Producer's report, 2018
The 2018 season was a great success. We entertained about 2600 people at our 17 performances of the Joan Finnigan musical and our August concert with Gail Gavan. We performed in nine different communities, concluding Ottawa, with a successful performance this past Sunday at the Bronson Centre. Our show was warmly received by audiences. All but one performance received a standing ovation. Our Creative Director, Chantal and the entire company deserve tremendous credit for the quality of the production and their hard work in doing it so many times in so many different places despite having to replace a number of personnel, as well as for revising the show substantially in October, making it a much better product. Chantal, in particular, deserves credit for her vision in shaping the show and for stepping in and playing a role when one of our actors moved away. With her directing, acting and dance skills and her keen sense of what works on stage, she is a huge asset to our company. All the actors were terrific to work with, but I have to single out Fran Pinkerton for her contributions above and beyond her own challenging role. She led the team in setup and tear-down and helped in innumerable other ways. I also have to note the exceptional contributions of our technical director, Terry Mask, who gives our little company advanced sound and lighting quality and continues to improve on it, every year. This year, Terry is producing a full-length video of our show that we'll be posting online for free viewing. The sound and image quality are beautiful.
We had to cope with a lot of change this year. Last year, as you have seen, we lost money again. The Board made the difficult decision to terminate the Business Manager position and run the company with volunteers doing almost all the administration and ticket sales, as we've done before. We are thankful to Amy Rouillard for the three years she worked for the company and sorry we were unable to maintain her position.
We owe great thanks to Lynne Epps, who took over the box office duties, worked extremely hard, and did a terrific job of things. We also must thank our very hard-working volunteers who loyally show up at show after show, especially Board members George Martin, Irene Daly and Arlene Goldie. Our Board is an excellent group and all the members contribute throughout the year to helping us make good decisions that are grounded in the realities of our widespread community. This year, our long-serving President, James Allman, retired from the Board for health reasons. We've enjoyed working with James and will miss him. We also thank retiring Board member and longtime volunteer Ray Chapeskie.
This season, we introduced a new online ticket sales system pioneered, thanks to great personal effort on the part of Evan Burgess of Blue North Studios. The system works very well now, but it took a lot of trial and error to get it that way. It was also an unbudgeted expense. Laying off our Business Manager was another large unbudgeted expense. We also had to move to new storage facilities this year. In the midst of the run-up to the show's launch in June, we moved stored items from five separate locations to the new warehouse we've rented at the Eganville Professional Centre from Alan Studd. It was a lot of work and another large, unbudgeted expense. We wore out a lot of technical gear this year as well.
Despite all these large expenses, we appear to be headed to for a year in the black if we can just raise a bit more from loyal supporters. Last year, our Patrons donated more than $8,000, but this year, we haven't asked as often and they're only up to about half that at this point. We expect a year-end fundraising drive to help in this regard.
Another big change for us this year was that our founding bookkeeper, Joanne Murray, retired, and we had to find a replacement. Nancy Tinsley of Killaloe has stepped into Joanne's shoes, and she has worked hard to learn Joanne's surprisingly complex routines and other office support roles. Now, with the help of our Treasurer, Lorraine MacDonald and Evan Burgess, we are moving to an online accounting system that will help us and save labour in many ways - but all the labour-saving requires a lot of laborious setup work!
A real positive was the number of youth we hired this season to do a lot of the hardest jobs. Jordan Amo, Dorian Pearce, Andrew Moore, and Liam Thomas all worked very hard and well for us, as did several other youth who worked occasional stints for us, not to mention the young performers who added so much life to our show: Luna Nordholt, Kaylee Garcia, and the Donohues - Kieran, Hannah, Mhari and Aidan.
It was a big, ambitious year, with lots of unexpected expenses. But it was a wonderful season, perhaps our best yet. Thanks for all your support through it.