An Arts Richmond Event
Arts Richmond Annual Report April 2019-March 2020
Annual Report April 2019-March 2020
Monday 6 July 2020 - Thursday 31 December 2020
April 2019-March 2020
This year saw us move into our own office space at ETNA. Although the room is small we have benefitted from the freedom that single occupancy brings in the form of phone calls and conversations in particular. Linda Hansell, our creative and indefatigable Administrative Officer has recruited three office volunteers, Amy Cottell, Deborah Biasoli and Emma Brown whose contributions to our progress, especially with social media, have been immense. We have been able to increase our direct contact with affiliated societies and members and have become an active presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Since supporting and promoting the enterprise of our affiliates is a core activity for us, these technological advances are enormously important. We are very grateful to this team.
However, none of us dreamed quite how important such advances were going to be. The impact of Corona virus and the lockdown measures implemented third week of March 2020 led to painful postponements and cancellations of events. Undaunted, the determined efforts of Linda White, Linda Hansell and Jean Wit led to the seamless continued production of our newsletter. Suddenly we had no events to list or report but Linda White worked on collecting reports from affiliates, finding listings for virtual streamings from national providers and generally maintaining a high level of content and interesting material. We have been running a virtual art gallery, a weekly creative challenge, a busy poetry section, managed by Anne Warrington and, thanks to Howard Greenwood, a monthly music column. So much for not being busy under lockdown! Linda Hansell has been running Arts Richmond from her kitchen table and we are hugely grateful to her for her commitment and unfailing good humour.
Although not strictly within the remit of this report we need to record with great sadness the sudden death of Lynn Faulds Wood, one of our joint presidents, on April 24th 2020. Lynn was a national figure but took immense interest in local affairs and we are so grateful that she was able to spend time with us and play such a dynamic part in some of our events. We extend our most sincere condolences to her husband, John Stapleton, who remains our President until the AGM in July.
Sadly this year also saw the death at Christmas time (22nd December 2019) of our much loved immediate past Chairman, David Ward. David was a generous, warm-hearted man with a wonderful sense of humour. He was immensely learned in the world of literature and libraries but never failed to support others in all areas of our activities. His commemoration event planned for May 2020 was a casualty of the lockdown but there will definitely be an occasion in the future when we can mark his passing appropriately. We send John Coombs, his lifelong partner, our most sincere condolences.
You will find reports from all our busy sub-committees elsewhere in this report and we hope very much that many of you have enjoyed the events they describe. We are grateful to Linda White (Visual Arts), Anne Warrington (Literature), Gillian Thorpe (Drama) and Janet Langhorne (Showcoach) for the reports and for all their hard work through the year. Their commitment and dedication to Arts Richmond are enormously valued. The Music sub-committee has not undertaken an event in this year but is now involved in planning for a Jazz Festival and an Opera Festival, hopefully both for 2021.
Our Executive Committee works hard in pursuit of our objective to disseminate information and promote engagement in the huge range of arts events and activities produced by our affiliated groups and societies. In furtherance of the same objective, we also promote a number of events ourselves as evidenced in this report.
2. Management and membership
We are grateful to our trustees, Clive Bradley, Cllr. John Coombs, Sandra Green, Howard Greenwood and, until his death, David Ward, who have met regularly to scrutinise the finances and output of the charity. They will appoint a fifth trustee to join them for 2020 onwards.
The Executive Committee benefits from the work of five sub-committees: Drama, Literature (with Poetry), Music, Showcoach and Visual Arts.
We meet our society representatives and members formally at the AGM and informally at many functions throughout the year.
Jean Wit. Anne Warrington and Gillian Thorpe were re-elected to the committee at the 2019 AGM.
We are pleased that two people have been co-opted on to the Executive this year. They are Nick George from Instant Opera and Cllr. Nancy Baldwin. We look forward to their election at the AGM 2020. In addition, three serving councillors have been appointed to serve on the Executive: they are Cllr. Lesley Pollesche, Cllr. Jim Millard and Cllr. Humphreys. We look forward very much to working with them.
