OCTOBER 2022 EDITION
NEWSLETTER EDITOR INTRO
I’m really pleased so many more of you seemed to read and enjoy the new version of The GreenRoom, since we’ve moved it to this new format. According to our data 50% more people read the September edition – so that’s worth celebrating!!
As not only the Membership Secretary, but also the Chair of the society I have to ask you all to seriously consider if there is more you can do in helping us run The QMT. Last week we had our first show of the new season and including the cast, crew, technicians, front of house, bar, set building, publicity, 72 people were needed to bring that show to our audiences, yes…72! Now, with such a large cast many of those people will not be needed for every production in a season, in fact less than half of that number was cast, which means the crew, technicians, set builders, front of house and bar doesn’t often change from one production to the next, so as a personal plea I would urge you all to consider offering to help one of the many supporting teams needed to put shows on.
Specifically, right now we are looking for support in the following areas:
- Technical teams – lighting and sound – you can speak to Len Seymour directly on this or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Main House Production Manager – please speak to Rory or email him at email@example.com
- Front of House & Stewards Co-Ordinator – we actually cannot open the theatre for public performance without these roles – just email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bar Staff – please email Emma O’C or Andrew P on email@example.com if you fancy serving a drink or two
- Publicity – no good having a great show if the seats are empty, just email firstname.lastname@example.org to offer you support
Obviously, there are many other areas that need your support and help, but right now the teams or roles above prevent us from operating fully or safely – please, please support your society and your theatre – we cannot do it without you.
Elliott Bunker – Membership Secretary & Newsletter Editor
ARTISTIC DIRECTORS BLOG
I do hope you managed to see David Lester’s fabulous production of The Ferryman last week. It was so good to see all the generations of the Society working together. I understand it was a very happy cast – always something we think is essential – and you could see that energy and togetherness in the performance. What a great start to the season.
One of the functions of The GreenRoom is to let you know about auditions that are coming up and in October we have both Equus (our Main House February production) and Accidental Death of an Anarchist (the January Studio show) casting. It would be great to see you – yes you, dear reader – at either or both sets of auditions. The word ‘amateur’ can be used pejoratively by some dumb clucks – while, in fact, we pay very generously in the currency of fun, excitement and the satisfaction of being in a solidly professional event that underscores every production at the QMT.
By the way – we are about to start the process of putting together the next season of plays which runs from September 2023. Yes, we don’t hang about! If you have any shows you would like to direct or just like to see on the stages of the QMT, get in touch with me or Matt Gray. We’re waiting to hear from you.
The essence of life is movement and change, isn’t it? I say that because each year Big Spirit say farewell to those going off to University and drama school and this always causes a certain amount of emotion, as you can imagine. Amy Woods who left to go off to East 15 (that’s a drama school) recently said affectingly in her farewell chat to the group: ‘it’s like leaving my home, leaving all of you and this theatre’. Bless her. But that’s sort what we’re here for, aren’t we? For all of us to make a drama home here. Being at the QMT is more than just putting on shows, after all.
See you soon!
Rory Reynolds – Artistic Director
EQUUS by Peter Shaffer
Thursday 6th October at 8.00pm –TONIGHT!
**EXTRA DATE ADDED**
9th October 2022 at 12:00 pm
February 27th to March 4th 2023
Tuesdays and Thursdays
One of the most powerful plays of the past 50 years is Peter Shaffer’s masterpiece, Equus. It still creates waves and was a sell out hit with Daniel Radcliffe in the main role on the West End and Broadway stage just 13 years ago.
Its about a quiet boy who has a secret life. One night, without warning, he blinds 6 horses in a stable where he works. Why? The play sets out to uncover the reason for his horrendous act. It’s an ensemble piece par excellence so we are looking for actors who want to work together on this great performance piece.
- Dysart – a psychiatrist. 40+
- Hesther – a magistrate and friend of Dysart
- Alan – a boy aged about 16
- Dora – his mother, very religious
- Frank – his father, outspoken, repressed
- Jill – a girl aged 16-18 years
- Harry Dalton – the stable owner
**EXTRA DATE ADDED – Sunday 9th October at 12noon**
Rory Reynolds – Director
NEWS FROM THE EC
The Executive Committee met again on the 4th October and following the update from Elliott in the last meeting and the EC update in The GreenRoom in September, we’ve amended the agenda of the meetings to focus our conversations around the key priorities for the year ahead.
- Ongoing work led by Mark and supported by Shonali, who is working with our legal team to complete the “15 Things” that Mark outlined at the AGM, which need to get done before we can move to our new charitable status and management structure
- As part of this work the EC will be meeting to discuss the various roles needed across the new structure and will be detailing the responsibilities those roles will have – from this we’ll start to have a clear set of instructions on how we do things and who needs to do it
- Membership – 250 by 2025
- New season recruitment is going well and 121 members have rejoined this season to the new annual membership
- Some cast and crew in shows currently in rehearsal still need to pay subs – Elliott will be chasing those people up
- New member open evening is planned in for Friday 21st October, with advertising due to start this week
- Unfortunately Jaysica had to step down from leading on the Social Media activity due to other work commitments – Elliott is due to meet with Amy Walker
- Elliott is due to speak with Emma Northcott to discuss the Front of House Manager Co-ordinator role
- Matt (as Welfare Officer) will follow up on the grievance procedure in due course. It is proposed that Zara Schafer be a co-welfare officer with Matt. This was agreed.
