President’s Report: AGM, April 29

 

President’s Report

Highlands Summer Festival

Annual General Meeting

April 29, 2013

Rails End Gallery & Arts Centre

 

Welcome everyone.

It has been my pleasure to serve another term as the president of the Highlands Summer Festival. This past season was an invigorating one with five outstanding productions on the boards. Our over-all average attendance was 74%, well above the figure for theatre companies of our size. This endorsement speaks to the loyalty of our audience and the high caliber of the productions we present. As one who spends a great deal of time prior to the shows in the lobby, I often hear from our patrons on the latter, on many occasions, comparing the artistic quality to that which they have seen in larger centres. That feedback is always warmly appreciated.

Highlands Summer Festival is a regionally based community theatre company. We strive to develop theatrical talent in our community and put it to work in all aspects of our productions. Our mandate includes encouraging young people to take an active part in our productions. That continues to be the case as we uncover new talent to tap into both on and off stage. The company operates smoothly as a result of a keen volunteer base and we appreciate their dedication and hard work. Kudos as well to Artistic Producer Scot Denton, Executive producers David and Betty Mills, the directors and everyone else involved in creating a wonderful season last year.

That having been said, we still found ourselves stretched a bit last year with a small ($6000) deficit to deal with at the end of the year. Coincidentally the board had undertaken a business and artistic review last year at about this time. Jim Blake took a close look at these two aspects of the company’s operation and found us to be generally heading in the right directions. He also suggested several changes and paths to consider for the future. On his suggestion, we increased our ticket prices, which should help provide some financial stability. He also had a number of other suggestions that the board is starting to implement. Our thanks to the Haliburton County Development Corporation for its assistance with the business and artistic review.

The company continues to add to the infrastructure of the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion, with the installation of monitors and cameras in the theatre to assist with the production and add to the enjoyment of the patrons. Again, HCDC was instrumental in assisting us in this endeavour. We are also grateful to the Canada Summer Jobs program for its assistance with hiring student professional for key positions. Hopefully we will be included in the program again this year. We are also blessed with a strong donor base, from granting agencies, our business community and importantly our patron donors. We thank them all for their ongoing support.

At today’s meeting we say good-bye to Director Rob Eaton who has been a member of the board since 2008. He has served as treasurer and most recently as vice chair, carrying on the important work of the company during my absences. On behalf of the board and the company, I thank Rob for his contributions and volunteer effort over the years. Knowing his keen interest in theatre, we are sending him off with two season passes for the coming season. Thank you Rob.

Our relationship with Highlands Opera Studio continues to evolve. The organization is now fully incorporated as a not-for-profit charitable company. As such, it has its own board and is responsible for much of its own business affairs. We continue to support HOS through ticket management and sales, sharing of promotional efforts and other resources. The company continues to grow in popularity and attracts top caliber participants.

As most of you are aware, Scot Denton is back as our Artistic Producer for the 2013 season. He has put together a very attractive line-up, which I think includes something for everyone. Melissa Stephens and Beth Kipping are our Executive Producers this year looking after a myriad of details to ensure the season unfolds as it should. And the board is delighted that Dave Hawley continues as the company business manager.

I would be remiss if I did not thank my fellow board members who have contributed in many ways to the success of the company. In addition to meeting regularly to manage the affair of the company they have been involved in various development aspects of the Highlands Summer Festival to help bring us into a new and exciting season and beyond. Thanks to Board Members Joan Chapple, Rob Eaton, Joan Hawley, Paul Heffer, Ken Loney, Craig Saunders for all their hard work and dedication.

See you at the theatre

 

Jack Brezina,

April 29, 2013

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