3. Communication and Publicity
As already mentioned, Linda White continues to produce our monthly What’s On Newsletter. We are enormously grateful to her for her commitment and total reliability. 1,000 copies are printed each month and distributed to councillors, the libraries and the Visit Richmond outlets. The electronic version is widely distributed to our affiliates.
The newsletter regularly runs to 8 pages – evidence of the numerous activities of our affiliated societies and the importance they attach to inclusion of their events in our publicity. The distribution of flyers through the newsletter is an important part of our service to our affiliates.
The website continues to be an important communication tool. Linda Hansell, has become skilled in uploading information and in ensuring our information appears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She has added the use of Mailchimp to her list of skills this year which has helped enormously with distribution issues.
Over 140 local organisations are currently affiliated to Arts Richmond. This is an enormous increase on last year’s figure (100) and entirely due to the determined efforts of Linda and her team.
We could not manage without our loyal group of ‘stuffers’ who meet every month to ensure the distribution of the flyers in the newsletter. They are Zeena Clark, Heather Morgan, Jill Sutherland, Janet Langhorne, Linda White, Rosalind Potter, Peter Calvert, John Coombs, Jenny Mason, Graham Nugent and Julia Corker. During the year, Joan Heath, having reached the age of 101, decided to step down. We miss her very much and are grateful to her for all her stuffing years!
We are indebted to Jean Wit, our Assistant Treasurer who continues to volunteer in the office two days a week. In addition to her finance work, Jean is our main proof reader and critical friend and is a hugely important member of the team.
4. Partnership with LBRuT
This year Arts Richmond and the voluntary sector membership of the Arts Advisory Panel, met to work on our contribution to the projected LBRuT Cultural Strategy 2020 onwards, which we understood to be in preparation. We look forward to reinstating the full Advisory Committee with the crucial involvement of the borough Arts Service as soon as possible.
We made a significant contribution to the annual LBRuT Literature Festival 2019.
5. Visual Arts (Acting Chair: Hilary Dodman)
Committee members: Linda White, Sue Ribbans, John Coombs, Heather Montford.
Arts Richmond hosted a Photography Exhibition at Richmond and Hillcroft Adult and Community College (RHACC), Parkshot Campus, Parkshot, Richmond Upon Thames, TW9 2RE from Monday 5 May to 12 May 2019. Varied and high-quality photographs were submitted and displayed in the light and airy Atrium of Richmond and Hillcroft Adult and Community College.
Affordable Art Tent
Once again, Arts Richmond invited members of either Arts Richmond or its affiliated societies to submit their artwork (priced at under £100) or greetings cards to be sold at the vibrant Richmond May Fair on Saturday 11 May 2019. We are pleased to say that many artists brought their work and their greetings cards which depicted a wide range of subjects and in a wide range of media.
It was decided by the Visual Arts sub-committee that it would be good to host an evening during which artists could meet and hear about all the planned art events in the coming year but also to socialise and network with both Arts Richmond and other creative people. This evening happened on Wednesday 23 October 2019 at the ETNA Centre. A great many artists came and heard about what exciting art projects were planned for the coming year.
The Diana Armfield Prize for Drawing from Observation
For the second year running we hosted the Diana Armfield Competition from Tuesday 25 February until Monday 2 March 2020. It was held at the charming and atmospheric Barn Church, 41 Atwood Avenue, Kew TW9 4HF that was constructed from many parts of an ancient Surrey barn. 58 artists sent in their work and 104 drawings in total were displayed. The Private View was held on Thursday 27 February 2020 and the many artists and their friends who came heard an inspiring talk by Diana Armfield, who also presented the prizes after she was introduced by Cllr. John Coombs.
