A new way of working for Saddleworth Players

Saddleworth Players are implementing some changes to the way we organise ourselves.  

The problem: 

COVID closed down all the theatres and when we re-emerged in the recovery season we found that many people who previously were involved didn’t return.  For some it was an opportunity to take stock and retire, for others, the lockdowns provided new hobbies and focus and the theatre has slipped in importance.

This current Season  we’ve attempted to carry on as before but a review after Christmas demonstrated how thin on the ground we are, and how a few people are too stretched. We have very few actors in age ranges 20-50, hardly any backstage crew, and very few technical experts.  Other theatres face the same challenge. The closure of the Oldham Coliseum shows how precarious a situation can become when audience members have dwindled in these post Covid times.

However, it is not all doom and gloom!   When we realised that there was a real risk that we wouldn’t be able to continue to put on five Saddleworth Players shows in a season, we took action! 

The solution: 

Saddleworth Players have developed an action plan to create a troupe of players that will enable us to keep running and putting on shows in the way we love.   

We are implementing changes in the way we organise ourselves:

1) Changes to the way we engage with existing and new Saddleworth Players to become more open and welcoming and create a fun and engaging creative community .  

2) Changes to the way we organise ourselves:

We are creating a specific structure around Saddleworth Players as part of Millgate Arts Centre – SPOT  

We have redefined the role of the production team to become Saddleworth Players play selection and staging team. We are looking for two more Saddleworth Players to join Verity Mann, Carol Davies, Melvyn Bates and Pauline Walsh. They will read plays and select a balanced season, appoint Directors and then each one will become the lead production assistant for a play working with the show director.

If you are interested please contact Andrew Mann or one of the current team . 

We have added a team of ‘technical expert coordinators’ to create an overall Production Team: 

Technical ( Sound and Lighting ) coordinator: David Plowright has agreed to continue in this role, bringing extensive technical experience and coordinating our sound and lighting teams for each sho. If you are interested in leaning more about sound or lighting or getting involved please contact David on david@plowright.net  

Props coordinator: Siobhan Ebden has agreed to continue in this role. Siobhan acts as well as having extensive experience on props, and leads a small team of props people. She’ll lead and coordinate the team of props experts to support each of the five plays. 

If you’d like to get involved in props for a play contact Siobhan on siobhan.ebden@sky.com  

Costume coordinator. We have an active team of costume experts who meet 10-12 on Wednesday mornings in the costume store. They have catalogued , cleaned and edited all the costumes and created new ones (remember the Kings on camels and Romans in Ben Hur?). This team are a self governing team who love costumes but can’t always commit to supporting a one week play run plus technical / run up week. We’re looking for people who can be a costume lead for each of the five shows- you may not need to be a costume expert but can work with the team.

If you are interested please contact Verity Mann on Verityjmann@gmail.com 

Stage Manager coordinator: stage manager is an important role, and we are looking for someone to train and coordinate a team of Players who can take on a stage manager role for each show. If you’ve been a  Stage Manager before or want to learn please contact Andrew Mann about this role on andrew@andrewmann.me 

Set construction coordinator. We’ve had two people in recent years who have taken on the role of Sets: Keith and Colin. They have now both retired and we appreciate all their support. Ken Wright has stepped forward out of retirement to give us some set design expertise, and Verity Mann has temporarily stepped in as crew boss, but we’re looking for someone to coordinate a team of set builders who can put up and paint a set. If you are interested please contact Andrew Mann about this role on andrew@andrewmann.me

Saddleworth Players charity coordinator. Saddleworth Players donate a group of tickets to local charities for Sunday of each show run. Local charities raise over £5000 a year by selling them and provide a great audience for Sunday evening / opening weekend. Carol Davies has been doing this role and now Mirriam Lawton  has agreed to join her, coordinating selection of the charities for a season, managing ticket allocation and the charity night itself, and leading publicity with the charities.  

Sadleworth Players publicity coordinator. There is a good working team running publicity across Millgate Arts Centre and Saddleworth Players. This team includes Andrew Mann, David Ebden, Michael Powis, Sam Al-Hamdani, Richard Wallis and Martin & Val Kavanagh. Phil Spencer leads on the Film society. We’re looking for more people to take a lead on each show so if you’re interested please contact Andrew Mann about this role on: andrew@andrewmann.me  

Saddleworth Players Secretary.  

There is an awful lot of administration running a successful troupe of players and 5 shows a season. We are looking for an efficient administrator who can engage with the leadership team and support delivery. The role would include coordinating minutes / action points , applying for play licences, distributing scripts, organising auditions, arranging show programmes. A perfect role for someone who wants to be involved but maybe not on the stage.   If you are interested please contact Andrew Mann about this role on andrew@andrewmann.me 

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