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Chairman’s Overture by Andrew Carpenter

Our world of amateur musical theatre continues to be a place of uncertainty when a return to ‘normal life’ is still unknown. I am sure, like me, we are all hoping, wishing and

praying for the day when we can all return to doing the thing, we love most, involving ourselves with rehearsing, managing and performing those fabulous productions. The lockdown has given us all time to contemplate and now even more we recognise the importance of amateur theatre to the good of the nation generally and our own mental health in particular. I feel particularly sorry for those who rely on the world of performing arts to make a living as the sector has understandably been decimated. I hope for their sake our return is soon.

Your committee has been using the downtime to continue its work on our internal structure. Of note since the last Bailiwick has been the survey issued by Pete Jones. I am delighted to say that we received a 60% response from our membership together with replies from Life Members, Patrons and others associated with BLOC Productions and I thank you all for your time and effort. We were particularly pleased to receive six volunteers to join the committee and 15 Interested in directing & choreographing. With the former in mind the next AGM is only four months away and with the latter in mind the committee has agreed to run workshops for those interested as soon as we are able. If this fits in with his busy diary, we will do this in association with the workshop Kevin Clifton promised us during his member webinar. Other responses regarding props, costumes, scenery and get-in/get-out etc. have all been noted and you will be hearing from Pete in due course.

The survey led us to think that we should arrange a series of online meetings whereby members can express their views, ask questions, and propose ideas. To this end, Alex T and I will be facilitating a series of Monday night surgeries, early in the New Year, to do just that. You may have views on “What is BLOC?” (recently communicated), auditions, choice of shows, rehearsal periods etc. or anything else appertaining to BLOC Productions. I’m a big fan of any organisation of which I’m part being ‘for the members, by the members’ and this proposal will further that culture.

I think we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to the committee for keeping things going during very difficult times and I would like to pass on my thanks to each one of them. Our regular online meetings have been keeping abreast of everything coronavirus related in our efforts to make sense of when we might perform Kiss Me, Kate. Full details of our Plans A, B & C will have already been communicated to you. I would like to pay particular thanks to Jo, Kathie, Phil, Ian and John for providing some excellent online quizzes and Brendan for organising our BLOC Lockdown Choir, the results of which we will see on Monday 14th December at our online Carol Service. With the Carol Service in mind our sincere thanks go to Carrie, Lucy, and Pete for organising this traditional event in such an imaginative way.

Rest assured that with my ‘producer’ hat on we are doing all we can to ensure that when we are all ‘released’ we can start work on Kiss Me, Kate ASAP. My thanks to John, Brendan, Donna, Peter, and Sam for the ongoing meetings (in person and more latterly online) to ensure that when the time is right, we are good to go. I am very excited hearing about what your creative team has in mind and I know you will be too once we have the chance to share it with you. Just think how good that time will be and hold it in your mind this winter.

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