Pittsfield Players

Board of Directors Meeting

June 24, 2004   7 pm

Scenic Theatre


  1. The meeting was called to order at 7:05 pm. Present at the meeting was Meggin Dail, Maye Hart, Mo Demers, Jan Pinard and TJ Rand. Guests were Tracy Remington and Jenna King.
  2. The Secretary’s report was accepted as read.
  3. The Treasurer’s report was accepted as read.
  4. In OLD BUSINESS, the Board discussed the Costume Shop. Jan reported that items borrowed by Pembroke Academy were mostly back, and that she will get the rest shortly. We discussed items signed out without authorization from Jan or a Board member, but agreed that nothing would be done about the non-authorized borrowing at this time. It was agreed that as soon as we’re done cleaning up the costume area, it will be fenced off and locked to avoid unauthorized borrowing. We then discussed a plan for cleaning the area with Tracy Remington, Jan and others on July 5th. It was agreed that within the week those who want to work on the clean up will be contacted by Jan and they will go to work. We also discussed putting some items up for sale on ebay, and Jenna offered to do some of that. (The Board then went off the record briefly.)

      The Board then discussed plans for painting the front of the theater June 26 and 27. Maye reported that she has bought the paint, brushes, etc. and they are in the lobby. Meggin reported that Joel and Ernie would be getting together on Friday to discuss logistics. Maye reported that Stan Bailey would be coming by to pressure wash the first and second floors of the façade before painting. It was agreed that even if it rained, those who showed up would work on cleaning out the Gray building. It was also agreed that the Players would provide pizza, rather than a barbeque, for those who showed up to help out.

     The Board discussed the fire prevention report from Chief Stickney, which is a review of what he went over with the Board at the May meeting.  It was agreed that our permit to operate would be framed and put in the lobby. The Fire Department has given us a deadline of October to install a second set of stairs, but we may have to ask for an extension. We agreed that if we go back to them with a concrete plan, we may be able to extend the deadline. A discussion ensued regarding the staircase and whether we should go all out and build an addition on the back of the building. We discussed what we might want to see in an addition, such as more storage space, a bathroom, a slop sink for paint, etc. The Board discussed obtaining a mortgage on the building to pay for an addition should it become necessary. We then decided to get some quotes on building a staircase (addition). Maye recommended a contractor, Darren Finch, as a starting point. Mo said she would contact Mr. Finch and we would go from there.

In other building discussions, no progress was reported on adding a heater to the theater. No progress was reported on pre-buy of fuel. It was agreed that Joel would have a look at the toilet on the second floor that is continually running. The Board discussed improving the lighting in the interior lobby sometime between now and the fall. We talked about adding some track lighting and we discussed contacting Gerry Russo, an electrician, to handle the project, as well as to get us a quote on removing old wiring from the lighting booth and back stage as requested by the Fire Department. Jim Hart reported via letter on the structural progress. “The floor upstairs has been raised about ¼” so far. Because the timbers forming the upside down V in the center of the truss in the attic had twisted over the years and may not straighten, I am going to put tapered shims in the gaps so that the weight is distributed evenly across the entire timber. I have not yet mapped out the other areas of the floor to determine any other low spots.”

In Show Updates, TJ reported that he had a successful production meeting on June 16, and that all is well with 1776.

No progress was reported on THE ABDUCTION for winter 2005.

No progress was reported on PRIVATE LIVES for spring 2005.

Mo reported that she has so far gotten no feedback in response to the newsletter article regarding Competition in 2005. She did report that John Tousignant might be interested in becoming involved as he has a one act play that might be good for this venue. Jenna talked briefly about THE UGLY DUCKLING, which she said was a large costume one act that might be good to use for competition. Mo said that so far she has had no proposals from anyone interested in directing the competition entry.

Maye reported no progress with THE KING AND I, JR. for the Children’s Workshop in 2005.

Meggin reported that she had been in contact with Peggi McCarthy, who is from Phillips Exeter Academy, regarding a three person Christmas Show. Peggi would come in a direct the show, she has the rights to the production, and she would cast three of our members in the roles. She has costumes as well as set. Originally, it was going to cost us $1500, but that was with the actors, so it might be a little less for us. She asked that the show run on Saturday, December 11, for two shows –matinee and evening. We will handle lights and publicity. Meggin will continue to coordinate with her as we approach the date. A motion was made to accept the offer of this show from Peggi McCarthy and to spend up to $1500 for expenses. The motion passed unanimously.

TJ reported that ENCORE! 2004 would be opening at Steele Hill on Tuesday, June 29, and that the Players have purchased a new piano for their use at Steele Hill. He felt that all is really well and that it will be a good show.

In NEW BUSINESS, the Board discussed the final draft of the Production Manual, which also includes a Code of Ethics. It was agreed that we would all take one more pass at it in the next two week, and then we would go to press. Jenna also offered to proofread it for us. Meggin asked that we look for consistency in capitalization and terminology. It was agreed that comments would be in to Meggin by July 8th.

In our Annual Meeting Review, TJ read an unedited version of his President’s Report, which the Board felt probably should have been read at the meeting instead of the edited version. We then discussed ways that “we could do better.” We talked about making ourselves more available, and how to get interested members and members who had a differing opinion than the Board to the meetings to discuss the differences. We talked about the Board’s responsibility as far as controlling various situations at the Scenic, and how we can’t use regulations to create a feeling of inclusion, a feeling of the Players’ being a family. We discussed the problem of factions within the group, and ways to prevent it from becoming even more of a problem.  We all agreed that we need to encourage new folks like Jenna and Tracy to continue their interest in the Players, and that we need to make new members feel less intimidated and more at home with the Players. As a Board, we renewed our commitment to do better.

