Seasons of Change
As outgoing Chairman and now Drama Officer, John Foreman took a few minutes out to summarise how he felt about the Theatre’s 2015/16 season and what his view of next season is shaping up to be like.
Review of This Season
The 2015 season ended with a bang. The 39 Steps brought the curtain down on a season that can only be described as exceptional with rave reviews, cheering audiences and a fitting way for Hayley to become a Mum for the first time. Congratulations Hayley and Nick – and to everyone else involved (in the play that is, not the baby)
All seven productions met with almost unanimous praise from members and non-members alike and the adjudications which we receive from NANDA were a joy to read. And patrons might be interested to know that we take quality seriously enough to commission independent feedback from a professional organisation to give our members as much help as possible in raising their own standards.
From a ticket selling perspective sales rose by 8.4% and we played to an average 95% audiences – quite remarkable, and perhaps even more remarkable we sold 85% of all Saturday matinee tickets. It’s only three or four years ago that some people wanted the matinee experiment scrapped. I, for one, am glad we persevered. If we hadn’t 698 people would have been disappointed.
Only the two one-act plays dropped below 90% but even they had a perfectly respectable 77% figure with over 80% of evening tickets sold. And they act as the perfect gateway for our youth performers to experience a full week’s run on the main stage. For youngsters wanting to progress this is an essential part of their learning process.
So, on behalf of the theatre, many, many thanks to everyone who contributed in any way to any of the productions and to our fabulous audiences. Most professional theatres wouold give their right arms to be ion our position – and we get no outside financial help
And Next Season
Looking forward, we resume in late September with an ever- popular Agatha Christie ‘Whodunnit’, Look Back for Murder – a relatively recent adaptation of her ‘Five Little Pigs’ Novel
In November we present probably the most ambitious production of recent times ‘Pink Mist’ by Owen Sheers.
It tells the story of three young men who, bored with a humdrum existence in Bristol, join the army in search of adventure and end up in Afghanistan. I won’t give too much away but it’s a fabulous, very moving script and this will be a world amateur premier. The author is also likely to put in an appearance during the course of the week.
Christmas has an extension this year as Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Seasons Greetings’ takes to the stage in January and in February our regular double bill of one-act plays features an award winning play, Two Sisters’ which won the Manchester Evening News Play of the Year Award in 2007 and a really challenging play called ‘The Cage Birds’ to be performed by Parsnips Youth Theatre ‘Stars of the Future’ Both the one-act plays to be directed by John Foreman who recently won the East Midlands ‘Director of the Year’ award for this season’s Royal Baccarat Scandal.
Bouncers, by the ever popular John Godber, takes to the stage in April. Four doormen at a 1980s Northern nightspot act out what is happening inside. If you saw and enjoyed the recent ’39 Steps’ it’s the same general idea and is also directed by Mark Bodicoat who directed 39 Steps.
May sees ‘Whose Life Is It Anyway’ taking to the stage. It was voted one of the top ten plays of the 20th Century in a Millennium Poll of theatre critics and is a modern classis -very, very moving but also thought provoking. And the season ends with, arguably, the most popular of all plays written in the English language, Oscar Wilde’s ‘ The Importance of Being Earnest’
Add in three productions on the new Studio lounge and it’s a very busy season to look forward to.