Chairman’s Newsletter – November


MHDS Newsletter – November 2020

Dear Supporters

The Online Annual General meeting was reasonably successful with 40 members attending. This number is not far off the number who attend most years – so we were quite pleased.
The meeting started with a message from Viv Window, our President, who remembered those we had lost this past 12 months and thanked the Trustees and others for keeping the flame alight in most difficult times.

For those wanting a shortened form of the AGM, here are the ‘edited highlights’

Financially, thanks to several grants and using the furlough scheme in the year to July 2020, we are ok.The auditors have given the accounts a clean bill of health.

A precis was given of the report we send to the Charity’s Commission. Simply being an amateur theatre does not make us a charity. We must show that we use our income to benefit a wider audience. This we do by hosting several other local groups; Octagon Films, Parsnips Youth Theatre, Harborough Arts Society, Art Classes, Café Centrale, The Young at Heart Group, 2 Visiting productions and 14 Saturday morning fund raising coffee mornings for other local groups as well as monthly Ha Ha Harborough Stand Up Comedy Nights

But of course, these are extras which run alongside our main function to give an artistic outlet to our members, and during the year we invested heavily in improvements to our theatre.
We completed phase three of our LED Lighting programme, A new Sound Desk was installed, Improved shelving and storage for the props team, The exterior of the building was repainted,We replaced the old (unreliable) stage curtain winding mechanism with an electrically controlled winding system, The auditorium carpets and seats were professionally cleaned and the seats re fire proofed.

We held a well-attended open day which resulted in a number of new members and we held a ‘welcome’ afternoon tea for new members

The four plays we completed before lockdown were all successful and well received by our audiences. But, as I do not need to tell you, the theatre has now been dark for seven months and the most important part of the meeting covered our reopening plans. It has been decided that the theatre will, subject to Government restrictions, reopen after Easter, which this year is early April.
Before Easter, the Drama Committee have been asked to try to produce two ‘radio plays’ that could be put on the website in February/March.
The Drama Committee have also been asked to schedule three small cast plays which could be rehearsed and performed under the ‘rule of six’ regulations that were in existence before ‘Lockdown 2’. These will be staged in April, May & June/July.
We accept the fact that, if current Social Distancing regulations remain in place, we will be playing to audiences of around 30 people. If Social Distancing were reduced to 1 metre, then 50-60 might be possible. The plays will be prepared to our usual high standard and be properly costumed, lit and played on a suitable set.
We are also investigating the possibility of obtaining a licence to record the plays – and sell tickets for the recording for a nominal amount.
Regarding the 2021-22 season the Drama Committee have been asked to select and schedule a normal season of seven plays commencing in September 2021. These will be announced at our Spring General meeting which is scheduled for Wednesday May 5th, 2021. We live in hope.

Maxine updated everyone on the current Covid regulations. Rules seem to change almost daily but Maxine is doing a great job in keeping our procedures up to date. It has been decided that membership fees will be frozen until we can reopen the theatre for live performances. We announced that the Summer School which had to be cancelled this year, would, subject to regulations, go ahead in the long school holiday next year. Discussions are taking place with Octagon regarding the resumption of film/Live Broadcasts.

The Chairman to close the meeting by thanking everyone who had contributed this year – especially Alan Window and Judith Farr who were both stepping down from the Trustee Board due to ill health, and most especially to Beth Smith who is stepping down as Treasurer following five years of doing a magnificent job in managing our finances.

Many thanks to everyone who attended the AGM.

John Foreman
Chairman MHDS