School For Scandal - The Scandal Ends
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Rowena Stinson

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

President’s Report 2017

President’s Report
AGM August 20, 2017

It somehow seems ages since our last AGM at Ashley Clark’s home - much has transpired in our lives since then. And there has been significant activity for ACT as well. In my report I will summarize our achievements over the past 12 months and some proposed considerations for next year. I will also provide my personal perspective re challenges and considerations for the future.

ACT mounted three productions this year. That in itself is an enormous accomplishment. These included:
• In October, Little Shop of Horrors in Florence Simmons Performance Hall, Holland College. This was a delightful musical directed by Peter Krauskopf and produced by Rob Thomson and Grace Kimpinski, with Sharon MacDonald as stage manager.
• In November at The Guild, The Laramie Project - a provocative drama directed by Paul Whelan, produced by Marla Haines; with Wallena Higgins as stage manager.
• In February, The Dining Room at Theatre Carrefour and private homes. Featuring a cast of 6 who played approx. 55 roles, the play was directed by Terry Pratt and produced by Bunty Albert, with Sharon MacDonald as stage manager.

All three productions received critical acclaim from reviewers and audience members alike and involved many ACT newcomers. They featured a wonderful group of actors and capable, dedicated production teams. Many of these people gave up their ‘regular’ lives for several months or, in the case of producers and directors and stage managers, for more than a year. I cannot overstate the dimensions of their collective contribution. And collectively, these three productions netted approximately $11,000 for ACT’s coffers. This enabled us to have a surplus of a bit more than $7000 for our financial year.

In addition, the Community Theatre Festival in March, supported by ACT, was very successful. A special highlight of the afternoon was the presentation of ACT’s Community Theatre Appreciation Award to Sean McQuaid. Kudos to organizers Rob Thomson, Kim Johnston and Kate Martin, all three of whom are willing to do it again in 2018.

At present, the one production that is confirmed for next season is Shop Around the Corner, scheduled for The Guild in November. It will be directed by Marieve MacGregor, produced by Grace Kimpinski, and Gillian Gallivan will be the stage manager.

Now I will identify a number of initiatives and highlights for our year that are not directly related to productions. These are the things of which most people who have never been on the Board are largely unaware, but which are very much part of what ACT is and that ensure the health of our organization.

Beach House
The exterior painting finished, work was done inside with reorganizing the props and costume storage. Pam repainted the back costume room. Garbage sorting and disposal was addressed. There were NO floods (paving in the fall of 2015 has made a huge improvement). Portable shelving was purchased to be stored at the Beach House and will available for use by productions. Recently, Terry very recently purchased a dehumidifier which will improve the dampness issue in the back costume and props rooms. An outstanding issue is the completion of a costume inventory. Much work has already been done (photographing and cataloguing more than 300 costume pieces, preparation of a template for each item, culling of unwanted items) but we have yet to complete the inventory, either in print or electronic form. With a strong and determined arm, Kate Martin kept the knotweed at bay this summer. I would like to give credit and kudos to Kat Nazim, Cyril Armstrong, Pam Jewell, and Kate Martin for their Beach House stewardship throughout the year. A special thanks to Cyril, who will be stepping back from set design and building but who will continue to provide advice for producers and set builders re our set pieces and who has volunteered to do a free workshop to share what he has learned about set design and construction over the years.

Our Producer’s Handbook was completed (with significant contribution by Bunty Albert, Noah Nazim and Rob Thomson) and, in partnership with SoPA, a Producer’s Workshop was held in the Board Room of the Confederation Centre in March that was attended by several prospective producers. Workshop leaders - Rob Thomson, Bunty Albert, Kim Johnston and Brenda Porter - shared their experience as ACT producers. Ellen Carol, workshops coordinator, retired from the Board at the end of December and Kim Johnston ably assumed the role for the remainder of the year. A large amount of preparation was done for a Stage Combat workshop but the required number of participants was not confirmed so it was cancelled. Kim also worked hard to arrange for the Dustin Hoffman acting workshop to be held in the Fall of 2017, again in partnership with SoPA, but a date that works for all has yet to be be confirmed.

Noah Nazim organized four readings for the year - The Dining Room, The Importance of Being Earnest, Rainbow Valley, and a shared event with Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre of excerpts from 8 plays. The Board is considering the purchase of a number of e-readers that could be used for readings, thus eliminating the cost of photocopying for these events.

