Welcome to new members

Chameleon Theatre Company has been presenting plays to the people of Chandler's Ford since 1965. We perform three plays and a pantomime each year, so there is always a play in rehearsal. We also participate in drama festivals, take "one act'' plays on tour to residential homes and organisations such as the W.I. In addition to the productions, there are plenty of social events, such as parties, meals out, play readings, quiz evenings and car treasure hunts.

The normal course of a production is: 

  • Regular rehearsals in the Ritchie Hall on Tuesdays starting at 7.30 p.m., involving all cast members * Usually a second rehearsal in the director's or cast member's home on Thursdays, concentrating on the script, attended by all cast or as suggested by the director.

  • Planning commences for the NEXT production, including a read through of the chosen play, perhaps at an evening party, followed by auditions, usually before the set building weekends.

  • Two weekends before the run devoted to set building and technical rehearsal at the Ritchie Hall, attended by the director, stage manager, cast and members of the company.

  • The week of the production; dress rehearsal on Tuesday, invited audience of senior citizens on Wednesday, and three nights for the members of the public.

  • After production party at the Ritchie Hall immediately following the last night.

  • Strike the set and clear up the Ritchie Hall on the Sunday morning, attended by the director, stage manager, cast and members of the company.

Of course, not every member will be working on a current production, but most members come to the Ritchie Hall on Tuesday evenings, staying for the coffee break and then adjourning to the local pub. Plays are also read in the Green Room while the current play is in rehearsal on stage.

As we are a small group we need as many people as possible to help with set building and striking; everyone is requested to attend on these occasions, whether in the cast/backstage crew or not. Similarly, the Front of House manager needs several helpers each evening to make sure that the audience is well looked after.

Following are some notes about the various roles associated with a play. These are for guidance and are our current best practice.

If you have any questions or suggestions, any one of the committee members will be glad to help.

[Top]


Important dates in the Chameleon year  

September

Year starts with AGM.

October

  • Production week is usually the last full week of the month. 
  • Set building takes place on the two weekends prior to this. 
  • Technical rehearsal, usually followed by a run through, is held the Sunday prior to the run, 
  • Dress rehearsal is on Tuesday, 
  • Wednesday is our invited audience night, 
  • Regular audience performances are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. 
  • Set strike on Sunday morning.

January

  • Production run usually starts penultimate Friday of month.
  • Set building takes place on the two weekends prior to this. 
  • Technical rehearsal, usually followed by a run through, is held the Sunday prior to the run, 
  • Dress rehearsal is on Tuesday, 
  • Regular audience performances are on the penultimate Friday of month, with a matinee and evening performance on the Saturday. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are normally nights off.
  • Wednesday is our invited audience night, 
  • Regular audience performances are on Thursday, Friday nights and Saturday afternoon and night. 
  • Again, set building is the two weekends prior, again with technical rehearsal and dress rehearsal as described for October.

March & April

  We usually participate in the Totton Drama Festival. Dates vary.

April

  • Production week is usually the last full week of the month. 
  • Set building takes place on the two weekends prior to this. 
  • Technical rehearsal, usually followed by a run through, is held the Sunday prior to the run, 
  • Dress rehearsal is on Tuesday, 
  • Wednesday is our invited audience night, 
  • Regular audience performances are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. 
  • Set strike on Sunday morning.

July

  • Production week is usually the last full week of the month. 
  • Set building takes place on the two weekends prior to this. 
  • Technical rehearsal, usually followed by a run through, is held the Sunday prior to the run, 
  • Dress rehearsal is on Tuesday, 
  • Wednesday is our invited audience night, 
  • Regular audience performances are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Performances are usually accompanied by a ploughman's supper. 
  • Set strike on Sunday morning.

[Top]


Director's role  

The director has responsibility for the production of the play and will liaise with the Committee on a regular basis. Duties include: - 

  1. Selection of or agreeing choice of play. We ask all new directors to choose either a one act play, to direct on their own or with an experienced director as mentor if they wish, or a full length play, but with experienced mentor. As part of the play approval process, the committee will agree if a full length play may be directed as a first play by a new director.

