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February 2020 newsletter

(February 27, 2020)

OMG! It's the AGM!
Yes, it's that time of year again when we gather to reflect on the past year's achievements, plan for the future, elect a new committee, and generally have a bit of a laugh and a cup of tea! This year, we're meeting on Thursday 2 April at 7.00 p.m. at Limitless Academy of Performing Arts in Melbourn Street, largely because the nice folk at Limitless are running a FREE workshop on musical theatre for us immediately after the AGM.

As always, this is your chance to ask questions, make suggestions and express opinions, as well as to vote in the new committee. (Remember that you're only eligible to vote if you're a paid-up member - see next item!). Our current Chair, Emma Daintrey, has announced that she is standing down at the AGM, so we shall be looking for a new Chair (I would say replacement, but I'm not sure that's even possible!). We could also, like all voluntary groups, do with some fresh faces on the committee and would encourage you all to at least think about putting yourselves forward - the committee generally meets once a month and we take it in turns to host the meetings, which begin at 7.30 and - if we don't spend too much time gossiping - end at around 9.30.

Most of the actual work of the committee gets done by the officers (Chair, Secretary, Treasurer) but we do rely on the "ordinary" members for their insight and their opinions on what we're doing, what we plan to do, and even what we should be doing instead! If you can spare a couple of hours every month or so, do please let us know you're interested.

Oh, did I mention that tea and biscuits often feature heavily on the agenda?

Show me the money

It's also the time of year when a strange and hungry look comes into our Treasurer's eyes as he starts to worry about who has paid their subs and who hasn't. Our subscription year runs from March to February, so everyone should now be paying up. To remind you, we have two types of membership. Full membership is £15 for the year (£10 concessions) and this entitles you to a free ticket for any one performance of each show we put on during that year (if you're actually in the show, you can transfer your freebie to a family member or friend); it also entitles you to vote at the AGM should you wish to and should the occasion arise. There is alternatively a one-off "participation fee" of £5 which anyone involved in a show is expected to pay. That doesn't entitle you to any of the perks mentioned above but it does ensure that you're covered under the terms of our insurance policy.

You can pay your subs by card online by using the "Donate" button on the home page of our website, quoting the reference "Membership", or by bank transfer - the account name is CADS, the sort code is 40-39-22, and the account number is 91389149. Any problems or queries, please get in touch with [email protected]. Thank you.

All change?

One of the items we hope to discuss at the AGM is next year's pantomime and we've had several suggestions about how we might change things around to make the most of the fact that our matinees very often sell out (as, indeed, they did this year). We're considering three models of how we might increase the number of matinees so that more boys and girls can attend at a reasonable hour:

OPTION A: 1st weekend: Saturday matinee, Saturday evening, Sunday matinee; 2nd weekend: Friday evening, Saturday matinee, Saturday evening

OPTION B: 1st weekend: Friday evening, Saturday matinee, Saturday evening; 2nd weekend: Saturday matinee (11.00), Saturday matinee (2.00), Saturday evening

OPTION C: 1st weekend: Saturday matinee, Saturday evening, Sunday matinee; 2nd weekend: Saturday matinee (11.00), Saturday matinee (2.00), Saturday evening

Any of these options would thus give us three matinee shows and three evening shows. (The times of the additional matinees are for illustration only.) We have set up a Googlepoll so that you can send us your preference ahead of the AGM if you like (or if you can't attend) - we'd certainly find this extremely useful. Please click on this link to go to that online poll; note that you may need to sign in to Google to complete it. Thank you.

Strangers on the road

Next month sees the world premiere of our latest production, Stephen Wyatt's Strangers on a Film, specially adapted for us by local writer Roy Maddox from an original radio play. Its first outing is on Thursday 19 March at the Sawston Drama Festival (The Marven Centre, New Road, Sawston CB22 3BP). This is the mostly true tale of how Alfred Hitchcock tried to get thriller writer Raymond Chandler to write his next screenplay for him in 1950 and consists of a series of increasingly acrimonious meetings between the two men (played by Martin Maynard and Michael Young respectively), interspersed with direct addresses to the audience and illustrated with stills, movie clips and animations.

