Well what a year we have had up to now.
The theatre suffered a major blow in April of this year when a part of the ceiling collapsed in the auditorium, just over the stage.
After a visit from a structural engineer it was decided to take down the ceiling in its entirety in the interest of safety in case any other part of the ceiling was suspect.
Add to that the fact that asbestos was found in the area and had to be removed by a specialist company, we had to cancel all activity in the theatre for five weeks, the cost of scaffolding was over £10000 and you can imagine the sleepless nights we all suffered as the final total was in excess of £25k
Incredibly, because the staff and volunteers worked so hard and on occasions, when needed, throughout the night too, the Theatre was back and running within 5 weeks.
The loss of five weeks would have been more serious if we did not have the co-operation of the artists and groups that re-arranged their performance dates and the customers who moved their bookings to future dates.
The rest of the year has been so successful as the number of shows has been increased from last year and that has meant that the add on sales have increased accordingly. This includes bar sales, ice cream, raffles and bucket collections for future ceiling repairs.
We have been fortunate to have been awarded a couple of grants recently one from the Masonic movement for defibrillators for the Theatre and the performing arts centre and also a grant from the Suez communities Trust for funds to renovate and repaint the outside of both Theatre buildings.
Pantomime early bookings for this year’s production of Sinbad are well above average and again indications are that we will have another record year for the sales figure and the audience numbers.
The sad news that I have just been given as I write this piece is that one of our old stalwarts of the Theatre had passed away yesterday.
Jean Mellilieu the Honorary President of the Theatre was in her nineties and had been ill for some time. She was a lovely lady who served us well and will be sadly missed.
It just leaves me to say thank you everyone for making the year successful and for building the reputation and image of this unique community theatre to even greater heights.
It is my privilege to be able to thank you and wish you a great Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.