2021 at least started off going to plan for Company Theatre. Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed in May 2021 by Sian Davis, was very successful: With three of the four performances in its final week being sold out, and well over 1000 people seeing the play during its two week run at our 110-seat theatre. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof also has thirteen nominations for the 2021 NAPTA Awards - with winners to be announced online on March 26th instead of at the originally planned live ceremony, due to COVID-19 worries.
Neville's Island – written by Tim Firth and directed by Kathy Gent – also had a very successful start in August to its two week season, before the COVID-19 lockdown caused its postponement after only three out of twelve performances. After initially being postponed to November 2021, by which time we thought we’d be well out of lockdown based on previous experience, Kathy Gent will instead be directing again this August, and Neville’s Island’s very impressive and original set has been saved for another day.
To complement our performances in the theatre, from May 2021 we also started holding a monthly play reading series in the Company Room: The brainchild of Kristof Haines. Everyone’s invited to take part in these free events, where people are given the chance to publicly read for a character in the chosen play’s script or not as they’d prefer, with some complementary drinks and nibbles also on offer. We managed to host three successful play readings – based on our criteria of at least a double-digit number of participants – before these too were paused by the August lockdown.
After the disruptions caused in 2021 by COVID-19 restrictions, we’re holding out hope for a more successful 2022, in spite of the current rise of the Omicron variant. We have three plays booked into the theatre for a two week run each – starting with the May 21st opening of Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage, directed by Kate Birch – and in a departure from last year’s play reading format, we’re staging a rehearsed reading of Patrick Marber’s Three Days in the Country in the theatre on March 7th, directed by Anne Rimmer.
As always, Company Theatre couldn’t do everything we do without the help of a small army of talented volunteers and the support of Rose Centre staff. Over the last year we’ve also had to bid farewell to two of the ten committee members we started out with: Janice Andrews and Victoria Silvey. Thanks to both Janice and Victoria for their contributions – if anyone’s looking for a challenge in 2022, we’re able to offer the opportunity of two sadly vacated but currently available positions on Company Theatre’s committee.
Company Theatre had high hopes for 2020, and looking back we did manage to pull off many good performances in spite of the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions: A two-week run of New Zealand play “Peninsula”, heavy involvement in two of the three productions in November’s Public Play Reading Series at Devonport’s “The Vic”, and in December a three-evening run of “Lockdown in Little Grimley” as part of our very popular 40th Anniversary celebrations. So even though last year turned out nothing like any of us could have envisaged, we still managed to come through well in the end.
After Lockdown-related postponements in both March and August – both at the last moment – “Peninsula” finally made it to the stage in November: Inspiring much positive feedback – with this slightly experimental start-of-year play, which ended up being our pre-Christmas show, attracting very respectable audience sizes. New Zealander and Auckland local Gary Henderson, playwright of this nostalgic mid-Twentieth Century coming of age tale, both attended and spoke after our opening performance – which helped make our run of this play even more special. Kudos to director Kristof Haines for hanging in there for three full rehearsal periods before seeing “Peninsula” in front of an audience, and bravo to all seven of the actors who strived as much as they were able to bring this play with a cast-of-five to life: Steph Curtis, Ross Anderson, Jono Capel-Baker, Duncan Preston, Sofie Gabriel, Rebekah Talsma, and Kristof himself for the November run.
With us wanting to enjoy our 40th Anniversary in style, director Kathy Gent assembled a cast of four Company Theatre luminaries to stage a three-night run of the very topical play “Lockdown in Little Grimley” in December. The three packed out houses of its run gave many of Company Theatre’s associates from the previous decades the chance to catch up, have a laugh, and help us eat the two digits of our “40”-shaped cake: Which was helpfully cut by Geoff Clews – a major player in Company Theatre’s early days.
Electronic and social media came to the fore during our times of physical isolation last year, and we have three success stories on this front: Thanks to the youngest member of our committee Victoria Silvey, Company Theatre now has a popular Instagram account; Due to the work of both “Peninsula” cast member Jono Capel-Baker and myself, the number of people Liking and Following our Facebook Page increased by 10.5% over 2020 – and according to statistics provided by the widely-used application MailChimp, used by Company Theatre to produce its email newsletters, Jono and I maintained above average engagement rates here on a regular basis.
Thank you to the many volunteers that help keep Company Theatre’s activities running smoothly and well: I apologise for only mentioning two of our invaluable helpers now. Linda Camplin has been involved with Company Theatre for many years – serving as President from 2017 to 2018 and Treasurer from 2019 to 2020. To our misfortune, she will soon be moving to the Nelson region, so will be stepping down from her duties with Company Theatre. We wish you all the best Linda!
An invaluable reservoir of talent that we’ve drawn on for many years is costumier extraordinaire Cathie Sandy. To our great fortune, in recent years she’s continued her legacy of helping with Company Theatre’s costuming and wardrobe, and we will do our best to nurture talent in this area so that Cathie can confidently pass on the baton when she finally and very deservedly decides to enjoy a retirement.
