Seahouses Probus Club

The chairman of Seahouses Probus Club, Bryan Crawford, opened the meeting and wished those of us with upcoming birthdays his best wishes.

We then listened to our secretary and treasurer’s reports, both of which chronicled satisfactory progress.

Fraser Suffield, our secretary, then introduced our speaker, Gillian Hambleton, to give a talk entitled Theatre/The Work of Northumberland Theatre Company.

She is the artistic director of this theatre company which is a small touring company based in the Alnwick Playhouse.

In 2012, the Arts Council of England cut all funding completely and nine out of the 12 touring companies closed.

However, Northumberland Touring Company (NTC) decided that after nearly 40 years they were not going to just roll over and give up and that, despite the difficulty of finding funds to pay a professional ensemble, they would continue to put on plays for the whole of Northumberland, particularly to those more remote areas where the population will have difficulty getting to live theatrical entertainment.

They also occasionally travel well out of the area into the far flung reaches of England and Scotland.

We learnt much about the problems encountered in some of the less spacious village halls, the difficulties of keeping the NTC’s financial head above water and the kindness of people who have made large and small donations.

Apparently some funding is now available for performing new writing and the NTC is currently performing 4 Thoughts, a suite of four new plays by young writers, at various venues during March.

We were finally fortunate to be given readings from two of the company’s productions and it must be said that judging from them they are well worth going to see.

After a question and answer session, Brian Brand gave the vote of thanks for an absorbing and most entertaining talk.