Stage society fundraising for its future

The Advertiser Series: CHANGING TIMES: Jean Burgess president of Spennymoor Stage and Song which is facing financial difficulties a year after celebrating its centenary CHANGING TIMES: Jean Burgess president of Spennymoor Stage and Song which is facing financial difficulties a year after celebrating its centenary

MEMBERS of an historic amateur operatic society are appealing for help so financial difficulties do not lead to its final curtain.

Faced with increased operating costs and dwindling revenue - a problem that has led to the demise of many societies - Spennymoor Stage and Song has an uncertain future.

A series of fundraising activities are planned in a bid to boost its coffers and ensure its survival.

Member Alex Wall said: “Over the years we have had many successes, this year however our future has become uncertain.

“We have pulled together as a society and 2014 will see us taking part in many fundraising activities to make sure the people of Spennymoor and surrounding areas will continue to be entertained by us.”

The need for a dramatic change in fortunes is a blow to members that comes on the back of one of the biggest years in its history.

In 2013 the society celebrated its 100th anniversary with special shows of Chess, at Spennymoor Town Hall, and The Sound of Music at The Gala, in Durham, and the National Operatic and Dramatic Association presented the group with a centenary certificate to mark the occasion.

In 1912 a group of musical theatre enthusiasts banded together for its first performance, Trial by Jury, in 1913, and formed Spennymoor Operatic Society.

At its height between the 1960s and 1980s the society was about 70 strong and today there are still almost 50 performers and behind-the-scenes volunteers.

Over the years its shows have moved with fashion from Gilbert and Sullivan and operettas to West End musicals and pantomimes and it was renamed Spennymoor Stage and Song.

Now members are preparing to put on a fundraising show called September Songs at Spennymoor Town Hall, on Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27.

De (correct) Hickson, treasurer and business manager, said: “Audiences have dropped and costs for everything have risen, it is nobody’s fault just a sign of the times that we have to pay more out but have less coming in.

“We’ve never really had to fundraise before but we will now have to earn our keep.

“We are all incredibly passionate about it, it would be really sad day if it ended, there are a lot of people working extremely hard just to keep us going.”

She said September Songs will be an animated concert featuring songs from old and new shows and star junior and adult members.

She hopes to sell 200 tickets and there will be a raffle, sweet stall and bar.

Tickets are £5 from members, at spennymoorstageandsong.com or the group’s Facebook page.

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