Having gotten through 2020 with a grand total of four productions under our belts, we can confidently move onwards and upwards in 2021.
2019 saw Company Theatre produce three plays that were all artistically successful – with each of them having a varying degree of mainstream appeal. As we want to present a range of plays for our diverse audience and members, we view this as having been another very successful year for Company Theatre.
In April we presented Stones in His Pockets, directed by Kristof Haines – who’s also directing Company Theatre’s first play of 2020, Peninsula.Stones in His Pockets is a poignant comedy set in Ireland’s County Kerry while it’s being overrun by a Hollywood film crew. Two actors, Francis Johnson and Natasha Senior, played 15 characters between them: Primarily Jake Quinn and Charlie Conlon – two locals employed as extras on the film. This touching comedy was never meant to be a blockbuster – reflected by its slightly shorter week and a half run – and its plot even lampoons one. It was greatly appreciated by the respectable number of audience members it attracted.
A play that met our expectations as a blockbuster was stalwart Company Theatre director Kathy Gent’s Steel Magnolias: Performed in August, and starring a cast of six strong female characters with equally capable actors behind them. Regardless of its being set in a beauty salon, I said in my President’s blurb at the start of its programme booklet – probably unnecessarily – that Steel Magnolias was a play for anyone who appreciates strong, well-written characters who face their difficulties with good humour and grace under fire. Hopefully I’m not now guilty of mansplaining. Attracting an audience of about 1000 during its run, we’re glad that Steel Magnolias was able to give these people a window into the goings-on in Truvy's beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana. We’re also glad for the opportunity to work with Diabetes New Zealand’s Auckland Branch – with their display in the foyer during Steel Magnolias informing the audience about the disease that tragically affected the mother and daughter characters in the play.
Company Theatre’s final play of 2019 was November’s Arms and the Man – directed by Reg Williams, and set in Bulgaria at the end of the 19th Century in the aftermath of war. Featuring a cast both young and young-at-heart (including the casting of a real life mother and daughter), this play used high farce to make serious social statements about war, social structure, and romantic relationships – with a script heavily laden with the witticisms of George Bernard Shaw. The camaraderie of the cast and crew spilled over into what the audience had the pleasure of witnessing, and while the play wasn’t a money-spinner in the league of Steel Magnolias, it made a respectable profit: Not that we do this for money anyway.
As well as our season of plays last year, we also held a Last of the Golden Weather club night in the Rose Centre’s foyer and theatre on Friday March 22nd – during which people wore a touch of gold, shared food and drink, and enjoyed a short performance by Julie Collis before she departed our shores for Hollywood. We also held public play readings of two of the plays that are now part of Company Theatre’s 2020 season – Peninsula and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. On top of this, we were also heavily involved with a play reading of Roger Halls’ Book Ends which was a successful ticketed event at Devonport’s Victoria Theatre.
With a successful 2019 to look back upon – which ended with Company Theatre’s 2020 season of plays being announced – we can look forward to another great year. We thank you for your continued support, and look forward to pleasing you with what’s on the horizon.
We began 2018 with the production of POPCORN – Directed by Suzy Sampson – a first time director with Company Theatre. Some of our supporters questioned the content of this Ben Elton play with comments such as “it’s not the sort of play we normally see from Company”, but after consideration and discussion we decided we wanted to be a theatre company who was prepared to step outside its “norm”. We were very proud of the wonderful production that evolved and the huge amount of support that this production received by a large number of patrons, from near and far. A modern Hollywood style set with silver couch and silver spiral staircase wowed the audiences. The play was cast brilliantly by Suzy who even made a guest appearance in nothing but her underwear.
Next production was THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST – Directed and Designed by Anne Rimmer. With this play there were two short intervals which gave the crew the opportunity to completely change the cleverly designed set with a focal point being a large round seat. Beautiful soft furnishings, plants and exceptional colour-coordination created a delightful visual surprise for the audience, for each of the 3 acts. Again a wonderful cast chosen by Anne who were all adorned with spectacular costumes (some hand-made) by Cathie Sandy and her team of helpers.
Our final production for the year was LAST LEGS – Directed and Designed by Sian Davis. A unique set was designed by Sian which included a fabulous bridge over a stream. Sian added her flare with the paintbrush creating the back-drop and many of the set pieces. Writer Roger Hall attended the Gala night and complimented each of the 7 cast for their fabulous interpretations of the characters in the play. Once again we were treated with the talents of an exceptional and lively cast. They all managed the very quick scene and costume changes with some help from the backstage crew. I think the wine on set may have also helped.
