Chairman’s Report from AGM

Chairman’s Notes March 2017


We have a lot to get through this evening with the re-election of the committee on the agenda, so I want to be brief-ish.

As always it is worth pointing out how much of a success this year’s production of Aladdin was. Another sell out, delighted audiences and a cast and crew that undoubtedly enjoyed putting the show on.

Most of you will know, but some of you will not, that we were independently reviewed half way through the run. So I thought I would use the words of the review to sum up this year’s show.


I’ve been meaning to see the St Andrew’s Pantomime since I moved to Beeston but I’ve always left it too late. I’d heard it was good but my previous experience of amateur dramatics has been mixed. And I have memories of taking part in Cinderella when I was a vicar in Seacroft – we enjoyed doing it but I’m not sure about the audience…

So last Saturday night (21 January 2017) I walked down to St Andrew’s not sure what I’d find. Bumping into a neighbour in the Co-op I told her where I was off to. Her eyes lit up – she’d been that afternoon and praised the performance: wonderful costumes, she added. Good start, I thought.

And I wasn’t disappointed. The costumes were amazing, but they weren’t the only great thing about this excellent production. A cast of nearly 40, from tinies to significantly older actors, gave us a massively enjoyable evening. The participation and applause showed how much everyone, including the cast, was enjoying themselves, and the audience had an even greater age range. It’s good to see younger ones involved, and there is great potential for future leading actors.

There were too many good performances to mention them all, though I particularly enjoyed the delightful genie, and the policemen added to the laughter. I commend the choreographer – the dancing was excellent. I’d like to thank the whole back stage team, musicians, and front of house folk; a production like this is a huge team effort. Your hard work showed in the professionalism of the production.

If I was to be nitpicking I could mention that some voices were a little hard to hear, but this in no way took away from the enjoyment. The action was fast paced and visual which kept our interest, and the story was easy to follow.

So my verdict? When does booking open for next year – I’ll definitely want tickets!


So all good, and to be honest it’s been good for the past 47 years – and yes we are 50 years old in 2020, so we need a big celebration then. But for now we need to keep the Group active, enthused and willing to continue putting on such a wonderful community event year after year.


It is easier said than done, because despite the outcome of our collective effort resulting in a fantastic show that is renowned, and looked forward to by so many … putting it on is simply down to people. You don’t keep going for 50 years by relying on the same individuals throughout that time. The Group’s continuity is attained by a stream of people in all types of role stepping up to the plate and taking something on.

So whether it’s back stage where Brian Ferguson was at the helm for so long, but since then we have had Steven Bostrich, Nicky Roddy and more recently Dave George take on those duties, or the hugely important role of Dame where George Poppleton, gave way to Fed Dawson before Mike Lowell and then our current dame, Bill. Each one was seen as irreplaceable when they were doing the job, but, in the past, when time has dictated we always prove that we can indeed move on.


Why am I saying this? Well, like I said, the Group cannot function without the people who do the jobs. This year, and I would like to thank them all for their efforts in previous years, we have a number of people stepping down.


Amanda will not be looking after the Children this year, as Children’s co-ordinator and being responsible for the children’s costumes, Jayne Holland will be stepping down from being responsible for the adult costumes, and Denis is no longer wishing to be our lighting man. So firstly, like I said, I would like to thank them all formally for their efforts in past years, and I hope that their stepping down is more of a rest than a retirement.


However it does leave us needing to fill those roles, as without them the Group cannot function and the show cannot go on. So, we all need to take a collective responsibility here and think about whether there’s a role you can do or whether you know someone who might be able to step up and once again prove that the Group’s continuity is alive and well. Remember that it might well be possible for more than one person to share a role that has previously been done by one person. Please contact any committee member or next year’s show producer Loz with any thoughts you might have.


So, I want to finish with a further reminder of what this Group and our activities mean to the community. The following comments are unprompted messages sent to the South Leeds Life newspaper and reprinted entirely independently of us in the February newspaper. These were all under the general heading “Praise for Aladdin” –


“This is the second year running that we’ve been to see St Andrew’s Pantomime – it was fantastic again. A great afternoon was had by all, and great value too!”


“I went to see the Pantomime with my Granddaughter yesterday afternoon. We both thoroughly enjoyed it. Brilliant performance and well done to all concerned.”


“They always put on a fantastic Panto. Well done yet again!.”

So, please all get your thinking caps on, think about what you might be able to do to help and let’s make sure that we are once again ready to “Keep Pantomime in our Community”.

Simon Forster

Group Chairman

March 2017