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News from the council

As our AGM has had to be postponed until later in the year the members of the council have compiled individual reports on their areas of responsibility’

Harriet Davey – Hon. Secretary

My routine jobs consist of attending Council Meetings which are held once a month – taking notes, preparing Minutes, correspondence and attending to various matters arising from meetings, general matters, Council Members’ requests etc. etc.

I also have to make sure every year that the Annual General Meeting arrangements and documentation are in order so that the meeting can take place, then attend the meeting to take notes and prepare the minutes.


2019 was a very busy year for the Stables as it was our Diamond Jubilee. I was very happy to be a member of the Stables Diamond Jubilee Committee which organised events for this special year ie. Anniversary Luncheon, Church Service of Thanksgiving, the booklet entitled “60 years of The Stables Theatre”, Little Theatre Guild conference, Gala evenings, the Christmas party, merchandise etc. Along with general matters I was in charge of arranging the Anniversary Luncheon held at the Powdermills Hotel in Battle on 16th June.This was a great success and enjoyed by all who attended; the special guest was our Patron Barbara Flynn who came down from London for the event and gave a very amusing speech with many references to the Theatre – she has been involved in The Stables since the age of 12!

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I did a lot, together with Tim Pearce, to organise and run the Little Theatre Guild three-day Conference; this took place at the Theatre at the end of September with an attendance of some 24 representatives from Little Theatre Guild theatres in the south-east.My job involved making many lists – of candidates and their details, events etc. and attending to the paperwork – mountains of paperwork! I filled a Stables tote bag for each attendee with items of interest regarding the Stables Theatre, the conference, the town of Hastings and surrounding area together with Stables 60th merchandise – these bags were all over the house for a week or so while I sorted things out!The conference was enjoyed by all (we had many letters of thanks) especially the trip to the Old Town to have a fish and chip lunch at Maggies.

Unfortunately, after all this I was unable to attend the conference as I was in hospital on the date.

pastedGraphic_4.pngThis year I got everything ready for the Stables Theatre Sparkling Celebration Draw (to be drawn on 4th July) of the necklace kindly made and donated by Barbara Flynn…. but of course this cannot now take place due to the Coronavirus situation.

Tickets will, however, be on sale and the draw will take place once the Theatre is able to re-open.

Since the end of March I have helped the Chairman as much as I can with the sad and daunting task of closing the Theatre down due to the Cornavirus pandemic and also keeping things generally up-to-date as far as is possible.

I also act as Membership Secretary which involves keeping the membership register up to date, collecting monthly payments and dealing with various problems.

I would just like to add that I thoroughly enjoy all I do for the Stables Theatre and am looking forward to seeing everyone there as soon as it is possible for the Theatre to re-open.


Mike Willard 
I am the DRP for the theatre (Designated Responsible Person) this means that it is my job to make sure that the Theatre is run according to the law and local authority rules. Quite an ask as I could be fined up to £2,000 with six month’s imprisonment if it all goes wrong!

As well as running the bar with the help of the excellent bar committee, I do some set building along with making props and illusions and attend to the repair and maintenance of the building and grounds. I also help to run the theatre training and safety courses. 

Last year I arranged for a new roof to be fitted over the bar area and for the gutters to be professionally cleaned, along with new up lighting to our signage and logo at the front of the theatre; this year so far I have fitted new stainless worktops in the bar and new heaters throughout the Theatre and helped with the fitting of a new CCTV system. 

Because of the enforced closure I have had to postpone the cleaning contract and bin emptying until further notice and we have cleared the bar and coffee shop of all short-dated food and taken it to a local food bank. We have checked the bar stock and removed some-short dated bottles. The set builders found a few free beers on their workbench!

In early March I produced a charity event to raise money towards prostate cancer research and robotic surgery at the Eastbourne General hospital. With the fantastic help of all concerned we raised a total of £2318!  This money is being delivered by our Treasurer and I have already had a thank you from Prostate Cancer UK. 

I look forward to seeing you all again when things return to normal.

Tim Pearce

2019 saw my 13th year of selection as a Member having served 8 of those years as Chairman.

Our new Chairman, Neil Sellman, who has worked tirelessly and extremely positively in his first year in post looking at every aspect of the Theatre’s activities, wisely chose to reinstate the system of forming a group of Councillors each of whom had a specific task related to a specific activity who could report at every monthly meeting to him and all fellow members so that the running of our Theatre was truly a well organised ‘Team Effort’.