For the first time, (at the request of two of our three directors) we entered Popcorn and TIOBE into the Auckland Community Theatre Trust Awards. We have received numerous nominations and across all categories. The annual awards night will be held on the 16th March. Many of the nominees and representative of Company theatre will be attending. Good luck to you all. If anyone is interested at all, please refer to the ACTT website - www.actt.co.nz.awards
This year was a particularly good year financially for Company Theatre, with all 3 plays making a profit. As a Committee, we discuss the best ways to utilise these profits and without any hesitation, our first recommendation is always of how we can assist with the upkeep of the Rose Centre.
This year we have talked about membership and discussed the benefits that our members receive. This discussion will continue as we move into 2019.
We will continue to use iTicket and whilst it may not suit everybody, iTicket does give us a far broader reach with marketing and patronage. We also introduced an early-bird special for the first Saturday night of the show season and this has proved to be very successful.
We held a few play readings this year – two in the Club Room, and two were private invites to Kathy’s house.
· February - War Stories by James Carrick.
· July – Ladies Downunder by Amanda Whittington
· September - Steel Magnolias –by Robert Harling
· December (and combined with our end-of-year get-together) Stones in his Pockets –by Marie Jones (selected for 2019 season – April)
I would like to thank both John Davies – the Manager of the Rose Centre and Jesse, the Rose Centre Office Assistant, for their continued support during the year.
I would also like to acknowledge and thank Ruth Chapman for her many years of service to Company Theatre as she left our committee during this year. From Director, Production Manager, Stage Manager, Costumes, Props – she has done it all and with such grace. In addition she has also represented Company Theatre on the Rose Centre Board. Thank you Ruth – you have been wonderful
We were joined by Sofia in 2018 and it was lovely to have some “youth” on the Committee, someone to bring some fresh ideas to the fore. Sofia has accepted an offer to study at Toi – the NZ Drama School in Wellington, which she is thrilled about. We wish her every success in her studies there.
Our 2018 Committee consisted of Sherry, Kathy, Alastair, Stephen, Sofia and me. The six of us have worked very hard this year, drawing on each other’s strengths to ensure that we continue to produce community theatre productions, of a very high standard. We have certainly achieved that this year, as well as providing opportunities for new directors, actors and backstage crew. I appreciate that it is not easy at times to find a life balance with so few of us on board however we should feel proud of what we achieved in 2018 and of how we have enhanced the lives of others. I have decided to stand down as President. Thank you for the opportunity to do so. It has been an honour to be your President.
We kicked off 2017 with the production of Weed – Directed by Mark Jensen – First time Director. However we were very lucky to be given the “go-ahead” to run this play as you may remember that the Rose Centre was undergoing some major works including the re-cladding of the centre and other remedial works – mainly in the foyer area.
We continued on with rehearsals and the set-building and even sent out invitations to the Gala Night – this being on Saturday 26th March, in the hope that we would be granted the all-important “Certificate of Public Use” by the Council. We looked at alternative venues but none measured up to our home base – The Rose Centre. We had to make a decision that if we were not granted the CPU by the 22nd March, we would have to cancel the show. With just a few days to spare we were granted the CPU on the 20th March. WHEW!! However we still had to work-around a building site as there was no access through the front door and the foyer was unusable. Access to the theatre was up a ramp through the fire exit which led straight into the auditorium. The Box Office and Bar were relocated and FOH were trained with the new H&S procedures including dealing with latecomers.
Gala Night went off without a hitch and audiences thoroughly enjoyed this Kiwi Production set on a Northland Farm in the 90’s.The set and props were an eclectic collection of pieces donated by the Committee and Supporters. The “marijuana” was grown and dried by me – many people querying if it was the “real” stuff. Happy that my “lemon balm” herb plant was perfect!!!!
Next production was Ladies Day directed by Kathy Gent (who has directed more plays here at CT than anyone else). Once again Kathy got together a fabulous cast and entertained us with an evening full of laughs. Special mention to Fred Gould who made 120 fillets of fish for the fish factory workers. Many of the patrons commented on how realistic-looking they were. It was for this show that we trialled the use of iTicket and EFTPOS machine and although not suiting all patrons, it was a success. The advertising associated with the use of iTicket brought audiences from the wider Auckland region.
We invited Kate Birch to direct Deathtrap in our November slot, which she accepted. Once again we had someone directing for the first-time. With a small cast of 5, Kate brought us this intriguing, humorous and cryptic play – one which kept us guessing right till the end. The set was fantastic and was designed and built by Ian Birch (and a team of supporters).
To assist with the general lack of space in the Rose Centre, we had a working bee on Sunday 21st May and gave the “Green Room” a thorough clean out. Thank you to our hard-working Committee and Supporters. Challen (the Manager of the Rose Centre at that time) was thrilled with the result. Our biggest purchase this year was 2 large custom-made large cupboards for the Company Room to give us more storage.
The wardrobe team continue to work through the wardrobe area, culling, sorting and re-labelling all the costumes. This is a mammoth task in a very confined area but we have made good inroads.
