MINUTES OF THE 71st (73rd year) ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE GAGEPLAYERS, held at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 21st March, 2023 via Zoom.

1.  Present 

Gay Weeden (in the chair) and 12 members of the company

2.  Apologies for absence

Received from Clare Smyl, Lorraine Wheeler-Smith, Eileen Debski, Lars Sawyer.

3.  Minutes of the 2022 AGM

The minutes of the 2022 AGM minutes were accepted as a correct record.

4.  Matters arising

There were no matters arising.

5.  Chairman’s report

Gay Weeden read out her report for the year: 

Good evening and welcome to the 2023 Annual General Meeting of The Gage Players.

Since our last AGM we have had an optimistic, more fulfilling year.  Covid had altered our way of performing and taken its toll on our finances, but it hadn’t dampened our enthusiasm to keep acting and entertaining our audiences.  The informal Zoom poetry evenings had continued to keep us connected.  Readings, poems and short plays were fun to perform via Zoom and those popular evenings will be resumed after our Spring 2023 production.  So do join us by contacting friends@thegageplayers.co.uk  for the link.  The April newsletter will give you the date for our next Zoom poetry etc get-together.

A popular local event in May 2022 was Walton May Pageant, at which we manned a busy Gage Players bottle/tombola stall.  We were grateful for generous donations of all kinds of bottles, which made an impressive display and brought queues of customers eager to win a bottle.  We made a good profit and this May we will have a similar stall but hope to raise an even larger amount of money for our funds.

We were thrilled to receive a £450 donation to our funds from the Pageant Committee, for which we are very grateful.  Also, we thank Tadworth and Walton Residents Association for their contribution of £300 to help cover the cost of our annual insurance.  We so appreciate these donations, as with amounts like these we are able to afford to go ahead with our full-length production in April – our first since before lockdown over two years ago.  A big thank you for the difference these donations have made. 

In September 2022 we presented two rehearsed play readings with a ‘bring your own picnic supper’ beforehand.  These informal and sociable evenings are always enjoyed by our audience of family and friends, and these two very different plays were no exception.  The first, Playgoers, a comedy by Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, was set before the First World War and directed by Chris Slater.  The second, Under Milk Wood, by Dylan Thomas, was originally performed as a radio play in America, and Pip Rolls directed his own abridged adaptation in the same way.

In December 2002 a performance of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted and directed by Pip Rolls, really put us into the Christmas spirit.  This was enjoyed by the audience, cast and crew, though the latter had their work cut out for them to manage the challenging set changes and effects – which they did very successfully, I may add!

Congratulations go to Chris Slater, a stalwart director and actor with The Gage – and also a talented musician, conductor, organist and choir-master – who in December celebrated his 90th birthday.  In May 2022 Chris had performed a Gala organ recital as part of his celebrations at St Peter’s Church in Walton on the Hill and also conducted another concert there in August. 

We were keen to start rehearsals of our Spring production, Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders written by Derek Webb and directed by Lesley Crowther-Smith, and were pleased to be able to use the hall at Walton Primary School again.  It had been hoped to hold a matinée Pop-up Poetry competition and stage presentation with the children of the school this year, but that is on hold for now.  Instead, Lesley Crowther-Smith, our director and an author of children’s books, spent time working with the school’s children for World Book Day earlier in March, introducing drama activities based on traditional fairy tales, and including stories from her own books.  The children enjoyed working on their performing skills, and the event was a good link to The Gage Players.  Who knows, it may even have encouraged future actors to star in our plays!

Is there anyone who would take on the role of SECRETARY with The Gage?  Gill Gibbins is standing down at the end of this March after many years of dedicated support.  Please help us!

I would like to thank the Gage committee for all the unseen hard work that continues in the background to keep The Gage running smoothly, and for their enthusiasm now in supporting everyone to produce this full-length play – at long last!   Remember, Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders at 8pm on 27th, 28th and 29th April 2023 at the Riddell Hall in Walton on the Hill.  I look forward to seeing you all there!

6.  Treasurer’s report

Rod Lucas’s financial account report had been sent out to the committee prior to the AGM. He reported that it had been a reasonable year, with the help of some donations as noted in the Chair’s report and some programme adverts paid in advance for the Spring production. The current bank balance is £3191.00.