  2. Announcing and arranging timing of play read through and auditions.

  3. Casting of play and ensuring cast and crew are aware of rehearsal and production schedules.

  4. Appointing a Production Assistant and Stage Manager, together with Lighting, Sound, Properties and Wardrobe staff as necessary. This should be done at the same time as casting, or as soon as possible afterwards.

  5. Appointing a Front of House Manager (and Catering Manager when appropriate), again as soon as possible after casting.

  6. Agreeing style and amount of advertising and programme details with the Business Manager, as well as seating requirements if the play requires unusual staging.

  7. Arranging any extra rehearsals. These will be in a private home, but if additional stage time is essential, the requirement should be discussed with the Treasurer.

  8. Discussing set design and construction at a backstage meeting to agree requirements.

  9. Opening and locking the Ritchie Hall unless delegated to a committee member.

  10. Being responsible with Committee for the overall budget of the production and liaising with the Treasurer regarding production costs.

  11. Making sure that set is struck and the hall is returned to good condition on the Sunday immediately after the production.

  12. The safety of the cast and crew during rehearsals.

  13. Attending committee meetings or providing update on problems or progress for the committee during the production period of the play.

[Top]


Production Assistant's role 

The Production Assistant will assist the director in any aspect of the production as requested.

This role is a good one to undertake if you think you may wish to direct, or improve your directing skills, since you will see a play development through all the stages. Each director has different ways of working but there is much the Production Assistant can do to assist the production's smooth progress. For instance: - 

  1. Act as prompt, attending as many rehearsals as possible and assisting cast to learn their part.

  2. Assist director in providing and deciding upon: 
    a. Providing programme information 
    b. Set, staging and furniture requirements 
    c. Liaise with Stage Manager and Properties when necessary 
    d. Stand in for director at rehearsals 
    e. Stand in for missing cast at rehearsals

[Top]


Stage Manager

During rehearsal period, the Stage Manager should familiarise himself/herself with the play and the various challenges staging it will present. He will liaise with the director on set design.

During play week, the Stage Manager is responsible to the Director for the smooth running of the production and has complete control over the cast and backstage crew. He/she is also responsible to the cast and crew for their well being and safety. Ideally he/she should be present at each performance, but where this is not possible he must ensure that the Assistant Stage Manager (ASM) is fully conversant with the routine.

He/she would report to the Director with any cast problems on the night and to the Chairman or Committee with any technical problems. Must aim for "curtain up'' at 7.30pm (liaising with Front of House Manager) and has FINAL WORD on start time.

We suggest that ASM is responsible for backstage discipline and communication with Front of House.

Duties are: -

  1. To appoint an ASM and extra members of the stage crew as necessary - the director should have already asked Lighting, Sound, Properties and Wardrobe as required.

  2. Locate tire fighting equipment and nearest telephone. Be familiar with procedure in case of emergency.

  3. Ensure that the stage is correctly set no later than 7.00 p.m. Cast only allowed on stage with permission of Stage Manager.

  4. Make sure that all lighting and sound checks have been carried by 7.00pm.

  5. Make sure that background music starts at 7.00pm as instructed by Director.

  6. Make sure NO ONE other than FOH Staff uses green room door to auditorium after 7.00pm.

  7. Ensure that no visitors are in dressing room other than company members. Backstage and FOH staff who are not Chameleons are temporary members.

  8. Liaise with Front of House Manager for "curtain up'' timing and procedure.

  9. Supervise the stage during production - only cast waiting for entrance and/or crew with permission are allowed in the wings.

