Open Evening 13/09/2003

The Open Evening attracted a small but pleasant gathering on another warm, sunny day in our everlasting Summer (I recall that, last year, we had to ignite the boiler for the central heating!). Although Sylvie and I were the principal organizers, you will be pleased to know that our stock of wine has not been totally exhausted, although it was well received, along with the nibbles, kindly augmented by Elizabeth, Doris, Jane and Annie. Two "elder statesmen" of the village (James Berry-Clarke and Peter Naylor) were among our distinguished guests who also included Mr. and Mrs. Tony Flook, Arts Correspondent with the Surrey Mirror Group. Tony, with whom Martin had established a healthy dialogue, had given the event an excellent "puff". Indeed, Martin had done an all-round brilliant job as the mastermind of our publicity machine. He had prepared 160 fliers which Natasha and her mum kindly distributed throughout the village. We were mentioned in several newspapers and on radio; and Martin had arranged for David Waugh to paint us a magnificent banner for the corner of Forest Green Road (Shame it read "Friday the 13th" instead of "Saturday"!!!). As if those efforts were not enough, Martin duly arrived at the party and started shinnying up and down ladders in order to provide us with "atmospheric" subdued lighting. Thanks, pal!

Particularly in view of the extensive publicity (which began at the Flower Show and must compare favourably with anything we have ever produced), I cannot conceal my disappointment at the low turn-out by existing as well as prospective members. The good weather, the Forest Green fete and the next day's Cricket Sevens may have conspired to thwart us; but, if we are to revive village theatre (as we will!), we shall need more support than this, guys and gals. Remember, there is nothing so powerful as "word of mouth". What every one of you tells his or her neighbour about the Ockley Dramatic Society is invaluable.

At least we sold two shirts and gained three more new members and one prospective. Welcome Victoria Armstrong and Sally Thornton and a welcome return to Corinna Newman.

Eric Howker