6.1 Payment of subscriptions

Subscriptions to remain at £20.00 for adult members and £10.00 for juniors.  Notification of subs due will go in the next Chair’s newsletter and include note that donations would be gratefully accepted. Payments can be made by cash, bank transfer or cheque to the Gage bank account as below.

Bank details:-
Account name ‘The Gage Players’
Sort code 20-29-90
Account number 00396907’

The accounts were accepted by all present.

6.2 Payment for cast copies of Agatha Crusty and the Village Hall Murders by Derek Webb

To date. 5 copies purchased by The Gage have been paid for by cast members.  The director, Lesley Crowther-Smith, also bought some copies.  Lesley should remind the cast that the scripts need to be paid for and let them know if it is her or the Gage that should be reimbursed.

7.  Election of officers

Gay Weeden was re-elected as chair.  Proposed by Gill Gibbins and seconded by Chris Slater.

Rod Lucas was re-elected as Treasurer.  Proposed by Chris Slater and seconded by Martin Saul.

Gill Gibbins stepped down from her role as Secretary and a new one is yet to be found.  Thanks were given to Debbie Nichols for stepping in to take the minutes for the last few meetings as Gill was unable to do so.

Gay said that there were not enough words to thank Gill Gibbins for all her work as Secretary and support.  She and all present agreed and are pleased that Gill will still remain on the committee.

8.  Election of committee

The current membership of the committee were all willing to serve another term, and were re-elected unanimously en bloc by those present.

The committee comprises Gay Weeden as chairman, Gill Gibbins, Jon Laws, Gill Lucas, Rod Lucas, Martin Saul, Lars Sawyer, Clare Smyl and Beryl White.  There is also an effective (unelected) sub-committee comprising Eileen Debski, Pip Rolls, Chris Slater and Lorraine Wheeler-Smith.

9.  Election of auditor

Rod Lucas reported that Paul Spooner is no longer able to continue in his role as auditor.  Rod mentioned that we do not technically require an auditor – just someone to check everything is all in place and accounted for.  Debbie Nichols said she was willing to do this.

10.  Forward planning

10.1  Rehearsed readings with supper, 16th September 2023

Two short plays will be performed.  Chris Slater will direct one, though he is not happy with those he has read so far.  He thinks Separate Tables has too complicated a set for the backstage crew to get together for a one act play.  Gill Lucas said she will look out for another one-act comedy.

The second play will be written and directed by Pip Rolls.  It will be a short play based on evolution.

10.2  November 2023 play : 3rd, 24th, 25th

This will be Molly’s Calling.  Pip Rolls has been contacting those previously cast and others to replace those unable to resurrect their roles in this play and it looks to be fully cast now.  The cast will start rehearsals without Pip as a majority have already rehearsed this play to performance level twice so can help and direct the rest of the cast.  Pip will join at a later stage to advise and assist. 

10.3 Possible rehearsed readings with supper in February 2024

Plays to be selected and directors to be found for this event to go ahead.

10.4 April 2024 play: 25th, 26th, 27th.

The Nightingales or Death and the Maiden have been suggested but not agreed on or confirmed yet.

10.5 Rehearsed readings with supper 14th or 21st September 2024 an November play 2024 21st, 22nd, 23rd

No suggestions have been put forward for either of these events.

11.  Any other business

Rod reported that Martin Saul had done a lot of research regarding getting card readers for The Gage Platers to be used on show nights.  It was suggested that 3 readers might be required to run a show though Beryl White mentioned that would mean training up all of the individual volunteers we get across the run of a show on how to use the card reader.  Transaction charges and how the readers could be used, such as using mobile phones, all need to be considered before we come to a decision.

Chris Slater asked if we would be doing anything for the Coronation as a company.  Several suggestions were put forward including offers of bunting or playing God Save The King after the last performance of the Spring Production.  However it was decided that it was probably too soon after the Spring production for anyone to have the time or energy to organise anything.

Clare Smyl has sent the proof for the Spring show programme to Rod and Beryl to check.

There was no other business and the meeting was closed at 8.43pm with thanks from Gay Weeden to all for coming.

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