Apologies for my third blog post being a bit late but we spent the weekend at the NODA Scotland conference in Peebles representing Threepenny Theatricals. For anybody who doesn't know, NODA is the National Operatic and Dramatic Association and is the organisation that looks after the interests of all the amateur theatre companies in the UK who wish to become members. It provides a huge amount of invaluable advice and support on every aspect of running an amateur theatre company.
The annual conference in Peebles is a highlight and there are workshops and discussion groups on everything from Vocal Technique to Techie Talk as well as a ball on the Saturday night, a midnight cabaret from a guest company and a sing-along in the bar every evening. We went as new members to introduce our company and publicise our show and, quite frankly, to find out what all the fuss was about! We had been hearing about it for years from friends in other societies who told us what a fantastic weekend it was. Well they weren't wrong! We had a great meal on the Friday night with live showtunes accompaniment on the piano (which of course everybody sings along to when they don't have their mouths full - and sometimes when they do)! On Saturday we went to a discussion group called 'It's Good To Talk' where representatives from lots of companies get together and discuss anything that they might be having issues with. It's really interesting to hear from other societies who might have found solutions to the same problems you're having. A major topic of discussion seemed to be online marketing and translating it into bums-on-seats! Lots of interesting tips and ideas came out of that. I then let Ross go to the Techie Talk in the afternoon and he found out some useful information on set-building and get-ins. The ball in the evening followed and then we were treated to a fantastic cabaret by Carnegie Youth Theatre who showed us a phenomenal amount of young talent. After a late night we didn't have to get up too early for the AGM on the Sunday morning which marks the end of the conference.
All-in-all it was a great weekend but the thing that I actually found most valuable was getting a chance to talk to members of other societies and share ideas. Not just at the official meetings but at all the 'unofficial' drinks in rooms we were invited to by various friendly groups and chats around the dance floor or the bar. It's amazing how supportive all the amateur companies are of each other and joining in and being part of the NODA community makes for much more collaborative relationships. When you can tell your story face-to-face and other companies can understand your aims and your issues then they really do make an effort to help you where they can.
This sounds like a bit of an advert for NODA but it's actually an advert for a closer amateur theatre community, however we may make that happen. The NODA conference just demonstrated how valuable the amateur companies are to each other and how we should all make the effort to support each other. It shouldn't be a competition because we are all in the same boat. We obviously can't all go to every other amateur show in the country but it is definitely worth going to as many as we can. Even if we might not see a production as 'our thing' we might be surprised at a different interpretation or find a new favourite show! Most importantly we will be helping the other companies to survive and carry on that business of showbusiness that we all love so much!
If you want to find out more about NODA you can click HERE.