- It was pointed out that we still need a Health & Safety Officer to replace David H.
- Our 40th year – celebrating 2023
- Claudia and the team have met to discuss the big celebration moments for next year – more news on the details will come very soon
- All productions in 2023 will carry our 40th year logo
- Continued roll-out of our new brand
- The website should be live later in October
- Social media feeds have been updated
- At the next EC we will be discussing all things financial and as part of that we’ll start to discuss how the new brand starts to roll-out across the theatre and in many of our public spaces
- Productions & Society Updates
- Main House – The Ferryman had been a great success with very good backstage support and a brilliant start to the season. Company is in process. Rory was keen to introduce ‘directors’ workshops for adults and would include a professional director. Equus auditions are on track. Two follow spots needed for the Panto and follow spot operators will need to practice.
- Big Spirit – The Big Spirit production of ‘Road’ is cast. There are currently 17 members in the group.
- Juniors –The Monday evening sessions were going forward and it is hoped to do a production in the Studio in March and the Saturday morning group are preparing for the February production of Iphigenia. Eight of the Juniors were involved in The Ferryman and thoroughly enjoyed it. There continues to be a short waiting list of children not yet old enough to join.
- Studio – Double Acts is moving forward. Matt Gray will be asking members interested in directing to get in touch. He has also produced guidelines for use by directors on the required behaviour from all cast and backstage staff during any production. It is suggested that these be incorporated in the directors’ handbook. It was also suggested that members should have a handbook which would include the code of conduct and any such guidelines as well as general information about the theatre and membership.
- Financial – The Ferryman made a profit of £5500 with bar takings of over £2700. There are new cleaners and checks will be made on their regular cleaning days. It was agreed that forecasting costs/spending for Technical, FOH, the new branding etc should be on the next meeting’s agenda.
- Bar – Emma and Andrew would be sending a letter to all bar volunteers that the bar stays open after all performances – all volunteers get a free drink and free seat for a production. All bar rotas are now on rota-central.
- Front of House – Checks would be made concerning FoH volunteers for Yeoman of t he Guar and any other hired in productions.
- Date of next EC meeting: Friday, 11th November at 7 p.m with a focus on Financial Budgeting and Forecasting for the years ahead
Vivien Kerr – Secretary
200 CLUB WINNERS
Just a reminder that it is now very easy to join the 200 Club, via the QMT website – do give it a try. £12 a year which gives you the chance to win up to £25 in our monthly draw or £50 in our June and December draws. All for a wonderful clause.
Congratulations to our September winners.
£25 – Paula Downes
£20 – Richard Millichip
£15 – Roger Newman Turner
£10 – Chris Lane
Paula Downes – 200 Club
p.s. Can I say that my partner, Ian, does the draw and that he is scrupulously honest – and I do have three numbers. Always feel guilty when my number comes out!
(We believe you Paula!)
MORE AUDITION NEWS
ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST
1st November 2022 at 8:00 pm
3rd November 2022 at 8:00 pm
17th – 21st of January 2023 in the Richard Whitmore Studio
Tuesdays and Thursdays
‘Accidental Death of an Anarchist’, a play by Italian playwright Dario Fo, is based loosely on real-life events involving the Italian rail worker and anarchist Giuseppe Pinelli, who died under mysterious circumstances while in police custody in 1969.
The events that led to Pinelli’s death have never been revealed, and Fo’s intention is to depict a fictionalised version of the aftermath, through the actions of a scheming con man known only as the Maniac. In ‘Accidental Death of an Anarchist’ the Maniac infiltrates the police headquarters. Posing as an investigating judge, he tricks the policemen into contradicting themselves and admitting that they are part of a cover-up involving the death of an anarchist. Through this probing, hilarious, and shocking investigation, the Maniac reveals himself to be a hero to the people–and the police department’s worst nightmare.
The play is a political farce, full of slapstick comedy yet poignant moments that leave the audience questioning the rights and wrongs of those who lead us.
The cast involved in this show will have fun exploring the play’s characters through the traditions of the commedia dell’arte (comedy based on stock characters and stereotypes), but apart from the Maniac, the characters are inspired by real people and the script has its origins in authentic documents – and complete transcripts carried out by the various judges and police reports.
Although originally written for a predominantly male cast, I am not looking for specific genders for any of the characters. All cast members will need to have a good sense of fun, pace and clowning – which will be explored in rehearsals.
- Maniac, physically strong role, aged between 25 and 40 years old – A conman who changes roles and personalities throughout the play to deliver the truth to the audience about the obvious police corruption.
- Bertozzo, any gender aged approximately 30 – 60 – Hard nosed police officer, Appears in the beginning of the play and Act 2, where he/she becomes the butt of many slapstick shenanigans.
- Inspector in the Sports Jacket, any gender aged approximately 30-40 years old– Also known as Inspector Pissani – Chief interrogating officer. Lacks a sense of humour and has a quick temper.