Company Theatre was invited to contribute to a night to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Rose Centre. This was held on Friday 27th October. In our allocated 10-minute slot, I talked about Company Theatre being formed in 1980 and then becoming resident Theatre Group in 1992, the year the Rose Centre opened. In those 25 years we have produced over 80 plays. Each one being represented by a poster in the foyer and in more recent years, in this Company Room, which was opened in 2014. James Carrick performed a comedy excerpt from the play “One Man Two Guvnors”.
We held our annual Xmas party on Sunday 3rd December. Despite a smaller turn-out this year we had a lot of fun dressing up and playing a Xmas game as well as enjoying some lovely food and wine.
Company Theatre continues to be supported by our wonderful members and volunteers. Without you all, we certainly would not be able to produce the quality and indeed the quantity of plays that we produce year on year. A special thank-you to the Rose Centre Patron Paddy Stafford-Bush who does so much work behind the scenes for the Rose Centre. The Rose Centre is continually being upgraded, and these new facilities benefit Company Theatre. Paddy’s work in our Community has been recognised with receiving the Queens Service Medal, in the 2018 Honours List.
Thank you to Raewyn Nevin and the Rose Centre Management Committee.
Thank you to John Davies – the new Rose Centre Manager and Assistant Jesse Leonard. We certainly appreciate your enthusiastic and supportive contribution to the Rose Centre
We finished the 2016 year with just 5 Committee members: Sherry, Kathy, Alastair, Ruth and me. So we were delighted to welcome 4 new members at our 2017 AGM last year. They were Suzy Sampson, Katie Vincent, Stephen Hood and James Carrick. What a busy year it has been for us all and we have all been involved in every production, whether on or off the stage.
Thank you to our hard-working, passionate and diverse Committee. It has been a pleasure to be your President this year.Thank you.
We began with When Dad Married Fury, directed by Max Golding. It was good to have Max directing for Company Theatre after many years associated with us as an actor and active member. He was assisted by his wife Sue, who also has a long association with Company Theatre and The Rose Centre as well. Our audiences loved this production and it was well attended. We’ve presented quite a few David Williamson plays over the years, and his ability to touch on themes of our times, along with a local Aussie/Kiwi feel, has been popular. Congratulations to Max for choosing it - and to the cast and crew who made it happen.
Our second play was ALL MY SONS by Arthur Miller directed by Sian Davis. (First - our wishes to Sian as she recovers from surgery. We wish her a speedy recovery and hope she is back directing soon.)
During ALL MY SONS we received several emails on the quality of this production. When first discussed there was a tiny bit of doubt as to whether we could pull it off. It needed a top-class group of actors to bring to life this classic drama – and wow, Sian found them. Thank goodness for directors’ little black books - as open auditions do not always turn up what’s needed these days. (It’s a story that is heard around many Auckland amateur theatre societies) . Our policy at Company Theatre is an open audition platform, but this year’s directors have had to dig deep to find the cast they needed. At the end of ALL MY SONS you could hear a pin drop - during the last emotional scenes. This is one of the world’s top plays and we were proud to have this classic in our repertoire. Congratulations to the cast and crew, and especially to Sian who believed in it.
Our final play was One Man Two Guvnors that also needs superlatives. A cast and crew of almost 40 people, and hats off once again, to Kathy Gent, our resident, regular director for co ordinating such a challenging production. There was a lively, vibe from the beginning of rehearsals as all those involved thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The band playing before the show, really set the scene. Such talented musicians. Congratulations again to Kathy, for sourcing them – it was no easy task! The Rose Centre was rocking and rolling and it was the perfect ending to a successful year.
In my last AGM report, I’ve made a mention of key Company BACKSTAGE volunteers who have made a difference to our productions during the year. It’s a pleasure and no surprise that some of the names are consistent year after year. I would like to record once more, the contribution of Fred and Doreen Gould, Scott Thomas, Sam Mence, Stephen Hood, Cathie Sandy, Tony Sandy, Barbara Farron, Anne Rimmer, Gail Carran, and Caroline Parker – mostly known as the “old gang”! But we also have Kay Williams, Kate and Ian Birch and Lesley Hawkey who have now completed several years with consistent input…and I’d also like to mention those who magically reappear when needed…Sheila Stevens, Nadine Hayden, Penny Clark and Ron Reichs.
Some special thanks as usual to Paddy Stafford-Bush for her support to Company in the wider community, and the behind scenes work she does as the Patron of The Rose to get us the best facility we possibly can.
Thank you to Raewyn Nevin and The Rose Centre Management Committee and especially Manager Kath Hair who sadly is leaving us this year. We will miss her most generous and enthusiastic contribution to Company Theatre.
And now to the 2016 Committee. This year, like 2015, we started bigger and lost some along the way, and co-opted others. Ian and Kate Birch resigned in May and were very much missed – but are still very much part of Company Theatre in other ways than committee. In June, we fare welled Steven Arnold as Treasurer.
