Dear friends, members, supporters and all Masqueteers!
Welcome to our Annual General meeting and the first since our wonderful show last summer: All At Sea!
One year ago, we had just taken the momentous decision to postpone our show to continue fundraising. There was no warm summer glow after a show to reflect on. This year, I am so proud to feel that warm glow of having staged a magnificent outdoor production for over 1,000 paying customers!
The past year has been essentially characterised by what I would call ‘beating the odds’.
Our fundraising certainly beat all the odds! With the herculean efforts of a dedicated and innovative organising committee we went into this year’s shows with a healthy fundraised total of £30,000. What an amazing effort! This reminds us that the love, esteem and high regard in the community for what we do, is as strong as ever. Yet, without the tireless efforts of our committee in chasing grant applications, creating fun participative community events and also just getting stuff done, we would be nowhere. My sincerest thanks for your commitment, perseverance and incredible power as a team during the past year.
We also beat the council in 2017! With just 10 days to curtain up and at a time we could well do without any distractions, the council decided that we needed a full children’s performance license. This meant we needed each of the 22 strong children’s cast to produce a signed parental permission form to be in our play, with a copy of each child’s passport. Furthermore, we needed 2 licensed chaperones per performance whose DBS checks could be certified as less than 3 years old. Thanks to an incredible community effort and after many intense hours of work from a number of our supporters, we made it and duly received our children’s license from our beloved council. I salute them for their correctness.
In the increasingly important digital world we also beat all of our previous records for engagement and interaction. Our website had over 4,000 unique visitors in the weeks leading up to our show. In our social media, thousands were engaged with our videos, pictures and informational posts. The latter would become critical near to showtime, as we shall see.
An eager cast, crew and gang of volunteers numbering more than 100, beat the challenges of a complex and massive production to stage one of our most incredible shows yet. The plaudits from the audience still ring in our ears and we will do well to remember them as the memory fades in coming months.
I guess the one thing you could say we failed to beat this year was the weather. Expectations of a warm, sunny glow at Welford soon gave way to initially grey skies and drizzle; then soon to torrential rain, muddy shoes and soggy bottoms!
But…..since we are Boxford Masques… we are never truly beaten. And so the ingenious idea of transporting a massive outdoor production, performers, musicians and staging into a small local church, quite unprepared for large scale musical theatre, became reality. And wasn’t the atmosphere special!
Yes, we began to realise there were very unfortunate compromises on sound quality, performance delivery and well, just space and for that I am eternally sorry. But, in the main, our audience was with us, willing us on and enjoying the very different experience.
We will learn from our trials and we will continue to beat the odds, its’ what we do and what our community expects from us. Our community, our cast & crew and our audience may have been sorely tested this year but they all say we put on a wonderful show.
The spirit of the Masques has shone through in all we have done in the past year. The strength, the commitment and the perseverance of all involved with creating life-affirming community musical theatre remains as strong as ever.
As Oscar Wilde said:
Theatre is the most immediate way a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.
You all embody that. Bring on the next show in 2019!
A great AGM was held on 17th November; massive thanks to all who came. See the pages for our Chairman's report.
17th November 2017: the World Premiere of the DVD of All At Sea! join us at Welford & Wickham primary school at 7.30pm for a fun filled evening. All welcome, refreshments available.