Monday, 14 June 2021

Influential names become theatre members

MEMBERSHIP of the Kenton Theatre more than doubled to about 250 in a matter of weeks

MEMBERSHIP of the Kenton Theatre more than doubled to about 250 in a matter of weeks before its  ill-fated annual meeting in June, writes David White.

New members included the Countess of Macclesfield, who volunteers behind the bar, Sir William and Lady McAlpine, of Fawley Hill, Henley buisnessman Sir David Higgins, Dame Gillian Lynne, who created Cats, and her actor husband Peter Land, Aida Dellal, who owns Fawley Court, Reading businessman Sir John Madejski and young Henley actor Harry Stott.

Ed Simons, the outgoing chairman of trustees, said: “I and a couple of the other trustees went out and approached a whole load of people who have been associated with the theatre over the last couple of years.

“Up until four of five years ago, these people had never heard of the theatre. Because of the artists we’ve had appearing and because I’ve done a bit arm-twisting they have come to the theatre and love it.”

The meeting heard that the theatre’s net assets grew by more than £40,000 to a total £555,000 as of August 31 last year. This figure did not include the increase in the value of its freehold property.

Mr Simons said: “It isn’t just about the financial success of the theatre — we want to protect the theatre for all time. It is certainly part of the heartbeat of Henley. playing host to our wonderful local theatrical and music societies and children’s theatre companies.”

The meeting, which was attended by about 40 members, was abandoned in chaos after after a row over the election of trustees. Mr Simons has since resigned after 10 years as a trustee and six as chairman.

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