Monday, 8 November 2010

AGM Minutes

Present: John Morrison (ch), Peter Thompson (sec), Tony Diggle (tr), Peter Briffa, Maryse Addison, Daniel Dresner, Colin Pinney, Debbie Maya, Sally Eyl, Geertje Dunning, Tony Killaspy, Peter Francis-Mullins, Eamon McDonnell, Lynne O’Sullivan, Peter Vincent, Victoria Johnston, Stephen Coe, Ajay Gohill, David de Keyser, Ninaz Khodaiji, Bill Gordon, Giles Armstrong, Mary Conway, Belinda Blanchard, Eddie Coleman, Silas Hawkins
Apologies: Tim Gambrell, Niall Spooner-Harvey, Anthea Courtenay, Chris Prior, Phil Philmar, Roger Mayhew, Denise O’Leary
Chairman’s remarks
John welcomed a good attendance and congratulated members on a productive year and many successes including a very good Showcase at the King’s Head and strong participation in the Camden Fringe. But our recent venue changes had been disruptive and scripts had been in unusually short supply. He hoped that the Phoenix Arts Club, which we could use without paying rent, would enable us to get on with marketing our business and improving the recruitment and retention of younger members. Victoria was to be congratulated on introducing us to this attractive venue (applause).
Minutes of AGM 2 November 2009 were approved
Treasurer’s report
Tony reported that our end of year balance (£1619.56) was at a record high, despite having spent over £300 on leaflets, and increases in the cost of insurance and visiting speakers. On the other hand recruitment and retention of new members had been extremely poor. We needed to consider how to bring in young writers and actors. Peter V and Victoria suggested that the Monday night attendance fee of £2.50 was a turn-off, whereas £2 would be acceptable. Victoria also suggested that we should be willing to allow people from the Industry to make occasional attendances as guests without having to join as members [Tony D said that he was willing to be flexible about this]. John suggested that we return to this discussion later in the evening.
Programme Secretary’s report
Peter Briffa confirmed that there had been a general shortage of scripts this year and that plays that were booked well ahead sometimes failed to materialise. He had therefore had more difficulty than usual in filling the programme (32 scripts read instead of the usual 36) and had to allow scripts in where advice of a mentor was absent or had gone unheeded. Comments from the floor suggested that the mentoring system was not well understood (although the explanatory leaflet Getting Your Act Together is on the P-P website) and that although good mentoring advice is given writers are often unable or unwilling to do a rewrite in the time available or to lose a place in the programme (that Peter B would find it hard to fill). John concluded that the mentoring system was sound: the problem was the shortage of scripts.
Election of officers and members of executive committee
The following serving officers were elected by a show of hands for a further term:
Chair John Morrison (p Peter Thompson, s Colin Pinney)
Secretary Peter Thompson (p Tony Killaspy, s Bill Gordon)
Treasurer Tony Diggle p Belinda Blanchard, s Giles Armstrong)
Programme Secretary Peter Briffa (p Peter Thompson, s Eddie Coleman)
Competitions Sec Lynne O’Sullivan (p Peter Thompson, s Stephen Coe)
Awards Sec Giles Armstrong (p Peter Thompson, s Peter Briffa)
Publicity Officer Ninaz Khodaiji was elected on the proposal of John Morrison, seconded by Peter Thompson,
Casting Secretary Victoria Johnston was elected with acclamation on the proposal of John Morrison, seconded by Peter Thompson and with promises of support by Belinda and Daniel. The handover by Anthea will be finalised over Christmas
The following serving Committee members were elected en bloc, on the proposal of John Morrison, seconded by Peter Thompson: Belinda Blanchard, Daniel Dresner, Roger Mayhew, Eamon McDonnell, Peter Vincent.
John expressed the gratitude of the society for the contributions made over the years by others on the Committee (Silas Hawkins, Chris Prior, Niall Spooner-Harvey, Elizabeth Yuill) who were not seeking re-election. Tony Killaspy was elected to join the Committee on the proposal of Peter Vincent, seconded by Peter Thompson.
Christmas Party arrangements
The Christmas Party will be at the Phoenix Club on 13 December 2010 and a buffet will be provided (for which Tony D will pay £200). Lynne will organise the entertainment and would welcome scripts and offers to perform. Giles reminded award-holders that their trophies need to be returned to him in time for presentation to the new winners.
Guest speakers
Amongst the new names put forward were Tony Jordan (Eddie Coleman can introduce) and Stephen Dee. Also Ninaz favoured a workshop evening (or afternoon) and will put a worked-up proposal to the programme secretary. John Morrison has it in mind to invite the organiser of the Camden Fringe Festival to give us a talk.
Showcase 2011
Another King’s Head Showcase was a well-supported option for 2011 but John mentioned putting our funds into productions on the Fringe or at Fringe Festivals (possibly in collaboration with others) or at the Phoenix Arts Club (which would ask for no more than a share of the Box office take) or at the Courtyard where Tim Gill might be able to allow us a rent-free week in the Spring. Following an inconclusive discussion John said that the various possibilities would be considered further in Committee. In order to assist the consideration of different options Peter V and Eamon were invited to go through the 32 scripts presented this year and report to the Committee as soon as possible in January.
Any Other Business
Returning to the general issue of recruitment and retention, a number of suggestions were made
• Belinda is reactivating P-P Facebook, with Victoria and Peter B (and others?) as administrators, to publicise P-P’s ongoing programme and activities
• We should be more welcoming to people coming for the first time
• Authors should see that a cast list is always provided
• Visitors who have not been before should be invited to provide an email address as well as a name when paying their attendance fee
• The selection of someone to chair the Monday night discussion should not take place on the night but a week before
• Tim Gill has a database of unsuccessful entrants for the Kings Cross Playwriting competitions and a way may be found of interesting the authors in P-P
• An open competition for short plays (eg suitable for the Camden Fringe Festival) was suggested, with prizes to attract interest from outside the membership. But the administrative processes are onerous and there was no enthusiasm for it.
Monday night attendance fee
The proposal that Monday night attendance fees should be reduced to £2 from 1 January next year was put to the vote and carried by 10 votes to 6 with a large number of abstentions.
Peter Thompson 2 November 2010

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