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February 5, 2014

RST Twelfth Night poster and flyer.inddI WAS saddened to hear that a grand total six candidates turned up for Romford Summer Theatre, ‘ Twelfth Night audition on Tuesday.

However things may change as there is another one this Thursday, Feb 6 at Fairkytes in Billet Lane Hornchurch starting at 8pm.

I cannot think of any particular reason but there may have been a contributing factor.

It came in a note announcing the auditions but also mentioned that unpopular subject at the moment – money.

For years the Romford Summer Theatre (RST) has made a charge to the actors to cover room hire and costumes, which being Shakespeare, the hire of respectable clothing to befit the play is not cheap, but like a lot of theatrical societies, RST is now feeling the pinch.

With so many groups all trying to raise funds, the pot is running dry, so they  need help.

Romeo and Juliet 2009The usual fee to actors is still only £30 to cover rehearsal room hire and go towards the hire of clothing.

( left. Romeo and Juliet. 2009)

(left below. Much ado. 2006)

Unfortunately this year,  it has been shown that does not go anywhere near enough, so as they need more cash, the plan is for a small charge per rehearsal. Not everyone is needed at each but considering they hold three a week for up to 10 weeks, it does add up.

Much Ado 2006

The answer is of course, if you want quality?

Speaking to some people who regard their contribution to be the time and expense individually put into a show, it does seem a lot, but the alternative is no show.

Comedy of Errors - June 2013In the past the only reason for that has been the weather as the plays are performed outdoors in Raphael Park’s Rockery. (left Comedy of Errors 2013)

Seeing as the group have been performing successfully for more than five decades, this little glitch should be seen as just that.

At a time when money is short, digging a little deeper is not a lot to ask for such a unique piece of theatre.

Alls's Well 2008(left. All’s Well 2008) Obviously not all would agree, but can we afford to lose this little piece of exclusive Havering?

Twelfth Night runs for seven performances from Thursday June 19 to Saturday June 21 with a family matinee on Sunday June 22 and Thursday June 25 to Saturday June 28. Tickets are £10 each with £8 concessions and can be booked online at

From → Entertainment

  1. Rather than charge the actors per rehearsal, which seems a little unfair, have RST considered running fundraising events like other amateur groups?


  2. Although RST have never asked for contributions from their company members at the weekly rehearsals, this is common practice amongst many of the other groups in the local area who also charge a production fee and, in some cases, an annual membership fee. This decision was carefully considered by members of the committee, who are all members of other local groups, so based their decision on existing knowledge of local charges. The main challenge RST face is that, unlike other local drama groups, we can not guarantee the number of performances we will be able to stage as poor weather will result in cancellations. Our costs are also far higher as we have to hire in fencing, seating, lights and other equipment, which is usually included when booking a standard venue, such as a theatre. Over the last few years we have managed to keep our fees lower than other groups thanks to the generous corporate sponsorship we have received from CBHC Chartered Accountants, a local firm. However, costs keep rising and we have to be realistic about meeting them. We also only stage one production a year and do not have a regular body of members, so fundraising activities rely on the involvement of just a few people, our committee, who already take responsibility for managing the delivery of productions each year. We do, however, hold the occasional quiz night and operate a ‘Friends’ scheme, which is open to all. For only £5 a year, members of the scheme are entitled to a discount on their individual ticket purchase for shows, receive two newsletters from the group and also contribute to supporting the survival of the company. More information on the scheme can be found on our website;


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