The Board then moved to a discussion of the crisis with the building across the street and how we could get additional storage space. Apparently the Gray building has been broken into again, and the roof is collapsing. We discussed contacting Steve Aubertin regarding rental of the space next door, and it was agreed that Meggin and TJ would work on that contact.

We then discussed lighting. Jim Hart reported through a letter that he has not had time to do a lighting inventory yet, but that he hopes to do it when he is installing additional light bars. His letter reported “I have to cut off the 1 ¼” diameter steel rods in the attic to get three 1 ½” long pieces, then drill and tap them for smaller rods. These will then be screwed into coupling nuts screwed on the rods on theatre ends. As soon as this is done I’ll contact Ross Morse, who has agreed to help, and arrange to put up the new bars. They will probably go up some evening in July. I have no time to work on rearranging and painting the lighting booth right now. The old fireproof walls need to come down and sheet rock put up in order to do it properly. I want to move all of the heavy cords and other infrequently used stuff into the attic, but this can’t be done until the attic is cleaned up.” We discussed the need for a locked cabinet in the lighting booth for headsets and other equipment, Jim also reported via letter “There are now four new Motorola headsets in the lighting booth. I also acquired a case for all of the headsets so they don’t get damaged. People need to remove the batteries and out the headsets back in the case after the last show. Because the batteries last so much longer than in the old headsets, we should keep them and use them for rehearsals for the next show and then replace them on opening night. The new headsets are compatible with the ones that Ernie bought if you use quiet code 0. This will turn off this feature, which is really useful for cutting off all interference from outside parties. I would suggest using the headsets with the quiet code turned on if you don’t need more than four headsets. Note that the Board originally requested three more headsets, but the Motorola units only came in pairs.”

The Board then discussed the possibility of purchasing sound equipment, due to the fact that Jim Hart always has to set up his equipment in order to do sound, and TJ thinks we should have our own equipment for audio. It was decided that Jim would get a price for a snake and a mixer and let us know how much it would cost. We also talked about the importance of treating this equipment carefully, by covering the connectors on the snake under the stage, and not getting any sawdust in it, etc. We then discussed the need for there to be “supreme commanders” over certain areas of production (like Jan Pinard for costumes and Jim Hart for light and sound) who would have to be there to take charge of every set strike for their area. Meggin also suggested that Board members might take responsibility for other areas, such as make-up, attic, and storage. No action was taken.

TJ brought up the suggestion that we should obtain logos from ACT and NHCTA, organizations that we belong to, and include those logos in out programs.

Mo reported that we have received our tax bill and that she will contact Elsie to see how to request abatement.

In OTHER BUSINESS, Jenna Van Valen King presented the Board with a very thorough proposal for the musical SHE LOVES ME, including a complete story line, a CD of the music for each Board member, a list of characters, ages, and royalty expenses. While she is not interested in directing the show, she loves the production and would like to see that Players include it in their program.  The Board will take a look at the show and respond shortly.

It was agreed that Joel should head up a clean-up of the third floor at his earliest convenience.

Jim Hart submitted a proposal to purchase 2 Crydom Solid State Relays for the dimmer packs, one to replace a failed unit and the other for a spare. They cost $56.49 each. The Board approved his request.

It was agreed that the Ad Campaign for 2005 needs to be on the agenda for the next meeting.

Jim Hart forwarded measurements to Jan Pinard for valences for the stage, which will be made out of the remainder of the fireproof material we used to make the new legs.

Mo reported that our insurance company has changed to Phoenix, as our former insurance company no longer handles this area. She reported that NHCTA has an insurance company that they use, and that she would like to see what that policy is like. Maye said that Jan O’Loughlin at the Paige Agency has been great, and Mo said that she will work with Jan to evaluate the NHCTA plan.

Meggin reported that Wolfeboro would like to borrow the Cyrano costumes from us for their production of MOON OVER BUFFALO. The Board okayed that loan. Meggin also asked to borrow western props for the Old Home Days Dance, which the Board also okayed. She says she will be contacting Players regarding helping out at the dance, as we did last year.

TJ said that the outside bunting needs to be replaced. A motion was made for Meggin to buy new bunting and it passed unanimously.

The Board discussed the Village Players’ venture into on-line ticket sales and any feedback from their first show ticket sales. Jenna reported that it seemed to go well for PIRATES OF PENZANCE, but many of the sales were from Brewster Academy parents who are from out of town and would not be able to purchase the tickets otherwise. She thought it would be more telling as to whether the on-line sales were working once MOON OVER BUFFALO was put through the same system. We decided to keep an eye on the outcome for them before we venture into the same system.

Meggin suggested that we have reserve seats for all of our shows, and the Board agreed.

TJ said that he would like to have the inside lobby painted before 1776. He will take care of finding a crew to do the job.

Jan volunteered to man the box office for the ENCORE! 2004 Old Home Days show. It is a 7 p.m. start.

The next meeting date is Thursday, July 22, 7 p.m. at the Scenic Theater.

The meeting adjourned at 9:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Maye Hart, Secretary