6. Literature (Acting Chair: Hilary Dodman)
(Acting Chair: Hilary Dodman)
Committee members: Peter Cregeen, Heather Montford, Anne Warrington, Jean Wit, Gillian Thorpe, Clive Bradley
Young Writers Competition March 2020
Over 600 entries were received from our borough schools covering Reception through to Year 10. This year with the help of Dr Jonathan Gibbs, Director of Creative and Professional Writing at St Mary’s University, and his English degree students, these were whittled down to 50 finalists per age group. We are grateful to Guy Jones (Orange Tree Theatre), Elizabeth Ryan (Hampton Library), Anne Beach (retired English teacher) and Anne Warrington for selecting the final 16. The Awards Ceremony once more took place at Twickenham’s Exchange Theatre attended by all the finalists and their families. Keith Wait organised and directed three young professional actors to perform the final 16 short-listed pieces. These dramatized readings as usual provided a most entertaining and thought provoking afternoon thoroughly enjoyed by all. Laureates in the senior and junior age groups were nominated. As part of their role they will be asked to attend and review a number of events throughout 2020 “It is always refreshing to read a review written by a young writer.”
The Book Picnic May 2019
Our special guest speaker this year was the nationally renowned poet, Roger McGough. Not only were we treated to a delightful sprinkling of his own poems, but he also presented prizes to the winning poets of our first Roger McGough Poetry Competition. Most of the winners and runners -up were present at the Picnic and read their poems to an appreciative audience. Roger McGough has kindly granted permission to lend his name to future Roger McGough Poetry Competitions. An Anthology of the winning forty poems was printed and each poet named on the long list received a free copy.
November Literature Festival 2019
We held four events at this year’s Literature Festival, three of which were held at Duke Street Church and presented the distinguished authors: Antonia Fraser in conversation with Anne Sebba on her new book ‘The King of the Catholics’; Kate Williams in conversation with York Membery on her new book ‘Rival Queens’; Katie Hickman on her new book ‘She-Merchants, Buccaneers and Gentlewomen’. All three events were extremely well attended. The fourth event, ‘Re-Writing The Climate’ was presented jointly by poets Polly Atkin and Matthew Griffiths, supported by a group of accomplished poetry readers, and was held at The Noel Coward Suite, Hampton Hill Theatre. We were delighted to see a number of students from St. Mary’s University in attendance.
The Poetry Hub 2019-2020
Reading of Anthology Poems
As a follow on from the Roger McGough Poetry Competition a further poetry event was organised that took place at The Mary Wallace Theatre. Poets and other experienced poetry readers read all forty long-listed poems from our new published Anthology, ‘About Time’.
Committee members: Gillian Thorpe (Chair), Sue Bell, Laurie Coombs, Benedict Dias, Hilary Dodman and Anne Warrington. The committee received much help during the year from Pam Frazer.
2019-2020 was another action-packed year for the drama committee.
The Swan Awards 2019
The Annual Swan Awards Gala took place in September at The Landmark Arts Centre, where we were delighted to welcome Sally Phillips as our celebrity guest presenter. She and the Mayor of Richmond Upon Thames, Cllr Nancy Baldwin, kept the atmosphere lively and helped to create a highly enjoyable event. Over 190 people attended. The judges attended 41 productions encompassing 53 shows (when taking into account multiple casts) during the course of the acting year (Sept 18 - July 19). A fifth were musicals or pantos and almost a quarter of all productions involved children and young people – a very encouraging sign for the longevity of local theatre.
Out of 62 nominations, 17 Awards were presented plus the Judges Award and The Accolade which this year was awarded to Jackie Howting of Edmundian Players.
The new design for the Swan Awards trophies, designed by Sue Ribbans and produced by Laurie Coombs, was much admired.
The Swan Awards are a very integral part of Arts Richmond’s year and they would not have been possible without the hard work of the judges for 2019-2020: John Bellamy, Sue Bell, Pip Egan, Stephen Leslie, Warren Walters and Keith Wait. We are very fortunate to have such dedicated and hardworking people on our team.
SWAP, the ‘mentoring’ scheme for new judges continued to flourish under the expert guidance of Anne Warrington with sterling support from Keith Wait. Mentee Benedict Dias joined the judging panel for 2019-2020 taking the place of Stephen Leslie who stepped down. We continue to be grateful to all the societies for providing complimentary tickets to the participants.
Hilary Dodman organised a social event in July for past and present Judges to meet the Executive to further their understanding of the work they do and the time and commitment it requires.
We couldn’t do such a great job without the financial support of Kay Williams for which we are all very grateful. We would also like to thank Sara Burn Edwards and Colin Squire (Squires Garden Centre).