To fill these vacancies, we co-opted Ruth Flynn to the role of Treasurer and I would like to thank her very much for filling the role until this AGM. We also co-opted Kay Williams, who I have already mentioned above, but now thank for her contribution to the committee of 2016. (And also for her excellent, improvisation workshops. We hope there might be more in 2017.)
To the rest of the hard-working committee, - Linda Camplin, Kathy Gent, Alastair Fletcher and Ruth Chapman I thank you all for your support and contributions. You have all been involved in every production this year. But thank goodness for the wonderful member support we get outside of committee as well. We are lucky that there are many people offering to help when called on.
So, dear friends of Company Theatre. As I say each year, - we are all just volunteers looking to enjoy a passion. Be kind and supportive of each other as far as you can. It has been a pleasure to be your President this last year. Onwards and upwards for this great theatrical society.
The year 2015 began with Peace Plays, directed by Steven Arnold. This was a special inclusion for our 2015 programme after other options didn’t eventuate and Steven volunteered to put a production concept together. Committee agreed that the two plays – Hautu and Charlie Bloom - were especially appropriate in the year 2015, marking 100 years since Gallipoli. The subject of war and peace was on people’s minds and in the media. Peace Plays was also an opportunity to present the premiere of two New Zealand plays and we look to support New Zealand authors wherever we can.
During the rehearsal period there was close cooperation with the author Kathleen Gallagher, the director, and the cast, resulting in changes and development of the script. On opening night, the author flew up from Christchurch and was warmly welcomed with a both a Pakeha and a Maori greeting, and the usual wonderful buzz around an opening night. There was much positive feedback, especially on the direction and quality of the acting. Company as usual, produced an excellent production.
As an extra option, and to discuss some of the emotional and confronting themes, Steven proposed that each night the audience would be invited to stay back after the performance for a question and answer session with the cast. One evening a former prisoner from Hautu attended the performance. Steven also organised a striking display of paintings in the foyer, and a table of books that complemented the content of the plays.
With very low bookings, we decided for the first time in Company history, to cancel a couple of nights. The cast and crew were understanding and adaptable. Their belief in this production was very evident. They gave many, extra hours of their time to film it for the author’s private use. A copy of the film has been donated to Company Theatre archives. Congratulations to Steven, the actors and to all involved.
Our second production was Hay Fever, directed by Julian Harrison. This was Julian’s first production for Company. We made a decision on committee in 2014 to actively seek new directors for the society to broaden our catchment, and were delighted when Julian agreed to “come over the bridge” and direct for us.
Julian is an experienced and popular director in South Auckland, who also teaches drama classes. Many commented that they thoroughly enjoyed his enthusiasm, fresh, direct approach and clear vision. Hay Fever, a light hearted comedy, by a well-known author, appealed to a broad range of theatre goers. The story of the self centred, self-obsessed Bliss family and their unusual guests was entertainment for a mid-winter’s evening.
Thank you to Julian, to the cast and crew and a special thanks to the eye of Cathie Sandy who added extra class and distinction to the overall look of the show.
Our final show for the year, Don’t Dress for Dinner, directed by Elena Stejco – also brought a new director. Elena’s theatre background is international, having worked professionally in film, television and stage for over 25 years. Elena, also a drama teacher, presented a workshop on The Chekhov Acting Technique for us in July that received excellent feedback.
In Don’t Dress for Dinner Elena extended the comedy elements with the addition of dance and music. This play was originally a French farce, that was translated into English, and Elena gave it a touch of Russian style, and transferred it to a farm house in the Waikato – and it all worked extremely well! The audiences loved it and it was our highest grossing production of the year.
I would like to record the names of our backstage helpers for 2015 who are EXTRA to the committee. Some of these names appear regularly in our reports.
For properties, Fred and Doreen Gould, for lighting, Scott Thomas, Sam Mence and Stephen Hood, for Stage Managing, Liz Gill, Jan Judson, and newcomers Michelle Smith and Kay Williams. For set construction Phil Davis, Nigel Adler, and Russell Simpson. For costumes Cathie Sandy (who was still as valuable for Company in 2015 as she was in 1986 or thereabouts). There was regular show-night help from Barbara Farron. Caroline Parker and Tony Sandy are still our Number 1 team for set painting and Lesley Hawkey has now completed her second year for FOH Manager assistance.
A special thanks to Paddy Stafford-Bush for her continual support of Company Theatre in the wider community and at our galas and fundraising evenings. And thank you to The Rose Centre Management Committee and especially Kath Hair who does so much to help the smooth running of our productions in The Rose.
And now to acknowledge the 2015 Committee – we started with 9 members, and then Ruth Flynn was co-opted in April to bring us to our full quota of 10. Like any group, we are diverse, but we all have in common a passion for theatre.