  10. Liaise with Front of House Manager for lights and music during raffle.

  11. Tidy up backstage areas at end of evening.

  12. Make sure sound and lighting power supplies are switched OFF at end of evening.

[Top]


Front of House Manager and FOH staff 

Prior to the production, the Front of House Manager is responsible for recruiting and scheduling sufficient FOH staff for each night. The number needed each night is five, i.e. two to sell raffle tickets and two to show people to their seats and the FOH Manager (or a substitute if FOH Manager cannot be present on a particular evening). The FOH Manager normally welcomes the audience at the door and gives them their tickets. All FOH staff should attend dress rehearsal if at all possible to familiarise themselves with the play and to attend a short briefing meeting to remand themselves of fire evacuation procedure and their duties on the night. All FOH staff should be smartly dressed and wear a Chameleon waistcoat so that the audience can identify them easily.

During production week, the Front of House Manager and staff should arrive at 6.15 p.m. or earlier to carry out the following: 1. Arrange for seats to be put out by 6.45pm and brief any FOH staff who did not attend dress rehearsal, particularly family and friends. Ensure EXIT signs are switched on.

  1. Ensure all staff understand the evacuation procedures.

  2. Doors open at 7.00pm.

  3. Keep aisles and exits free of obstruction.

  4. ln the case of a Fire Inspection, accompany the Fire Officer.

  5. Meet and escort any official guests e.g. Mayor and/or Press.

  6. In case of fire, organise evacuation of Hall and call Fire Brigade.

  7. Make sure refreshments are organised for Interval and that one member of the team each night is responsible for ensuring hot water is ready shortly before coffee interval. Two members of FOH team should be in the auditoriums at all times to handle emergencies.

  8. Supervise the following;-
    a) Entry Tickets
    b) Raffle Tickets

  9. Supervise the Raffle Draw.

  10. Take instructions from Stage Manager regarding House Lights etc.

  11. Be responsible for the audience generally.

  12. CLEAR UP AFTERWARDS in auditorium and refreshments area.

  13. Be responsible for ensuring premises are empty, safe, locked and secure at the end of each evening.

General. During play week the Ritchie Hall Car Park is NOT to be used unless with the permission of the Committee.

[Top]


Cast

Members of the cast are responsible to the Director during rehearsals, and to the Stage Manager during the performance. Whilst the east have no FOH or backstage specific duties, they are requested to observe the following points during play week:- 

  1. Understand procedure in case of emergency (see later).

  2. Arrive by 7.00pm and enter using the kitchen or green room exit door.

  3. Remember that friends and relations who have come to see the play must wait in the auditorium rather than join you in the dressing room.

  4. Keep clear of the wings unless preparing for an entrance. If entering from the auditorium doors, keep door shut until immediately before your entrance. Do not watch from wings or auditorium doors.

  5. Do not go into the auditoriums in costume until after production has finished. If the evening is one act plays, please feel free to watch when you are changed if there is seating spare.

  6. Be as quiet as possible whilst using the kitchen/green room.

  7. Help backstage crew and FOH team in clearing up after each performance.

  8. Attend set building and set strike.

During rehearsal period, cast should: 

  1. Attend as many rehearsals as possible as requested by director and arrive promptly.

  2. Inform the director or production assistant of your holiday plans or if you are unable to attend unexpectedly.

  3. Adhere to director's schedule for "books down".

  4. Cast may often source costume or props for a play they are in, but should check with director or wardrobe mistress before making a purchase.

General. During play week the Ritchie Hall car park is NOT to be used unless with the permission of the committee.

[Top]


Lighting / Sound / Props / Wardrobe

The lighting and sound crew are responsible to the Director for the lighting/sound plot and to the Stage Manager for the operation. The Property master/mistress is responsible to the Director in rehearsal and the Stage Manager during play week. Obviously each Director will require different effects, and consequently the following procedures are given as a guide only.

Each of these roles should liaise with the Treasurer regarding costs and budget.