This event was held on 19th January 2020, principally to discuss the Swan Awards with affiliates but also to address the urgency of acquiring new Judges for the Awards and to discuss the future of the New Plays Festival. 23 people attended, with representation from at least 15 societies. Comments about the scheme and the 2019 event in particular were overwhelmingly positive. Probably the principal concern was about the ticket price, though there was still enthusiasm for a formal black-tie event. It was also suggested that all the nominations citations should be displayed at the event. Keith Wait addressed various issues about the regulations. There was then discussion about recruitment of new Judges, vital to the future of the Awards. It was agreed that the committee would initiate a strong campaign, including on social media, to acquire new Judges. In fact this produced 9 applications to become new judges, of which 2 are required for the 2020-2021 season.
New Plays Festival
The New Plays Festival 2020 was launched in April 2019 but the response from writers associated with societies was sparse. After taking input from affiliates, who were still enthusiastic about the project, it was decided to postpone the Festival until the following year and open it up to a wider community, including colleges, and remove the requirement to pre-allot a society with whom to produce eventual finalist plays. Regrettably the Festival had to be once again postponed because of the effects of the corona virus pandemic and is now planned for launch in spring 2021.
We are hoping that the Swan Awards Gala Event will go ahead as planned on September 20th 2020, but this will depend on the coronavirus situation.
Nancy Baldwin, Richmond's Mayor in 2019-2020, will be a very welcome new member of the Drama Committee.
We have been very pleased to see the increased involvement of the member societies with our social media. One reason for the increase was the creation of our "special mention of the day" on all three of our social media platforms linked to when a society uploads an event. We hope to see even more production information uploaded to the website once a new season can be announced.
(Chair: Janet Langhorne Committee Members: Jean Wit, Linda White, Heather Morgan, Hilary Dodman)
We had booked a Behind the Scenes Tour of the Royal Albert Hall. A low response meant that we had to cancel this event but fortunately we did not make a loss on our booking
A party of 10 visited Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery (near Ealing) in the morning and then onto St Mary's Church, Perivale. Here we were given a talk on the history of the church followed by a Piano Recital given by local musicians. This was a very successful day
This was our trip to Yorkshire for an insight into the History and Heritage of the West Riding over 4 days/ 3 nights. This was a most enjoyable trip organised with the help of Heritage Travel and all 29 of us had a really good time seeing so many interesting places. It was also a great opportunity for making new friends. We were based in Harrogate where we had a walking tour. Amongst the places we visited were Burghley House, Salts Mill, Saltaire, Harewood House, Ripon Cathedral and Wakefield.
Finally on our way home we visited the National Memorial Arboretum, a very moving and special place at which to end our trip.
This was our annual visit to Chichester Festival Theatre. This year over 40 of us were able to see a great performance of Oklahoma which made, as always, a very enjoyable day out. As there was no pre-show talk this year it also gave us more time to explore the city and have a leisurely lunch.
The Proms This was a return visit requested by many who had been the previous year. We had a high demand for tickets to see Yuja Wang (the world famous pianist) playing Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No 3 in D minor followed by a performance of Brahms Symphony No 2 in D major.
All 15 of us had a wonderful evening!
Our second visit to Glyndebourne this time was included in our Heritage of Sussex tour. This year it was to see Rigoletto a very different kind of production. We visited Hever Castle on our way to East Grinstead where we spent 2 nights/3 days. The second day we visited Farley’s House and Gallery which was the home of the famous American photographer, Lee Miller, and her artist husband Roland Penrose. This was an amazing place to see, full of works by Picasso, Max Ernst and many others just hanging there in their house! Some of us were fortunate to meet their son Anthony Penrose who now looks after their estate. Following this we spent a short time in Lewes before going on to Glyndebourne where we arrived in our finery but in the pouring rain! On our last day we visited Batemans, a lovely NT property before returning home. All 23 members said they had had a wonderful time and want to go back yet again!