This year, we decided to give everybody a specific “role” and “title” – in addition to helping on the productions wherever they could. We also formed separate working groups as there is often too much to get through in a monthly committee meeting.
An important area is publicity. This team is Ruth Flynn, Ian and Kate Birch (the leader), myself and Kathy Gent. With the help of the new people, we have upgraded our newsletter, upgraded our mail outs, increased our presence in social media and undertaken audience surveys.
Another working group, led by Kathy Gent, is responsible for selecting future production choices. These choices have to be ratified by a full committee, before going ahead. A special thank you to Kathy, who can’t be here tonight, for all that she contributes in this and many other areas of the society.
Thank you to Linda Camplin, who is our Minute Secretary, but has the extra title of “Props Support”, which means she is there for Fred and Doreen, as one day, in the far future, they say they might want to retire! Linda has also stage managed this past year.
Steven Arnold’s extra is to be our treasurer and this main role takes a lot of time, but is getting easier with our accounts now running on Xero.
Ruth Chapman’s extra is “Wardrobe Support” and she really does try to sort it into some kind of order from time to time! Ruth and Steven are also Company’s representatives on The Rose Centre Board, which means an extra meeting for them to attend as well.
Alastair is our “Bar Man and Tool Man” because apart from locking up the bar supplies, he has to keep the Tool Cupboard under lock and key so they don’t wander either!
Ian is also “Set Construction Manager” which involves much extra work for our sets.
And Graeme is “Environmental Manager” especially useful after set pack outs when things are discarded out the back door and need removing.
All in all we have some fun times amidst all the meetings and sometimes lengthy discussions. My philosophy is to try and be understanding of each other, and to remember we are just volunteers looking to enjoy a passion. It does take many hours of work to achieve our great productions together. We have a lot to be proud of and to maintain.
It has been a pleasure to be your President this last year. I try to keep records of our history, and these Annual reports, if perhaps a bit lengthy at times - play their part! Congratulations and onwards to 2016.
The year began with An Ideal Husband, directed Steven Arnold. This was Steven’s first production for Company Theatre and since then he has become very much part of the society, joining the committee, and taking on the role of Treasurer.
This production was a real crowd pleaser, with full houses.
As a bonus for our audience, Steven organised a foyer display, with some of the outstanding quotes from the show, side by side with present day newspaper articles to show that in some areas, society has changed little over the last 100 years, since Oscar Wilde wrote this classic.
The set for An Ideal Husband was much commented on.
The crew created stylized elements that floated above the stage, eg a hanging window frame, a revolving doorway, and a flowing material that symbolized a column - created and sewn by Anne Rimmer and lit by Sam Mence. The contrasting checkerboard floor was created and painted by Caroline Parker & Tony Sandy. Thank you to our overseer of Company set builds – Phil Davis. Another highlight were the period costumes created by Cathie Sandy, with sewing help from Gail Carran and Mary Gardner. Congratulations to all involved, to the actors who brought the words to life, and to the very busy Front of House and Bar teams. What a great way to start 2014.
Our middle show was A Shortcut to Happiness, directed by one of our regular directors, Sian Davis. This was a warm and funny NZ comedy. Roger Hall cleverly chose a rather unusual place - a Russian Dance Group, which allowed a variety of colourful characters to take to the stage, and entertain us. This production was close to a sell-out for Company and our audiences loved it.
Thank you to the small production team for this one, including once again, the invaluable help of Phil Davis, Tony Sandy, Fred and Doreen Gould, and Lynne Davis, together with all the members of the committee who contributed as well. Special mention to Kath Hair who put many hours in training a new lighting designer Bridget Fogarty and a new Lighting operator Stephen Hood.
I’d like at this point to say how wonderful Kath Hair has been in the new position of Manager of the Rose Centre. Shortcut was her first show with us after the departure of Richard Parmee. She certainly helps with the smooth running of our shows at The Rose.
Our third show for 2014 was More Fawlty Towers - with MORE episodes from this hilarious T.V. show and directed again by Kathy Gent. A cast of 23 and a production crew numbering almost as many and with the end result speaking for itself …full houses and happy punters.
Two key contributors for this production were Phil Davis and Fred and Doreen Gould. Not only did Phil manage the overall construction of this multi-level set, but he also Stage Managed every night as well, while Fred and Doreen gave so many hours of voluntary help that the show almost finished Doreen off- she said! Congratulations to Scott Thomas, Stephen Hood, Nadine Hayden and team, Peter Collis, to the members of the committee who played their part and of course to our wonderful actors. It takes a commitment from many people to bring such a huge show together.
Improvements during 2014
The Company Room was officially opened on December 7th 2014. Finally! Three cheers! Paddy and Brian Stafford Bush cut the ribbon, and there were invited guests, from Company Theatre’s past, as well as the cast and crews of 2014. It was my pleasure to welcome everyone, followed by a speech on the origins of Company Theatre at The Rose, by Peter Segrove, who wrote the first letter to Council. We then enjoyed memories from Paddy Stafford-Bush and the story behind her generous donation towards the Company Room.