Six plays, including ours, will be presented over the three nights of the festival by different local groups with a professional adjudication at the end of each evening and an awards ceremony on the Saturday. The adjudicator this year is Jennifer Scott-Reid, who is no stranger to CADS, having run a highly successful voice workshop for us last June. Jennifer is a GODA Adjudicator, has acted in and directed plays herself for the festival circuit, and is co-founder of two theatre companies as well as running her own training company.

It would be great to see you there supporting us! Tickets can be obtained either for one night or all three nights of the festival by following the links on the festival's Facebook page.

Subsequent to this, we'll be performing the play again at the Welwyn Drama Festival in May at the Barn Theatre, and at the Cambridge Drama Festival in September at the ADC (more details when we have them), and...

Heads-up for Arts Festival auditions

... we are delighted to announce that we shall also be performing Strangers at this year's Royston Arts Festival in a special double bill with the intriguingly titled Six Dead Queens... and an Inflatable Henry, which was originally developed by Foursight Theatre, formerly in Wolverhampton.

Six Dead Queens is a tale of three Catherines, two Annes and one Jane – the ill-fated wives of Henry VIII - reunited for a sort of girly sleepover. It's boisterous, farcical, slightly bawdy and immensely entertaining and weaves together history, comedy, satire, slapstick and song in truly surreal fashion. David Atkins is directing the play, and work will begin on the show as early as April, with a play reading as one of our evening meetings on Thursday 23 April and auditions on the following Thursday, 30 April (precise times and venues to be confirmed at time of writing but probably both from 7.00 p.m. at King James Academy).

Performance dates at the Royston Festival are likely to be Thursday 24, Friday 25 and Saturday 26 September - more details will be announced very soon...

Evening meetings

Our semi-regular evening meetings continue at roughly six-weekly intervals, with each hosted by a different person. They take place at the Coombes Community Centre in Royston (unless otherwise noted) and run from 7.00 to 9.00 p.m. unless otherwise stated. Our next planned meetings are:

  • Thursday 2 April - workshop: "Musical theatre", hosted by Limitless Academy of Performing Arts (NOTE that this workshop starts at 8.00 and is at Limitless Academy in Melbourn Street)
  • Thursday 23 April - play reading: "Six Dead Queens... and an Inflatable Henry", hosted by David Atkins (NOTE that this meeting will probably be at King James Academy)
  • Wednesday 3 June - illustrated talk: "What I did for Auntie" - tales of working for the BBC by Steve Richards
  • Wednesday 15 July - drama quiz, hosted by Pauline Rowe (postponed from February)
  • Wednesday 23 September - talk: "Adaptation" by Nick Warburton (NOTE that this will probably take place at Royston Library as part of this year's Arts Festival)

There's no need to book for any of these meetings - just turn up on the night - and they're completely FREE! As an added incentive, we generally manage to provide some refreshments...

Nut goes online!

Those of you who were at our first evening meeting last year will recall that we read through Mick Patrick and Oisin Kearney's My Left Nut, selected for us by Emma Daintrey. (For those who weren't, this is the darkly comic semi-autobiographical account of Patrick's adolescent experiences coping with a swelling in his left testicle, set in Belfast.) Emma mentioned at the time that the play had been taken up by the BBC and next month finally sees the start of a three-part TV series based on the piece. It's going out on BBC3, now an online service, from Sunday 1 March at 6.00 p.m. and we understand it will also therefore be available on the BBC iPlayer. Catch it before it becomes cult viewing!

It's show time

Finally, our friends at Limitless have been asked by the Town Mayor to stage a charity show at King James Academy in April. Entitled "Showtime", it will be a musical show featuring songs from at least seven West End musicals. There are two performances scheduled for Saturday 25 April and one for Sunday 26 April. Full details will be available soon on the Limitless website and will be promoted in the next newsletter.

CommitteeOur next meeting is the AGM (see above) on Thursday 2 April; the one after that has yet to be scheduled by the new committee, but if there's anything you'd like us to consider or discuss, please feel free to contact any of us at any time via our Contact page!

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