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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Reps Reporter – May 2012

Greetings to all members and friends of Reps as we head into winter and the middle of yet another busy year. April was a month of much activity, culminating in HIFA week, when a range of productions were staged on both theatres at Reps, among them the popular and acclaimed Eclipsed (our own entry in the festival) and Leo, a show from Germany that was technically challenging and, under the firm and talented guidance of Linda Hyde and her team, was successfully hosted with great credit to Reps.

ReXpo will be of interest to members and potential members

Our first ReXpo will be staged on the morning of Saturday May 19. It will take place in the theatre foyer and will be a mini exhibition in which the different areas of Reps activity will be highlighted, allowing members to ask questions and find out more … and perhaps even find a way to get more closely involved. Potential members are also being invited in the hopes they will find out enough about Reps to make them sign up … possibly even there and then! It runs from 9am to 1pm and there will be teas/coffees/cakes/soft drinks on sale by the Avondale Scouts, while people coming along are being encouraged to stay on for a drink or two in the bar and the Saturday lunch, to make it a social morning and lunchtime for them. All members are encouraged to come along and to make that even more attractive an offer, there’s a series of draws for members in attendance, with prizes such as vouchers for accommodation and meals.

On The Rise shows the spirit of the dance community

On Reps Main Stage until Saturday May 12 is On The Rise, the Dance Trust of Zimbabwe’s National Ballet show at HIFA2012. This features all the top dancers in a number of sequences, in the usual entertaining and professional style of National Ballet. The show is inspired by the effort to rebuild the Ballet Centre and funds from ticket sales for this series of performances at Reps will go towards the next effort of replacing the damaged floor of the centre, now that a new roof is on! Performances 7pm each night plus matinee at 2.30pm Saturday.

Eclipsed will bring Liberian crisis to the fore

Zane Lucas has directed Danai Gurira’s award-winning play about war-torn Liberia for HIFA and brings it for an extended run in Theatre Upstairs. Eclipsed is set in Liberia in 2003 and its setting is a camp for rebels who are members of Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). Written by Zimbabwean playwright Danai Gurira and directed by Zane E Lucas, assisted by Patience Tawengwa, the play was warmly received at HIFA, where it was described as one of the best theatrical presentations stage this year. The play is staged by The Repertory Players and runs from Thursday May 10 to Saturday May 19, with performances most nights at 7pm and matinee performances at 2.30pm on both Saturdays of the run. It is rated 18 and no children will be admitted. The cast includes Chipo Chikara, Yandani Mlilo, Precious Mudzingwa, Rutendo Chigudu and Sandra Goliath.

Get ready to rock

Mario Ciampi is directing The A-Z Of Rock, a musical show featuring some of rock’s greatest songs presented by a live band and a selection of great singers. It runs from May 24 to June 9 and will be hugely entertaining fun for all. Rock music will live forever and the selection in this show is among the best of the genre. Advance booking is now open and as ticket sales will be good it is suggested you book now for the performance of your choice during its run. A variety of ticket prices is on offer, so get along to The Spotlight and choose the best seat for you to see this rocker of a show.

Next up on Main Stage …

… will be Leading Ladies, a great new comedy from the USA, to be directed by Zane Lucas. It has a great storyline and many very funny moments. Watch out for news of who’s in it and when you can book. It runs from July 4 to 21.

Next up in Theatre Upstairs …

… could be a Swedish film series, followed by Table Manners, an Alan Ayckbourn classic comedy being directed by Gloria Prentice (yes, she’s back in Zimbabwe for a couple of months from Australia, just to direct this production). It runs from June 14 to 30 and will be a treat not to be missed. Booking opens soon. Cast includes such stellar luminaries as Fiona Garrity, Tim Harrap and various others.

Social events aplenty in the members’ bar

Jenni Ferguson has a series of treats for us in the bar … from Kevin Hanssen playing saxophone on May 11 (5.30pm to 7pm) to a fun pub quiz on May 13 (11.30am) and much more besides in coming weeks. These social events are always great fun and it’s a good time to bring along new faces as they can obtain day visitor cards for these events. If they enjoy it perhaps they’ll join up as members!

Theatre Upstairs update

As you know, we received money from the Beit Trust to upgrade Theatre Upstairs. So far,. We have repaired the air conditioning and for the first time in years it’s cool in (not to mention cool to be in) this venue. New seats have been installed and further work will include cleaning, repairs, repainting, new carpeting and a new dressing room. Theatre Upstairs is a splendid venue now made much more comfortable and welcoming, so come along to enjoy what is being staged there now and in coming months.

Exco roles … some changes

Further to last month’s notice of who’s who on Exco, there have been one or two changes of portfolio. Stan Higgins remains chairman and also chairs the Marketing and Publicity Committee, while Sue Bolt remains vice chairman and chairs the Production committee. Other portfolios include: Tim Garrard (Membership and Member Relations), Marc Thomas (Training and Development), PJ Smyth (Stage Director and chairing the Backstage committee), Sue McMillan (Finance), Ryan Lawrence (IT), Jenni Ferguson (Bar Management and Social Events), Mike Blackburn (Technical Management) and Mike Southall (Performing Arts Sector liaison). John Bonney as Theatre Manager more or less runs the Office and Property Management portfolio on a day to day basis and will involve members in various roles as and when needed.


There’s always lots of thanks to given in Reps, but here’s just a few: Thanks to Linda Hyde for doing such a sterling job running the technical side during HIFA … she did a wonderful job and in her usual fashion made sure things went smoothly and efficiently. Thanks to Jane Burne and Daniel Mason for running The Spotlight during May, while Innocent Museve is on leave. Thanks to the staff (all of them) for their co-operation and hard work before, during and after HIFA, all of which made the staging of the HIFA festival on our premises much easier. Thanks to all the people who are volunteering to come along for move in and move sessions for shows … always valuable and always valued (others are welcome to come along, too, as many hands make light work). Thanks to Renee Dance and her team at Chelmsford Manor for keeping the grass on pavements around Reps trimmed so regularly. Thanks to Sue Charnley and her team for making so much progress on transforming our garden areas. Thanks to Mike Blackburn for the work going on the members’ bar to do with lighting. Thanks to everyone who does something for Reps and helps make this society run so well!

Do you know …

… the whereabouts of our Theatre Foundation Members and some of our older Life Members? Many of the people in these categories have moved off elsewhere and we don’t know how to contact them. Some have also, sadly, passed away, but we have not heard officially and have not been able to update our lists accordingly. If you have news and information about any of them please alert Philippa in the Reps office … and if you need to know who these people are check out Philippa’s list which she has on her desk.

Cats … backstage but not on stage!

No it’s not the Andrew Lloyd Webber variety but the real ones … and we need help for them. A small family of cats has moved into the Reps property and this is excellent news in helping keep down the rat population. Chairman Stan Higgins would like to get help, however, in keeping them fed (supplementarily) and watered, so if one or two cat lovers out there would like to become involved in an informal cat caring scheme, please let him know. It’s great to have cats but we need to temporarily catch them and have them neutered (any vets who would like to volunteer), and we need to make sure they have some nibbles and water to keep them in good condition. They are wary of humans, which is not a bad thing, but enjoy the little help being given by members who bring a little food along for them.

Bar screen advertising opportunities

The lovely bar screens in the members bar are available for people to place advertising on … it costs only $35 a month and all you need to do is contact Ursula Gripper to get signed up for a month, a year, a lifetime … the choice is yours. Ursula can be contacted at She can advise how advertisers benefit and sign them up, as well as work with advertisers to get their artwork up on screen.

Until next month stay warm and well

Reps Exco

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