Membership - On the people/members side of Company, the idea of FREE Membership, voted at the previous AGM, seems to be working and those interested in an active role in Company, are encouraged to sign up through our website. We also have an alternative sign up list on the website, known as the EMAIL LIST, for those who just wish to receive our newsletter and advance notice of our productions. This is at a healthy 692 subscribers.
Company Theatre continues to do well with the commitment of a hard core of dedicated individuals, who are all getting just a little bit older now! However the future is bright! The committee is pleased that in the year ahead we welcome two new directors to support the core. The 2015 programme is very exciting with 3 different genre productions to look forward to.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the hard working Committee - Kathy Gent, Steven Arnold, Linda Camplin, Ruth Chapman, Alastair Fletcher and Graeme Webber.
Thank you to all the Company Members. I feel that 2014 has been a rewarding year for Company and for all who participated.
2013 began with Calendar Girls, directed by Kathy Gent.
This show had the most audience attendance for a Company Show, on record, with around 2,170 people through the doors. We did schedule several extra performances that other shows don’t have, which obviously helped account for the larger numbers, but this show was an outstanding success on all levels.
We are proud of the fact that all of our Company shows help raise money for Rotary Soroptomists and Probus Societies, to name our regular - but Calendar Girls also significantly helped the North Shore Hospice, who wrote to us - "We are delighted to inform you that thanks to the generous support of the Calendar Girls production we were able to raise a total of $7,680 for Hospice." This money came from - the proceeds of one Company donated, sell out, performance; the profit from our own photographed and produced Calendar Girls 2014 Calendar; an extra fundraiser through cast member Ann Baxter, and from the donations collected by volunteer Hospice supporters who rattled their tins and circulated the foyer each evening before a show.
Well done to all the actors, production crews, and the busy Front of House teams.
Our middle show was It’s Just Sex by Jeff Gould, directed by Richard Parmee. We didn’t know then, that it would be his final show with us! The script and its title, was a bit of a gamble and we weren’t sure how it would be received. It told a story more about the communication issues that couples face, than the “It’s just Sex” of the title, and we had very positive feedback, and one email read: “!....was very impressed with a wonderful production - excellent casting, great staging and brilliant delivery. My first visit to Company Theatre and if that is the standard delivered it will certainly not be my last.”
Well done to Richard Parmee and all the cast and crew involved.
Our third show was an Irish play, Little Gem, directed by Des Smith. Again, a bit of a gamble as although it received accolades from 2011 productions in Edinburgh, Dublin and New York, we knew our audiences would possibly be small. We were hopeful the Irish in Auckland would fill the seats, but unfortunately they didn’t all find their way to Belmont, even with the temptation of Guinness on the bar, and live Irish music to welcome them. The audience that came was enthusiastic. One email said “…The individual actors were so well cast and did a great job bringing their characters to life. By the end of the show I felt like I knew them well…and they had me laughing and in tears. “ This was the most frequent comment on the professionalism of the small cast of three women, who had a challenging play format, in alternating monologues. This show worked because of a superb cast, and a passionate vision from the Director. Well done to Des Smith and the cast and crew involved.
Improvements during 2013
The Mezzanine development, known as The Company Room is ready for the final signing off by council. It is OPEN TO VIEW after this AGM. In summary, the total cost, is close to $300,000. Company Theatre rather amazingly, provided over a third, ie over $100,000, from our accumulated funds. $168,000 came from funding applications to the Council, and various trusts. Thank you to Richard Parmee, who, as Rose Centre Manager, completed many of those forms. And I would like to acknowledge two special individual donations. Thank you to Genevieve and Brian Becroft, who donated $6,000 from the Becroft Foundation, towards carpeting, and to Paddy Stafford-Bush for her generous donation of $25,000 that has gone towards the overall completion of the project. There will be an official opening and celebration of our own Company Theatre Rehearsal Room some 22 years after it was first promised in the original building in 1992.
On the people side of Company, we have added to our base of volunteers for Front of House. This was a priority I set in my last AGM report. The new “Meet, Greet, Have a Wine and watch the Final Dress Rehearsal” for our volunteers, has been well received.
The new wardrobe area under the auditorium is progressing, with the sorting (and discarding) of costumes by our fabulous Cathie Sandy, wardrobe Mistress, and her band of helpers. The new properties cupboard is in the capable sorting hands of Fred and Doreen Gould. Special mention to Phil Davis, for another year of voluntary hours for Company Theatre on set construction, and to Scott Thomas – not just for lighting design for every show in 2013, but the extra effort in training any new young lighting operators we can find eg Sean Miller, for Little Gem. Training takes time and patience but is so important. To all the Company volunteers, well done on a successful year.
