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News: From the chairman

Updated: 28 June 2014

Sue Wilkinson
Sue Wilkinson
Loft Theatre Company

As I write this letter summer seems to have well and truly arrived. Just in time for Privates on Parade, set in the sultry Singapore and Malaya of 1948. However, in reality, Wimbledon is now in full swing so I’m sure it will rain buckets shortly, reminding us of the tropical monsoon.

I am wearing one of my other hats for this production, that of stage manager. At rehearsal the other evening it struck me just how incredible theatre can be. A few weeks ago the same people I’m watching polish and primp up the song and dance numbers were all struggling to remember the footwork, the words and what they were doing. People who had never completed a rifle drill in their lives before are now looking like they have been doing it for a long time. There is something about the rehearsal period that turns a shambles into something which can set the hairs rising in a very short space of time. From here on in the excitement builds. As we get ever closer to opening night and costumes appear followed by lights and sound you can feel the adrenaline in the air and the anticipation. If only we could channel the adrenaline somehow, I’m sure we could power the lighting rig off it and save electricity.

Members have had to put up with the heat and cold situation for quite some time now and for that I apologise. We have a big all singing and dancing (like the cast) heating and cooling system, but over the years it has degraded to the point where almost none of it is working. We have finally found a company who seem as though they may be able to help us restore the system, but as yet we don’t know the extent or cost of such works, which could be prohibitive. However, for Privates on Parade I can tell you that the extraction fans in the auditorium are back up and running properly and so even if we are unable to fill the system with coolant for air conditioning (depends on the results of some tests about to happen) there will be plenty of throughput of fresh air at ambient temperature. And the bar and coffee lounge air conditioning units are fully operational once more. These two things alone will make the audience feel much more comfortable. If we can hold coolant in the system then that will be the icing on the cake.

I have been asking for help in various areas of the theatre in recent months and I would like to say a big thank you to those who have stepped forward. There is still plenty of opportunity for people to get involved, but it’s nice to have a few offers on the table. We will be working to incorporate these offers over the next few months.

For many years now Mike Crisswell has been a major part of this theatre. A Chairman himself in the past, Mike has been working as a valuable part of the technical team for a long time. Therefore it is with a huge ‘thank you’ that I wish him well on his retirement. People like Mike are the lifeblood of the Loft and he will be much missed. Mike, you will always be welcome to just drop in and watch what’s going on whenever you want.

Finally I’m afraid I have two sad pieces of news to report. Firstly, as many of you will know, William Wilkinson’s wife Patricia died on 14 June after a long illness. Both Bill and Pat have been stalwarts of the local amateur theatre world for many, many years. I would like to offer Bill our heartfelt condolences on his loss.

The other sad news concerns James Ruffell, whose sister suddenly collapsed and died recently. James and his partner Amy are two of my favorite theatre people, having stepped up to the plate in spectacular form to run the technical side of the theatre for several years after Gary moved to Ireland. The theatre is a big family really and therefore when one of us hurts we are all affected in some way. James, we are truly sorry to hear this news.

Sue Wilkinson
Chair, Loft Theatre Company

Coming soon
Macbeth 4
No Regrets 7
The Mercy Seat 12
Relatively Speaking 8
Scrooge – The Musical 3
ABBA Tribute – Swede Dreamz 14
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Updated: 28 June 2014