Lighting

  1. All circuits must be checked before 7.00pm.

  2. Working lights to ON as soon as possible after Hall is opened.

  3. Tab warmers ON (time to be decided by director).

  4. Lighting plot as instructed by director.

Sound

  1. Sound must be checked before 7.00pm.

  2. Music to start at 7.00pm (or as instructed by director).

  3. Fade music with House lights - follow Sound plot as instructed by director.

  4. Operate music during interval around raffle etc.

Props

  1. Familiarise him/herself with play and properties list during rehearsal period.

  2. Work with director to establish style of set dressing required 

  3. Provide working props as soon as possible (within budget).

  4. Is responsible for co-ordinating acquisition and collection of furniture, personal props, set dressing etc.

  5. Is responsible for secure storage during rehearsal peril   

  6. Is responsible for ensuring all props remain in good working order during play week.

Wardrobe

  1. Work with director to establish period or style of dress required.

  2. Decide whether costume should be hired, if authentic period costume is required, or made, as is usual for pantomime, working with director and Treasurer to agree budget.

  3. Advise cast members on what to look for when a play is set in more recent decades.

[Top]


In the event of an emergency 

During rehearsals

The Director is responsible for: - 

  1. Evacuating the building and if possible removing vehicles from Car Park to allow access by Emergency Services.

  2. Checking that Hall is empty but only if safe to do so.

  3. Notifying everyone that the ASSEMBLY POINT is the Car Park at St. Boniface Church.

  4. Make sure that EMERGENCY SERVICES are called.

  5. Do not re-enter buildings until cleared by Emergency Services.

During performances

Front of House Manager (for audience) and Stage Manager (for cast and crew) are responsible for: - 

  1. Organising orderly evacuation.

  2. Checking that Hall is empty.

  3. Notifying everyone that the ASSEMBLY POINT is the Car Park at St. Boniface Church.

  4. Make sure that EMERGENCY SERVICES are called These instructions apply in the event of FIRE and apply to the Small Hall also when used for pantomime changing room. 

Matrons are responsible for junior cast.

[Top]


Committee

Officers

Chairman - has casting vote at committee, and will normally make announcements during coffee break 
Secretary - handles external correspondence, minutes meetings, maintains membership lists 
Treasurer - responsible for ensuring we don't spend too much money! 
Business Manager - manages publicity and box office 

Committee members - we have a minimum of three.

The committee endeavours to make best use of the funds at our disposal and to ensure that we provide an interesting and varied mix of plays for our audience. It is our custom that directors give the Committee a copy of any play they want to direct well in advance of the production slot they are hoping to fill. This is read by the committee to allow them to ask questions regarding any foreseen difficulties in staging or casting, and also to allow them to choose the best play for the year's programme in the lucky event of having more than one play put forward! 

Please speak to any committee member if you have any questions or problems to raise. Their names are on the membership list and renewed every year after the AGM.

[Top]


Other useful information

Annual Subscription

All members are requested to pay an annual subscription which contributes towards our overall costs i.e. cost of hire of Hall, general expenses, coffee etc.

The subscription is set for the year at the Annual General Meeting and should be paid before the October production week.

Communicating with other members 

A copy of the membership list is available from the Secretary. Please let the Secretary know if your details change or are incorrect.

There is also a Chameleon internet group, to facilitate easy exchange of email messages and useful information, such as our wardrobe and properties lists. You may join this at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ChameleonTheatreCo/

We also have a web site, at http://www.chameleontheatre.co.uk.

[Top]


Constitution

1. TITLE

The Society shall be known as the CHANDLER'S FORD CHAMELEON THEATRE COMPANY.

2. OBJECTS

The objects of the Society shall be the study of dramatic art and the performance of plays of dramatic worth.

3. FINANCE

The income and property of the Society shall be applied solely towards the promotion of the objects of the Society as set forth herein and no portion thereof shall be paid or transferred directly or indirectly by way of dividend, bonus or by payment of a professional fee to any member or members of the Society. The Company shall appoint an auditor at each Annual General Meeting to verify and approve each year's accounts.

4. AFFILIATIONS

The Society shall be affiliated as the Committee shall from time to time decide.

5. OFFICERS

The Officers of the Society shall be the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Business Manager.