The small Committee has worked very hard this year. Thank you to our Vice President, Kathy Gent, Treasurer, Richard Parmee, Secretary Ruth Chapman and committee members Alastair Fletcher, Graeme Webber and the welcome new addition co-opted during the year, Steven Arnold.
As you all know, this is Richard Parmee’s final Company AGM as treasurer.
There will be a few stories and acknowledgements to Richard after this meeting.
For Company’s records– I would like to note a huge thank you to Richard on behalf of the many people he has worked, acted and directed with, over the past 20 years. Richard brought amazing energy, enthusiasm, commitment and reliability to Company Theatre. He has helped mature us into the fantastic Theatre group we are today. He is a talented actor, a respected director, a past President, a treasurer, and was competent in all areas of back stage. We will miss you but wish you well in your next stage of life because as the saying goes, nothing stands still. Thank you all.
2012 was an unusual year in that for the first time in our history, we were only able to produce two shows. The middle production Ding Dong had to be cancelled at the very last minute, due to the withdrawal of the leading man, after a potentially serious arm accident, the week before Pack In. As it happened to be my own production, I know there was a huge amount of disappointment - but on the bright side, from a Company Theatre viewpoint, we made more money from the two productions this last year, than we did from the three shows the previous year!
So for 2012 – thank you to directors, Kathy Gent and Sian Davis for Fawlty Towers in March, and The Mousetrap in November. We will long remember these two productions.
Both of them were popular for different reasons and thus offered a good contrast in styles for our patrons. We enjoyed the antics of Basil Fawlty and Manuel but also the antics of Mr Paravicini and Mr Christophe Wren– to name just a few. Overall the acting in both was superb, the characters so well depicted, and the sets….I think we truly excelled even our own high expectations with the fantastic two level set for Fawlty, and the wonderful atmospheric grey toned manor house recreated for The Mousetrap. From design, to costumes, to set construction to lighting and sound – in all areas, these two productions were First Class. I can’t remember receiving so many emails and phone calls from happy patrons wanting to pass on their thanks to Company Theatre for a great night out. Congratulations to the cast, the crews and the FOH helpers for the successes of 2012.
Improvements during 2012
Over this last year we have further enhanced our facilities:
1. Firstly with the development of an extra storage area under the auditorium. This is to be primarily for wardrobe - with a very small section for properties. Over the coming months we will begin the move from storage at the Barracks to this new area.
2. Secondly, we have sourced more funding to continue the Mezzanine development and it is almost complete! Thank you to The Rose Centre Board for their help in this area. The final stage will go ahead around the middle of the year giving. Finding space to rehearse will be a thing of the past! This deserves an opening ceremony celebration later in the year.
3. Thirdly, our website is increasingly a useful and time saving application for the running of the society. Our newsletter is now more easily prepared and distributed through it, with a new professional looking format, and no postage costs! Anyone interested in what’s happening at Company Theatre, the website is now the best first, free and open step. We have nearly 600 subscribers - who receive an email alert when a new production is about to open. In view of the internet era committee feels it is time to update our Membership description that hasn’t changed for about 10 years. A new motion will be presented to this AGM meeting.
In November this year we celebrated 20 years at The Rose Centre. Champagne and a wonderful big chocolate cake were enjoyed by invited guests, followed by the opening night of The Mousetrap. We looked back, to November 1992, our first production in The Rose of Habeas Corpus and it was great to see some of the people from that first production still involved with Company after 20 years!
Overall Company Theatre is in a good financial position for the year ahead with another exciting and varied line up for 2013. The Committee continues to be very careful in play selection. This is a time consuming job each year. We are conscious of trying to involve new people, as this is essential for our growth, whilst also relying on some of the same experienced Company Directors.
We continue to have an excellent base of people dedicated to the contribution they make. Attention to detail at all levels is one of the reasons for our success. If there is one area to improve on this year, it is to grow the support base for our FOH. We need many helpers for each performance and need to make sure that participation is enjoyable and rewarding for those volunteering their time.
Thank you to the small committee of 2012. We started with ten committee members.
Early on in the year Lynne Davis, Phil Davis, Sheila Copus and Linda Camplin all resigned for different personal reasons but on the whole, the remaining six have worked well together. They were our Vice President, Kathy Gent, our new Secretary Ruth Chapman, our Treasurer, Richard Parmee, and committee members Alistair Fletcher and Graeme Webber.
Overall I believe we can be proud of our productions and the high standing we have in the local community. Our shows are valued not just by our members who participate in them, and the happy patrons who see them, but by many Service and Fundraising groups like Probus and Rotary and Lions, who look with anticipation for our next production - confident it will be worth a visit for themselves - and their group. In this way Company has helped raise hundreds of dollars for the local community in the last year and we are planning to continue this in 2013. Our first production for the year, Calendar Girls will have a performance with all funds to the North Shore Hospice.
I wish you all good times with COMPANY for the coming year ahead.
Sherry Ede (President 2012)
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