And so the new year is firmly underway and work begins on our March production, The 39 Steps. More details on that very soon but as many of you know, last weekend saw a sizeable turnout for the AGM. Besides the usual agenda items very serious mention was made regarding the current need of a Stage Manager to assist in the running of shows. Although recent plays have managed effectively and imaginatively without this role being firmly filled, the time is approaching when producing plays with minimal or no sets becomes challenging. To this end if there is anyone reading, or you know anyone, who would be interested in getting a feel for the position, I would welcome their involvement in the forthcoming Steps. Please drop a line to the blog in the first instance and we can take it from there.

As is traditional, here is Annie’s speech as Chair:

always a very warm welcome to you all and thank you for coming along to support our 36th AGM.

2017 – Another year upon which to reflect – it has been interesting, at times testing and frustrating, but nevertheless it has also been successful and diverse.  In large part this is due to our lack of a regular Stage Manager and consistent back stage support.  This is not to suggest that everyone involved has done other than work extremely hard and been committed and loyal to each production.   But we shall talk more on this subject a little later.

Our first production for 2017 was The Farndale Farces, directed by Mike Savill.  These two farces had the advantage of providing opportunities for a large number of actors but, at least partly because of the need to manage with a minimal set – it was decided we would not enter the production into the BTG festival.   It was nevertheless enjoyed by our audiences, who always appreciate something funny on a chilly March evening!

After much discussion about the summer production Tim undertook to direct (with a little help from yours truly!) another evening of Talking Heads.  We had last done a trio of Alan Bennett monologues in 2013. This time we did two AB monologues, brilliantly performed by Dot Pullan and Helen Roffey – and, because AB’s monologues are nearly all for women and in the interest of maintaining a balanced evening! – Tim found Anorak of Fire by Stephen Dinsdale which was equally brilliantly performed by Zach Stiling.  Each performance was very well received, the audiences are always in awe of the actors’ ability to learn and perform for 35-40 and, in Zach’s case, 50 minutes.

And so to the December production ……..what could we possibly do that didn’t require a set!!!   Vicky and Pat read a number of plays and Vicky decided to go with Jumpy by April de Angelis.  This was a play that started life in the  Royal Court Theatre, a modern play with a modern take on various possible situations in “every day family life”!  We did sanitise the script for the benefit of the audience – and ourselves actually – and it lost nothing in the performance.   Although for some reason our audiences were smaller than usual, this play was much enjoyed by all who came – with some classic moments of comedy from everyone involved.  It was particularly good to have four of our younger actors performing.

As with The Railway Children in 2015, the movement of props was co-ordinated so that it became part of the action and this was also appreciated, commented on and applauded by the audience.

Our grateful thanks to Mike Sav, Tim and Vicky for keeping us going this year, with diverse productions and coping with everything involved with each production.  Each one is a huge commitment all involved – so my thanks and appreciation to all members for all they do front and back stage.

Thank you once again to Vicky for all her efforts, quite apart from directing!  Posters, handbills, programmes and tickets are very time consuming to design and produce.  Our thanks also to Gill Kehoe for continuing to organise refreshments for each performance, keeping stock and arranging the rota.  Gill has agreed to carry on for one more year, but will retire after this December’s production – so we need to find someone who is prepared to take over this responsibility and we also need more people who would be prepared to go on the list of helpers.  If there’s anyone here who would be interested or who knows someone that might be – please do let Gill know.

Thank you Sav for continuing to produce the Matchblog.  I hope  you all see and enjoy it.  Please look out for it, share with other Matchbox supporters and add your comments.  Feedback is always helpful and appreciated.

As always, many thanks to all committee members for the time and effort they put in during the year.  And lastly – our grateful thanks to the church for their patience and understanding in allowing us to borrow furniture of all descriptions and to store excess chairs and boxes in the Bernard Dent room.

Our March production has been decided and auditions are underway with a read through next week.   So we look forward to seeing you all again throughout the year and thank you for your ongoing support.  Please stay and enjoy the refreshments – we look forward to the chance to chat and catch up with you after the meeting.

AMN 7.1.18

I hope that your year has started safely and splendidly and that the January gloom hasn’t lingered too long. I will be back here in a week or so with an update or two and a return to the nostalgia bank and a few reflections on plays of yore. Have a great week, take care and see you soon,

M x


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