Adam Gauthier ensured that the ACT Newsletter, Facebook page and website provided information to members and the public of our activities this year.

I would also like to note that vital community partnerships were developed, maintained and strengthened throughout the year - I mention especially The Guild, the Haviland Club and Holland College School of Performing Arts. We also acknowledge and celebrate media support from The Buzz, the Guardian and CBC.

Board Goals for 2016-17
The Board made excellent progress with goals set for the year.
(a) Long term planning: We followed up on a suggestion from last year’s AGM and held a long-term planning session in February to which approximately 20 ACT members were invited. The main recommendations that emerged from the sessions were:
1. for ACT to establish a season of plays that would be advertised as such and for which there would be seasonal sponsorships
2. to find a new ‘home’ which could be a base for meetings, workshops, productions, storage of archives, etc. In that regard, I am delighted to report that we have an agreement with The Guild for 2017-18 that will see 1-2 productions held there, space at The Guild for meetings, workshops and archival storage, and that will actively foster the concept of The Guild being “the home of ACT (a community theatre)”. The agreement is a flexible one and will involve close communication throughout the year to address any issues and further explore possibilities. Thanks to Adam Gauthier and Sharon MacDonald for their able assistance as we shaped our agreement with The Guild.
3. for ACT to be more ‘approachable’ within the community
4. to stage more plays with strong female roles and female directors

Considerable discussion has taken place on how best to implement these suggestions and I anticipate that they will be followed up by the new Board.

(b) Revision of our constitution and bylaws. As you know, this has been completed and will be voted on later today. Commendation for a task well and thoroughly done goes to committee chair Rob Thomson and to committee members Keir Malone, Kat Nazim and Noah Nazim.

(c) Archival Reorganization and Storage. Done. Special thanks to Sharon MacDonald for her tireless work on this project. The records are now organized and housed in large plastic tubs near the furnace in the Beach House. We hope to move them to a storage space at The Guild this fall.

(d) Website Renewal. Kat Nazim spent considerable time analyzing the present site, exploring various possibilities and experimenting with designing a new website. She has created an excellent brainstorming web of necessary components of a new site and has recommended that the Board engage a professional website developer to design the site for us. The existing Board gave tentative approval to this strategy.

(e) Recruitment of Productions Action on this goal will be explained in the Director of Theatre report.

So I am very pleased with the progress that the Board made on our goals for the year.

I am also very proud to report that ACT has continued to “give back’ to the community. We have supported the Fringe festival, PEI Symphony, and the PEI Chapter of Huntington’s Society, and we have loaned costume and set items to non-profit groups.

It has been a very successful year, I think. From my perspective, the two big challenges for next year’s Board and for ACT as a vital and revitalized community organization are:
(1) bringing in people who are willing and able to be involved on an ongoing basis in ACT activities. The people who have for years been mainstays in this regard are not getting any younger - when you examine the list of people who have given their time to key production roles, there is a predominant hair colour. Enough said. In order for ACT to stay vibrant and maintain the ‘infrastructure’ that has ensured its longevity as a respected community theatre, we very much need volunteers who are passionate about the organization and who can donate time, energy and talents to the ongoing work of the Board.
(2) finding ways to broaden our traditional offerings and reach out into the community, thereby ‘freshening’ our image and, hopefully, increasing our audience numbers as well. Suggestions such as dinner theatre and pop-up events have been explored but, to date, noone has expressed the willingness to assume leadership for such a project.

Finally, I have some words of thanks. First, I would like to thank all members of the Board (four of whom were at the table for the first time) for their invaluable contribution during a very busy year - and for their wonderful spirit as we worked together. I especially want to recognize the extent to which Board members made adjustments in their communication style in order for me, as a Hard of Hearing person, to fully participate in the meetings. All of these volunteers deserve our heartfelt appreciation for their contribution. Special thanks and recognition go to departing Board members - Ashley Clark, Adam Gauthier, Kim Johnston, Kate Martin, Gillian Oakley, and Rob Thomson. Collectively they have given more than 30 years to the ACT Board and their contribution has been ever so valuable. Bravo!

In conclusion, as I step down from the presidency and take a back seat on the ACT bus, I want to say that it has been a privilege to work with such a creative team of Board members. Without them, and volunteers like them, ACT would not be celebrating its 22th anniversary. Thank you all.



Posted by BrendaPorter on 08/22 at 03:18 PM
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