- Superintendent, any gender aged approximately 35 -60 – Highest status Police Officer who has to manage the confusion of the maniac. Oafish and belligerent, and not averse to getting “rough” with suspects.
- The Constable, any gender aged 20 – 30 – A police officer of low ranking. He / She supports superiors but has a clear self-preservation streak when threatened. Present for most of the play but speaks only occasionally. Follows orders immediately!
- Maria Feletti, female character aged between 25 and 40 – Appears in Act 2. Journalist. Composed, abrupt and confident.
Want to know more? – Feel free to drop me an email if you want any more information about the play or the characters
Hannah Conway – Director
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Harry Harding. I have had the pleasure of appearing in four productions here at the QMT. 2015’s Much Ado About Nothing as Dogberry, 2017’s Proof as Hal (in the studio), 2019’s Anne Boleyn as King James, and most recently, 2021’s The Retreat as Tony. However, this year I am directing the first studio production of the season; John Finnemore’s Double Acts.
Double Acts by John Finnemore, writer of Cabin Pressure and star of Miranda, was a series of radio comedies produced for BBC Radio 4. It is an anthology series of two-handers. The first series of six episodes was broadcast in 2015. A second series was broadcast in 2017.
Each episode features only two main speaking parts and is a self-contained play, …although some of them are loosely connected.
In 2015, whilst on tour, a chance conversation in a car about a little radio play involving an unusual burglar was the beginning of a journey that would span a further seven years. This play, was Red Handed, chapter 3 of a radio series called Double Acts.
In 2017, I was finally able to present Red Handed as a live-action studio production for the first time ever, a world premiere. It was a sell-out hit, John Finnemore himself came to see it and gave it his approval. A year later it was revived for the Welwyn Drama Festival and won three awards.
Following its success and with John’s blessing I proposed a new idea; to stage a bigger, bolder, more ambitious production, a double-header featuring Wysinnwyg & Hot Desk (chapters 2 & 6 of the series). I picked these particular two, because both of which had direct connections to Red Handed, and acted as a sort-of prequel and sequel respectively. Double the plays, double the characters, double the fun, in 2018 Double Acts was born and enjoyed another sell-out run.
So that brings us to now, and this time I will be putting on all three plays in a row – Wysinnwyg, Red Handed and Hot Desk, in one big production. Six characters, three stories, all connected and all hilarious.
About the plays…
Play 1 is Wysinnwyg, it’s Kerry’s first day in the Sales Support Department of Willard & Son Bath Suppliers – where she meets her new colleague Joel, and her horrific new boss Adele for the very first time.
Play 2 is Red Handed, Joel comes home unexpectedly early from work one day to find an unusual visitor in the shape of Henry, an older gentleman dressed in a suit…who just happens to be burgling Joel’s house.
Play 3 is Hot Desk, at Willard & Son Bath Suppliers, for a few minutes, twice a day, at precisely seven in the morning and seven in the evening, a receptionist and a security guard meet to swap ownership of a desk…which blossoms into an unusual relationship. Awkward romance at its funniest!
The performance rights to theses plays are not available to the general public and therefore are exclusive to us only. This will be something that our Hitchin audience may have heard, but will unlikely to have seen before…
DICK WHITTINGTON GETS A BIT SAUCY!!
So, rehearsals are well underway of our Christmas Panto, Dick Whittington. However this year things are getting a little saucier that usual!
Tell me more, I hear you say!…
Well, the performance on Thursday 15th December has now been transformed, with a little panto magic, to an ADULTS ONLY evening, which means the creative team have decided to turn up the heat, dial up the innuendo, raise our skirt hems and add a little spice to the proceedings! What does that mean?!? Well, there’s only one way to find out – book your tickets, but don’t bring your kids (unless they’re over 18!)
All the other planned performances, will be traditional family-friendly panto fun, so make sure you book one of those too!
Please remember to look out for the emails from RotaCentral – this system is the one that will alert you when there are opportunities for you to help out with Front of House or Bar duties and earn yourself a FREE ticket!
Once you receive an email it’s really simple, just click on the ORANGE BUTTON and you’ll be taken through to the QMT RotaCentral Webpage, scan through the available dates and productions, then clink on the link next to the job you’d like to do! Simples!! People who have used it already have said they found it really easy to use. If you haven’t got an RotaCentral notification yet, or you need any help, please just email email@example.com
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
6th – 8pm & 9th – 12noon
Extra Audition Date for
12th – 15th – 7.45pm
The Yeomen of the Guard
21st – 7.30pm
MEMBER’S SOCIAL EVENING
The Bar will be OPEN!
25th – 29th – 7.45pm
Double Acts Production
1st & 3rd – 7.45pm
Accidental Death of an Anarchist
16th – 19th – 7.45pm
Big Spirit Production
Road by Jim Cartwright
25th – 7.30pm
MEMBER’S SOCIAL EVENING & EC SURG’Y
Dick Whittington Production Weekend
16th – 17th
Dick Whittington Production Weekend
21st – 7.30pm
QMT CHRISTMAS QUIZ