Chairman’s Newsletter – July

MHDS Newsletter – July 2020

Dear Supporters

The Wait Goes On.

At a Trustee’s Meeting held recently we discussed various scenario for reopening the theatre after four months of lockdown.

I can’t give good news on the performance front, as all the information we have received from various Government bodies, The LTG, Theatre Associations and so on mean that it is highly unlikely that indoor performances will be possible this year and a conversation I had with Harborough District Council for a charity performance in Welland Park fell on stony ground.
Based on this information we have, reluctantly, cancelled all the autumn productions and will be contacting season ticket holders offering refunds in the near future.
But people have been beavering away behind the scenes and quite a lot of things have been done to get ready for the future.
On a physical level, not only has the outside of the theatre been painted but the interior has also had a face lift. The auditorium carpets and seats are now looking spotless following a visit from the carpet and upholstery cleaners. To quote Mike Allen ‘The place looks almost like new – all the stains, dirt and grime have been removed as if by magic’ – and not only that, the seats have been re fire-proofed so the auditorium is just a tad safer as well.
And speaking of Mike – he deserves a big thank you for coming in weekly to ensure the building is in good nick and is safe and has also supervised the work carried out both inside and out.

And another big thank you to George Normand. He has just retired from being our Health and Safety Officer, but his parting gift is a book about two inches thick which, for the first time, has brought together all the strands of this function and will, providing we use it properly, provide an invaluable reference source for the future.
The Trustees are considering options on the best way to handle this vital function in future and will be making a new system known in the Autumn.
On the performance front we may not be able to produce plays in the coming few months, but the creativity of our members will be showcased in three ‘productions’ which will be available to members and friends via the Harborough Theatre website
In September Tristan Knowles and Company will present the Lockdown Revue written and performed by members, recorded by a variety of means and edited by Mark Bodicoat. I’m told there will be some ‘adult’ content – so be warned.
In October/November ‘Old Smokey’ a new play written by Arthur Aldrich as his lockdown labour of love will be performed as a rehearsed reading, and in December Mark Bodicoat has written a new version of Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ which will also be on the Website as a rehearsed reading.
Members who would like to take part in the rehearsed readings should contact Arthur or Mark to offer their services. Arthur can be reached at arthur.aldrich821@btinternet.com and Mark at bodicoat@aol.com
And if any member wants to do something that could be uploaded please feel free to contact our Drama Officer, Barbara Lloyd (barbaralloyd21@gmail.com)
Rehearsals and similar can now be held in the theatre lounge and the Trustees have decided that if members wish to get together socially they can use the lounge providing they book with Maxine Kempster, and meet the social distancing and other guidelines set out in the Society’s Covid 19 policy. A copy can be obtained from Maxine. Maxine’s contact details are maxine.kempster@gmail.com, and telephone 07851 448886
This will allow things like coordinators meeting with their teams to discuss the way forward once we can reopen – and meet up informally with theatre colleagues to swap lockdown stories. We will not be re-instating our usual Tuesday coffee mornings open to the public until much later.
On a slightly brighter note, Parsnips classes are scheduled to re-start in September, providing schools are back to normal.
Theoretically, Octagon could restart their films/live broadcast re-runs (only live performances are prohibited) but having spoken to Peter Mitchell he tells me that they consider this too early and social distancing and other factors make it impractical at present.
We had said that if we could reopen before Christmas, we would bring forward our Annual General Meeting to October but as this will not be possible we have rescheduled for November 11th at 7.30pm. (the night Helen and I would have been at Elton John’s Farewell concert in Birmingham. SOB!!!)
The Trustees will be meeting in early September and will send all AGM details and paperwork following that meeting, but we know that there will be a need for at least three new Trustees and the same number of new Drama Committee members as people come to the end of their period of office.
If anyone wishes to offer their services as a Trustee or Drama Committee member, or would like to know what it entails, it would be helpful if they could let me know in the case of Trustees (chairman@mhds.org.uk) or Barbara Lloyd in the case of Drama Committee interest. These are vital positions but not too time consuming under normal circumstances.
Beth Smith, our brilliant Treasurer, will be retiring at the AGM so that’s another key position to be filled and Barbara Lloyd’s stint as Drama Officer also comes to an end.
And finally, we will not be producing the September edition of ‘Backstage’ It costs quite a lot to produce and, with nothing much happening at the moment, we decided that for the time being regular updates via a newsletter would be better.

And finally, congratulations to John & Jean West who celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary earlier this month. That’s two sixtieth anniversaries in one year – following on from Viv and Alan Window a couple of months back. 1960 must have been a good year to get married.

I do hope everyone is keeping safe and well, and rest assured we will do everything we can to get the theatre up and running just as soon as we can.
Kind regards

John Foreman
Chairman MHDS