agreed to maintain the present ticket prices.

Members are encouraged to make donations towards the general running of the company. These can be sent to David at any time during the year (80 Winsley Hill, Bath BA2 7FA).

6. Donations to Charity:

Sue Sedgwick spoke movingly about her knowledge of SANE gained since her son's death, and emphasised that the charity focuses on research into mental health issues as well as support. It was proposed by Sue and seconded unanimously that the company should donate £500 to SANE.


7. Amendments to the Constitution: 

None were proposed.


8. 2016 Production Review

Gill Morrell reported on The Tempest, which, as detailed by Rod earlier, encountered some practical issues but was in all a highly successful production. She thanked everyone for their support.


9. 2017 Productions

Rod's exciting plans for A Midsummer's Night's Dream will involve separate singing and dance teams, with progress on these already made, and clear ideas of age, sex and character for potential auditionees. The interpretation will be in some ways darker than usual and set in pre-Christian Greece but with anachronistic touches, especially for the Dad's Army style mechanicals. Rod aims for the show to be full of light, movement and laughter.


Dell and Tour Show, 2017. Pat Cannings and Graham Paton are devising and directing Bottom's Dream for resubmission to the Dell and for an autumn tour. The show will be based around the relevant scenes from MSND, with a framework of the fallout of a modern am dram group's auditions. There will be lots of female parts and simple staging / costumes.


10. Date of the next AGM:

Next year's AGM will be on Saturday December 2nd 2017.

11. Election(s) to Board of Trustees:

All were willing to re-stand apart from Annie Rose (see above). Amanda Costain was proposed as a Trustee by Colin, seconded by Jeremy. Three members put themselves forward to become members of the Board - Faye Matthewman (proposed by Jeremy, seconded by Jake )Jake Lennox(proposed by Gill, seconded by Faye) and Sue Sedgwick (proposed by Mike, seconded by Colin).


AOB: Mike Taylor proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman and all those involved in the search for a new venue, together with thanks for finding Shakespeare Live a new home. This was carried by all present.

Gill Morrell

Member of Board of Trustees