March 2018 – Update
SPP have voted at their Special General Meeting and the motions passed unanimously. This means we will be going ahead with the merger over the next few months.
Novenber 2017 – Update
After the 2017 AGM, there was a Special General Meeting where members were asked to consider and vote on a motion relating to the merger with Southern Peninsula Players.
The motion voted on was in 2 parts:
• The Rosebud Astral Theatre Society membership supports the proposition of merging with Southern Peninsula Players.
• The Rosebud Astral Theatre Society Committee be authorized to action and finalize a merger with Southern Peninsula Players if and when Southern Peninsula Players approve a merger.
View the notification here.
Both parts of the motion passed unanimously and we now await the results of SPP’s Special General Meeting.
This document aims to explore the proposition of merging the 2 community theatre groups currently operating in Rosebud, Rosebud Astral Theatre Society and Southern Peninsula Players(SPP). As well as how such a merger could be achieved and how the two companies could maintain their name recognition. This document was written by Brendan croft and contains personal opinion that does not necessarily represent the official Astral position.
Firstly, there would be a great financial benefit to both companies as insurance and administration costs directly related to the running of the companies (excluding show related expenses) would be essentially halved. Currently both groups have insurance policies that cover all their members and include public liability, after a merger only one policy would be required. Same goes for committee insurance assuming both companies currently have it. Similarly, with bank accounts. Both groups have 2 accounts, four in total, and a merged group would only require 2 accounts. I am confident that there would be more financial benefits discovered as time went by, such as sharing of hall bookings.
Another reason for a merger is the, at times, shortage of people willing to step up to committee positions and assist with keeping a group running. Getting people to assist directly with a show will always be easier, than finding people willing to deal with the often mundane tasks required at an administrative level. One committee will always be easier to fill than two.
Historically SPP and Astral have had a rich history of cooperation. There has always been people who were/are members of both groups, we share our rehearsal and performance venue and we have shared assets. Even the assets that belong to one company have generally been made available to the other on a basic system of trust. This sharing of members and assets has been highlighted over the last couple of years as Astral and SPP have once again become closer, after some years of division between them. The reasons for the division does not need to be explored here, but suffice to say it did not benefit either company. The benefits of a close relationship should be evident to all involved.
With the aim to be a merger and not for one company to absorb or take over the other, the simplest way would be to execute an amalgamation as set out in incorporated associations act with a new name that is agreed upon by both parties. The name could be some type of combination of the two current names, or something entirely new. Personally I support some use of the Rosebud name in the new association name ie. Rosebud Theater Group. For this to happen, both groups would need to hold a Special General Meeting and have their membership vote on the merger proposal.
As mentioned above, there would only be one committee required to run the new merged association, but in order to preserve the aims and ideals of each company in the shows they produce and present, it may be beneficial to have two sub committees that actually produce the shows. These committees can be filled by members of the primary committee and by general members who wish to be more involved at a production level. At times the primary committee would have increased duties with the production of multiple shows each year, but when there are people interested in, and willing to assist with, putting on a production, the primary committee would only have the administration of the company in general to worry about, not the actual productions, which would be taken care of by the sub committees. With the different requirements involved with selecting and producing plays and musicals, having a dedicated sub-committee could also benefit the final product we present.
Maintaining the historic names
With Astral having operated for over 30 years and SPP for over 60, both groups have name recognition in the immediate and surrounding areas. This recognition gives an obvious marketing benefit and certainly contributes to ticket sales, but there is also an emotional factor that cannot be ignored. There are many people who have dedicated a lot of time and effort to SPP and Astral, and I am sure they would not wish to see the groups they have invested so much into, simply vanish, albeit in name only.
In a merged group, both the SPP name and the Astral name could still be used when advertising shows, SPP for plays and Astral for musicals. The name of the new association would have to be listed on advertising and licencing materials, but we could still include the old names.
Perpetuating what we do
One major risk that I can see would be if the new group became dominated by members with a singular focus on either plays or musicals, and the less favoured type of show was to be neglected. Currently Astral and SPP provide our area with both musicals and plays, and this needs to continue. SPP currently aims to put on two plays a year and Astral has their spring musical and on occasion do an additional show earlier in the year. It could easily be enshrined in the new association’s constitution, that both show types must be done each year.
Both groups have a list of life members who have contributed so much to the group that they have earned a Life Membership. As a sign of respect and recognition, these individuals could be made life members of the new association, thus maintaining at least some of the member history of both groups.