A Midsummer Night's Dream ©Dream Theatre Co 1998
When Brian Tugwell was first introduced to the spot overlooking the lake from the garden at Parham Park the word from Ray the head gardener was that this is a windy spot. Little did we realise that these words would return to haunt us. By the look of it the spot had all the hallmarks of a perfect natural amphiteatre, overlooking the lake with plenty of space for all the infrastructure of marquees, lighting towers, parking etc that we knew would be needed. The problem perceived would be the dazzling effect of the setting sun over the lake.
A Mid Summer Night's Dream - staged at Midsummer 1998
The weather was typically English, Wednesday night we had drizzle from 10, minutes into the second act, however we lost barely 20 of the 150 audience and that is a sign that those on stage were performing magic and holding the audience in their powers.
All credit goes to Bill Newman for gathering together a band of talented actors for what was a truly magical performance.
I shall go back to the early days for a moment; 8pm 22nd July 1997 at Brian Tugwells house, seven people gathered together for the first meeting of the 'Dream Team'. From this meeting many more meetings were held. We discussed what was needed, produced a budget costing and went from there.
Clare Faith went fourth valiantly into the world seeking first vast sponsorship, then small sponsorship, and finally all contributions anyone would give her. Congratulations must go to Clare for her spirit in respect of this sole destroying task. Gracious thanks must go to all those who gave Clare the benefit of the doubt and backed our endeavour.
Income & Expenditure was varied in respect of the circumstances envisaged and was finally fixed in April 1998. Tickets went on sale in March and receipts were beginning to come in. We had received sponsors / grant and Programme advertisers revenues, and had fixed the production costs by this time. The budget was initially produced, then updated weekly by our Treasurer, Steve Helme, who kept a strict eye on the actual & projected cashflow.
Rehearsals started with a vengeance in early March and from then on Penny Turner & Cynthia Taylor had taken the Casts vital statistics and commenced costume creation. As the weeks and months drew on monthly meetings turned into weekly, daily and hourly phone calls between members of the Dream Team until fever pitch was reached at 8am Saturday 20th July when the on site team first rolled up at Parham Park for what heralded the start of eight days. The sound, lighting, generator, toilets, marquee, costume, props, lighting towers, front of house facilities, signs etc. were all bought in throughout the day and by the Sunday evening we held a rehearsal on site, the first with all facilities available.
By the evening of the first night some discerning people had remarked that even the drizzle was not knocking the smile of the Treasurer's face. we had pre-sold over 900 tickets when we had budgeted for 600, and the costs had been contained to budget. By Saturday night 975 people had attended performances, of the total 1058 tickets sold.
Every night's performance was as good or better than the last and the Actors together with Aden Kerner's musicians from Boundstone School in Lancing made for a wonderful evenings entertainment.
A large pat on the back and a big thank you must go to all those involved in the acting, staging, backstage, front of house and logistical arrangements for the production. Many thanks also are due to all those who gave us Grant Aid, sponsorship, donations and took advertising space. Without the full commitment, that all parties gave, it would not have been half the show that it turned out to be.
We were able to present a substantial cheque to The Mary How Trust and a further cheque to Storrington Dramatic Society itself.