Updated: 28 June 2014
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
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
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.
Chair, Loft Theatre Company