6. MANAGEMENT

The Society shall be managed by a Committee consisting of the Officers above and a minimum of three members.

7. COMMITTEE POWERS

The Committee shall have power: - 

(a) to appoint such further non-voting officials as may be necessary for the conduct of the Society's activities, 
(b) to co-opt such further officials so appointed, without power to vote, 
(c) to co-opt additional non-voting members for any specific purpose, 
(d) to appoint sub-committees and to delegate to such sub-committees any of its powers, 
(e) to appoint a panel of producers who shall meet from time to time to discuss plays for possible inclusion in the Society's programme, 
(f) to fill any vacancies occurring during the year.

8. COMMITTEE MEETINGS

The Committee shall meet as often as may be necessary, not less than 48 hours' notice being given and not less than four times per annum: five shall form a quorum of which two must be OFFICERS.

9. MEMBERSHIP

The Society shall consist of members desirous of supporting the Society. Only members who have paid the current years subscription are eligible to participate in a play.

10. ELECTION OF MEMBERS

The election of members shall be subject to Committee approval.

11. SUBSCRIPTIONS

The annual subscription to the Society, payable on 1st October, shall be agreed at each Annual General Meeting.

12. PAYMENT OF SUBSCRIPTIONS

Any member having received due notice and not having paid a subscription before 1st December shall be deemed to have left the Society and shall no longer enjoy the facilities of the Society.

13. LIFE MEMBERS

The Society shall have the power in general meeting and on the recommendation of the Committee to elect Honorary Life Members.

14. CASTING

Every member of the Company shall have the right to audition for a play. The cast for any play to be produced by the Society shall be selected by the Director of that play, or in such other manner as may be decided by the Committee at the request of the Director. Any member of the cast failing to make regular attendance at rehearsals shall forfeit at the discretion of the Director, the right to appear in the production. Any amendment to the casting of a play (after rehearsals have commenced) must have the approval of the Committee.

15. FINANCIAL YEAR

The financial year of the Society shall end on 31st August.

16. GENERAL MEETINGS

The Annual General Meeting shall be held in SEPTEMBER, when the Secretary's and Officers' reports and the accounts for the year, duly audited, shall be presented. The Officers and the other members of the Committee and the auditor shall be elected and all general business transactions carried out. Fourteen days' notice of the time and place of the Meeting shall be given to all members

17. EXTRAORDINARY MEETINGS

An Extraordinary General Meeting may be called at any time a) at the discretion of the Committee and b) within 21   days after receipt by the Secretary of a requisition in writing signed by at least ten members.

18. TRANSACTION OF BUSINESS

No business other than the formal adjournment of the meeting shall be transacted at any General Meeting unless a quorum be present and such quorum shall consist of not less than 40% of the current voting membership.

19. CANCELLATION OF MEMBERSHIP

On a unanimous vote, the Committee shall have the power to require the resignation of any member whose continued membership it may reasonably regard as detrimental to the interests of the Society.

20. DISSOLUTION

The Society shall only be dissolved by resolution passed by at least 80% of the members present at an Extraordinary General Meeting called for the purpose of considering such resolution. In the event of dissolution, any balance of cash in hand after realisation of assets and the payment of debts shall be disposed of as the Society shall so decide, with especial regard to a Charity or Charities.

21. CONSTITUTION

No alteration of these rules shall be made except at a General Meeting, nor unless 21   days prior to such a meeting, a written notice of the proposed alteration shall be given to the Secretary, who shall give 7 days' notice thereof to the members and the resolution embodying such proposed alteration shall be carried by at least two-thirds of the votes recorded thereon at the meeting.

22. OTHER MATTERS

The Committee shall have the power to decide any questions arising out of these rules and all other matters connected with the Society (other than and except those which can only be dealt with by the Society in General Meeting) and make and maintain and publish all necessary orders, regulations and bylaws in connection therewith.

Amended by EGM Nov 1st 2005

[Top]

Last saved: January, 2016