To play my part in this effective team I have overseen/been aware of the formation of all the major aspects of Marketing, ie. advertising, publicity and budget control which are produced by extremely well qualified volunteers eg. Cliff Brooker – ‘What’s On’ and Posters/Publicity documents, Marketing guidance and support of Play Directors, Peter Mould – Photography, Countless members who have contributed to- social media, Henri Hayler – Budgets and financial control. 

With the day to day knowledge of the Chairman I have presented a verbal report at each of the Council Meetings this year.

In short, my task is to help find ways in which we keep the name of our Theatre on the lips of all our members and potential visitors.

My other regular contribution, performed alongside my wife Joan who does Tea/Coffee duties, is Front of House. This is an important role which enables me to judge first-hand the moods and likes and dislikes of our customers, ensure that they are aware of all upcoming shows, and report this information to the Council each month.

2019 was a memorable year as it was the 60th Anniversary. Early in the season a Sub-Committee was formed to organise the whole programme of special events to celebrate the year. As a member of this Sub-Committee I was involved in the organisation of all these events but, in particular, I arranged all the activities of the special Little Theatre Guild Southern meeting which was held at the Theatre in September. This involved booking the Local hotel facilities for the welcome night and the workshops and presentations for the Saturday and Sunday and slotting these into the main programme with the help of our very versatile and diligent Secretary, Harriet Davey.

In addition to having a specific title and job function each Council Member naturally helps where he/she is needed. Two specific examples. I organised the purchase and installation the new external Theatre Front Signage and Seahorse Theatre Logo which involved setting up the design with Cliff Brooker and establishing the installation characteristics with Mike Willard before locating and choosing the best supplier on economic and aesthetic grounds and the second was the purchase of the stainless steel which Mike Willard required to refurbish the inner counter of the bar; I was able to source this special material, which had to be tailor-made to Mike’s drawings from a local specialist (at half the normal retail price).

In conclusion I am happy to use my many years of experience as a businessman and one who has had a lifelong interest in ‘Theatre’ to serve as a Councillor to promote and support what is a well-run and extremely successful amateur theatre which is staffed by a team of volunteers with an extraordinary range of skills.

David Harding

I have been asked to consider any legal issues relevant to the running of the theatre.

Since my election I have dealt with the following:

1. Advising on and redrafting the Contract for The Hire of the Theatre by visiting individuals and companies with specific regard to professional productions.

2. Advising on and redrafting the Function Room Hire Agreement

3. Advising on, updating and redrafting the Theatre’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy documents including procedures and statements to meet the requirements of East Sussex County Council.

4. Considering and redrafting The Art Gallery Contract – ongoing project.

5. Advising on the procedure to ensure the legality of the Barbara Flynn necklace draw. Advising on the format of the tickets and appropriate publicity.

6. Perusing and advising on the Contract forwarded by the proposed suppliers of new automatic doors for the Theatre.

7. Assisting with advice on the essential requirements of the Annual General Meeting having regard to the relevant paragraphs of the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

I was the Chairman of the sub-committee formed to plan and arrange the events selected to celebrate the Theatre’s 60th Anniversary.  This included the hosting of the Annual Meeting of the Southern Region Little Theatre Guild held in September.

Cliff Brooker

Publicity encompasses just about everything the Stables presents to the public in published form, both off-line and on. This includes posters, flyers, programmes, exterior and pop-up banners, our “What’s On” publications (available to the general public as well as members) plus images for the website and Facebook.

Last year was a little different. Being our 60th anniversary we also wanted to remind people of what has been achieved over the theatre’s remarkable history. To this end we mounted an exhibition of 22 posters in the Gwen Watford Gallery and bar area representing a selection of the plays we have produced since our 50th anniversary in 2009, and we published a full-colour 20-page A4 history of the theatre. We also took the opportunity to revisit the external theatre signage; this was looking somewhat jaded having been in place for over 40 years and was in need of upgrading. The new signage (illuminated at night when the theatre is open) has been brought up-to-date in line with our current branding and now includes, prominently displayed, the much-loved and instantly-recognisable seahorse logo.

Soon we shall bring the display boards, listing every one of our productions since 1959, up to date (this has been temporarily postponed!) so you can see the remarkable range of shows we have presented over the past 60 years.

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