This was an East End walk led by a very knowledgeable Blue Badge Guide starting at the Whitechapel Art gallery. We visited Petticoat Lane, Brick Lane, Shoreditch and Spitalfields. At the end of the walk the “icing on the cake” was a delicious lunch in a very typical East End pub. All 15 of us thoroughly enjoyed learning about a fairly unfamiliar area of London
This was an evening outing by coach up to Sadler's Wells to see Matthew Bourne's production of The Red Shoes ballet to the music by Bernard Herrmann. We were sold out for this very popular show and the 30 of us who went had a brilliant evening in our very good Stalls seats. This was a lovely pre- Christmas occasion.
We had a visit to the British Museum for a talk about and a free flow tour of the Troy Myth and Reality Exhibition. There were 15 people signed up to this day and all said they enjoyed seeing and learning more about this mythical legend.
A trip to the Royal Festival Hall to hear the Philharmonia Orchestra in an afternoon of Russian music under the direction of their Principal Conductor Designate Santtu-Matias Rouvali. This was the weekend of the horrendous storm which made transport very difficult. However 10 of us made and it was a really amazing concert.
A visit to the Saatchi Gallery to see the Tutankhamun Exhibition, Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh. Unfortunately although 20 people had booked for this exciting visit, it was less than a week before Lockdown started and many of us decided not to go. The members who did go enjoyed their visit.
That brings me to the end of a very interesting year of Showcoach visits.
I hope everyone who has been on one or more of them has found their time well spent and will encourage others to join us.
I would like to say a big thank you to all my team who help me in deciding destinations and organising these visits.
Unfortunately, there will be no further trips or visits in the foreseeable future until such activities are declared safe.
9. Assuring quality for members and funders
This is achieved through:
- Formal feedback forms and questionnaires.
- Messages via our Website and other social media channels
- Views expressed at such forums as the Arts Advisory Panel and other meetings
- Our sub-committees meeting regularly to consider members’ views and expectations and take them into consideration when instigating projects and planning for future events.
- Our office being open for contacts and prompt responses every day from 9.30am to 12.30pm
We are enormously grateful to Lynn Faulds Wood and John Stapleton for their generous support of Arts Richmond both before they took office as Presidents and throughout this year. As mentioned earlier, Lynn’s sudden death in April 2020 was a dreadful blow.
We welcome the Right Honourable Sir Vincent Cable and his wife, Lady Rachel Cable as our Presidents 2020-2021 and look forward very much to working closely with them.
We gratefully acknowledge the support of Kay Williams and the David King Trust and are grateful to Squires Garden Centre, Richmond Shakespeare Society, Teddington Theatre Club, BROS, Nicky Browne, Emma Durnford, Pam Frazer and others for their generous donations to our annual raffles. We are also very grateful to our anonymous donors.
Hilary Dodman Chairman, July 2020
Richmond-upon-Thames Arts Council
Joint Presidents 2019-2020 Lynn Faulds Wood and John Stapleton
Vice Presidents: John Coombs, Pam Frazer, Sandra Green, Edie Purdue
Officers and Executive 2019-2020
Chair Hilary Dodman
Treasurer Simon Bartlett
Assist Treasurer Jean Wit
Administrative Officer: Linda Hansell
Executive Members: Cllr. Geoff Acton
Pam Frazer (VP)
Cllr. Jim Millard
Cllr. Lesley Pollesche
Cllr Jo Humphreys
Co- opted Members
Sue Ribbans (Visual Arts)
Clive Bradley (Literature)
Laurie Coombs (Drama)
2013 Anne Sebba
2014 Dame Jacqueline Wilson
2015 Clive Bradley CBE
2016 Sara Burn Edwards/ Howard Greenwood BEM
2018-2019 Roger McGough
Sir David Attenborough OM, CH,KBE
Sara Burn Edwards
Sir Vincent Cable MP and Lady Cable
Michael Frayn & Claire Tomalin
Julian Glover & Isla Blair
Howard Greenwood BEM
Sir Jeremy Hanley KCMG
His Honour Bernard Marder
Sir Trevor McDonald
Roger McGough CBE
Lady Camilla Panufnik
Colin Squire OBE
Sam Walters MBE
& Auriol Smith
Convenor of patrons: Sara Burn Edwards