The Annual General Meeting of the Somerset Fellowship of Drama met at the village hall in Hatch Beachamp on Saturday. Following some wonderful scones and cakes that had been baked by members of the committee, family and friends, the meeting started at 3.30pm. Numbers in attendance were down slightly on last year with about 25 people in the room.
In contrast to last year when there were quite a few changes on the committee this year’s committee, which was voted in unanimously, remains largely unchanged. The committee comprises:
Sam Allen: Chairman
Di Dean: Vice Chairman
Margaret Ann Brolly: Treasurer
Pam Hillier: Secretary
Margaret Ann Brolly: Membership Secretary
Di Dean: David Beach Youth Coordinator
Philip de Glanville: Phoebe Rees Coordinator
Philip de Glanville: County Drama Coordinator
Pam Price: Cinderella Trophy Coordinator
Angie Hurdman: David Beach Comp Coordinator
Brenda Shrewsbury: Original Playwriting Competition Coordinator
Sam Allen: Spotlight Editor
Philip de Glanville: Website Editor
South: Lyn Lockyer
North: David Jenkins
As Ann Brolly has now agreed to take on the role of Treasurer on a permanent basis, Chairman Sam Allen said that we are now on the lookout for a Membership Secretary.
In his opening remarks Sam Allen said, “2018/19 has been a good year for the SFD in many ways. For me the highlight of the year was launching our new competition – The David Beach Youth Competition, which grew out of the highly successful David Beach Competition for musicals. It provides a platform for youth groups to show what they can do. And it is an important part of our ethos at the SFD that we try to encourage youth participation in all aspects of drama.” In a precursor to the discussion that was to follow he also talked about the proposals for training: “Training is an important aspect in developing our youth – and , indeed, everyone. It has been a disappointment for the committee that we have not been able to do as much in training as we would like. This year we have spent the time consulting and developing a new concept whereby we hope to help member societies to provide meaningful development opportunities for their members.”
Reflecting on the year just passed he said, “Our various competitions have continued to go from strength to strength. After a fallow year in 2018, it was great to see the County Drama Festival bounce back with a whopping nine plays, which drew in healthy audiences and provided some wonderful entertainment. And our other competitions are running at high levels of entries too.”
Sam went on to pay tribute to the members of the committee saying that they were all very dedicated and hard working but more than that they worked very well as a team too. But he added, “The year has not been without its sorrows. Last year you may remember we honoured long standing SFD activist and committee member Hillary May. Sadly during the year we lost Hillary. We lost not only an enthusiastic and diligent team player but also a good friend. She will be sadly missed.”
Sam went on to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the SFD: “The work of the SFD is not all about the committee, as important as their work undoubtedly is. Every competition has a team of people, whether it is the readers of original plays, the moderators and adjudicators of our four continuing competitions, or the people who volunteer to help backstage and front of house at the County Drama Festival. The input of all these people is invaluable and we all owe them a huge debt of gratitude for the time that they freely give and the wisdom that they impart. Without them, there would be no SFD.”
In concluding his remarks,he said, “And that is also true of our members and our member societies whose continued support and enthusiasm continues to be a source of inspiration and encouragement.”
Treasurer Ann Brolly reported that the Fellowship’s accounts were in good health and that there had been a small surplus last year. That being the case, the AGM agreed with the committee’s recommendations to keep all fees at the same level as last year.
The AGM is the time when the committee honours people who have made significant contributions to amateur drama in the county. This year there were two such awards: Dave Goodall won the Sybil Thorndike Trophy and Philip de Glanville was appointed as a Life Member. There are more detailed reports available elsewhere in Spotlight.
At the end of the meeting there were three discussions, following which the committee will be making some key announcements. The committee has agreed to set up a training bursary to encourage member societies to work together on developing appropriate training for amateur theatre. Details will be announced shortly.
They have also clarified the position relating to people who are paid for their contribution with a new policy that will be published on the SFD website. In essence, anyone who receives payments other that expenses will not be eligible for an individual award but in every other aspect all shows will be assessed equally.
And finally, following a year trialling nominations in advance for some elements of the Cinderella Trophy for pantomimes, and having consulted widely, it was agreed that, despite strong differences in opinion, there was no overall desire to change the tried and tested format of announcing nominations on the night and so the Competition will not, in future, announce nominations in advance.
The meeting ended at 4.30pm.