Madhatters Theatre Club
Madhatters Theatre Club – Annual Report
Welcome to the Madhatters’ AGM 2016 and the Annual Report.
This has been a year of two halves for the Madhatters. We put on a very successful show at Christmas at King’s Hall (KH) but since then we have been meeting at a member’s house and play reading; with a possible eye to staging a show at Christmas with just one act from a play, especially since our popular local magician became ill. We have, as ever, a major problem with recruitment and retention of new members and KH is also going through a low period.
At the end of November/early December we staged an evening of melodrama and other entertainment. Tom did a fantastic job directing us in the Tram Track Tragedy (TTT). Cathy, Adeline, Gillian, Jess and Martin all had major roles, with Cathy as wronged innocent (and very stupid) heroine Nelly, Adeline as her much brighter and braver sister Belle (Nell, it’s Belle, just hang on in there, Nell), Martin an evil Sir Putrid Canker, complete with evil moustache, Gillian the Gypsy Lemuel, aka telegraph boy and detective, and Jess his ever excellent chair. We were joined by Adam as Claud Body and Simon did his work on sound and light.
We improvised with magic, community carol-singing and a quiz, with questions set by Cathy on trams, tracks and tragedies. Louise Jones’ young daughter also joined us some nights with a couple of songs. Adeline was an excellent quiz mistress and, along with tea and mince pies and Eileen running the raffle, this was an excellent evening for just £3. We were especially grateful for Harold’s magic, which always goes down well. We were saddened at his sudden illness in the weeks after the show but are glad that he is now well again.
In previous years, in the week after our own show, we’ve run the KH Christmas Variety Show but other KH groups are clearly struggling and did not seem interested this year. We also had no KH Autumn Fayre this year – things have been very quiet since Jackie and Valerie pulled out of KH.
We were all set to stage a pared-down version of Oscar Wilde’s Importance of Being Earnest in June. Although Adam pulled out after the one show (moving to pastures new!) Mary and Maria, who had acted several times with us, expressed interest in the young lady parts and Fraser was tempted by the part of Algernon. However, Mary and Maria took parts with another group and Fraser found the journey a long one, so we decided to have a rest. We've been enjoying reading a range of comedies borrowed from nearby Child’s Hill Library. We also enjoy socials, especially visits to shows staged by family and friends, eg Cathy’s brother’s launch party for his pastiche Sherlock Holmes stories.
Managing new volunteers has been the usual story: many people contact us but few stay, though we seem to be getting fewer recruits. However, we are delighted that some of our volunteers have stayed for several shows and we hope that they will stay on. We have also been pleased to welcome trained actress Anne to our group since Christmas.
We have renewed our KH membership (£5 per person per year) and continue to meet on a Wednesday night, but not at KH. We would like to stage a show there in the late autumn and will definitely run a daffodil-planting to celebrate 70 years of community events at KH. However, the poor state of the other groups means that an autumn fayre and Christmas Variety Show is simply not on the cards.
Storage of our equipment has temporarily been resolved but may well become an issue again, since things are changing still at Malorees Junior School.
We are, as ever, grateful for all our supporters: audience, front of house, especially Bob and Eileen, reviewers, green grocers… and are delighted that magician Harold is up and running again. And we’re thinking about another late autumn show – maybe The Cold, Cold Snow?
Cathy Mercer, Secretary, and Martin Redston, Chairman
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The Madhatters Theatre Club is a registered charity
(Registered charity No. 1095317)