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The Woodhouse Players Ė Constitution

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1.  The group shall be called The Woodhouse Players

2.The object of the group shall be to further the dramatic arts and to interest the local community in the appreciation of these arts by the performance of plays and in all such things as are conducive to these objects. Also to encourage others to partake in the said arts and objectives

3.In all its decisions, the purpose of the group will be to serve the needs and aspirations of the membership within the bounds set out in clause 2 above.

4.The funds of the group shall be devoted entirely to the stated objectives and no payments, either directly or indirectly, shall be made to any member for services to the group or for other than legitimate expenses incurred in its works.

5.No member of the group may purchase anything or enter into contract without the permission of the Chair or, if delegated, the Treasurer, or the Director or Producer of a play working within a production budget agreed by the Committee, or a member delegated to manage running expenses, working within a fixed annual budget agreed by the Committee.

6.The main account of the group may not fall below £1,000 without majority decision of a General Meeting, except in the case of dissolution.

7.Whenever the group organises events at a venue without a public performance licence, the Woodhouse Players will apply for a Temporary Events Notice from the appropriate licensing authority.

8.Annual membership fees are as set out in the Rules

9.The Committee may waive the membership fee on a discretionary basis for any member.

10. The membership year shall commence on the day after the Annual General Meeting.

11. Only members of the group may vote at a General Meeting.

12. For the purposes of any General Meeting, a person shall be considered a member if they have paid the subscription for the period leading up to the meeting

13. A member whose subscriptions fall more than four months into arrears shall be deemed no longer a member. New members joining part way through the year may pay membership for the portion of the year remaining, which will be 50% of the regular membership fee if more than six months have elapsed since an Annual General Meeting. The Treasurer may, at their discretion, allow payment by instalment or some similar arrangement for any individual.

14. The Committee may revoke the membership of any individual, subject to appeal at a general meeting (for example for behaviour contrary to the equal opportunities statement in paragraphs 26 to 29). The meeting will elect a Chairman for the duration of the appeal.

The Committee

15. The general business of the group will be conducted by the Committee or by other members of the group appointed by it. This shall include:

  1. liaising with the managers of the venue the group is using;
  2. managing the finances of the group;
  3. ensuring publicity is arranged; keeping the membership informed about the groupís activities; and
  4. arbitrating on the choice of activities of the membership. The Committee shall take account of the views of the membership of the group, but the final decision on what activities shall be promoted under the name of the Woodhouse Players shall lie with the Committee

16. The Committee shall consist of between four and eleven members, comprising:

  1. The President - a person with a significant interest in the group, whose appointment shall be agreed at the Annual General Meeting. This shall be largely an honorary position.
  2. Chair - who shall chair meetings of the Committee; ensure that collective decisions are reached. The chair shall also deputise for any other Committee member if they are unable to carry out any duties or perform any function for which the Committee is responsible in the event of a resignation of a member the Committee.
  3. Secretary - who will take minutes of Committee meetings and otherwise ensure discussions are recorded and communicated to the Committee and send out calling notices for Committee meetings and the AGM.
  4. Treasurer - who will keep the groupís finances in order, agree budgets for plays with the director (with right of recourse to the Committee); and set ad-hoc budgets as necessary (for example for investments) within any limits agreed by the Committee.
  5. Up to seven ordinary Committee members who may have specific responsibilities as circumstance demand. Specific areas of responsibility may be allocated with the agreement of the relevant Committee member at the first ordinary meeting of the Committee after the Annual General Meeting.

17. The Committee shall be responsible for ensuring the following functions are fulfilled:

  1. Publicity, to ensure each play or activity is promoted as appropriate, and that promotional material (posters, fliers, front of house photos, etc.) is arranged and available.
  2. Production co-ordination, to liaise on a day-to-day basis with the groupís venue; ensure that front of house (both people, and refreshments) are covered for each play or activity.
  3. Efficient, timely and appropriate communication with members regarding the business of the group.
  4. Making arrangements for the proper care or handing of the groupís assets.
  5. Maintenance of an up-to-date membership list.

18. The chair will be responsible for clarifying roles when it becomes necessary. Other responsibilities may be allocated to ordinary members where appropriate or to other members of the group who will then become co-opted members of the Committee with non-voting rights until such time as the Committee sees fit, although all such co-options will conclude at the Annual General Meeting.

19. In the event of a vacancy on the Committee, the Committee may co-opt another member with full voting rights on to the Committee until the next AGM.

20. In the event of an equality of votes at a meeting, the Chair may exercise a second and casting vote in order to ensure that decisions can be made.

21. If the Chair is unable to carry out his/her duties then the remaining members of the Committee shall appoint another Committee Member as a temporary Acting Chair by majority vote without delay. Unless relinquishing the post, the Chair may return at any time when s/he is once again able to carry out his/her duties prior to the next scheduled election.

22. In the event of a vacancy for the Chair, or if the Chair is permanently unable to carry out his/her duties then the remaining members of the Committee shall appoint another Committee Member as a temporary Acting Chair by majority vote without delay. The Committee must then notify the membership of the vacancy. The Committee may then co-opt another member on to the Committee.

23. Committee meetings will be held at least six times a year, with the secretary giving a minimum of seven days notice to all members of any meeting. Meetings will have a quorum of four if the overall size of the Committee (excluding the President) is eight or less, or five if the overall size of the Committee (excluding the President) is more than eight.

24. All members of the group shall be entitled to attend and speak at Committee meetings. However, if a decision should come to a vote only the Committee may vote. The secretary should invite those with a likely interest in any issues to be discussed to meetings.

25. In the event of a General Meeting carrying a vote of no confidence in the Committee/member of the Committee, the Committee/member of the Committee will resign.

Equal opportunities and complaints

26. The group will conduct its business in a way that respects others. The group is committed to equality of opportunity, and opposes all forms of discrimination against people because of their age, race, religion, culture, disability, ethnic/national origin, gender, sexual orientation, and marital status.

27. The chair will ultimately be responsible for ensuring that group functions (including rehearsals, Committee meetings, and social events) conform to this statement. The director of any production should ensure conduct at rehearsals conforms to this statement., or seek the advice of the chair if it does not

28. Anyone wishing to make a complaint (related to equal opportunities or any other issue) should bring the complaint to the chair, or any other member of the Committee. The chair is responsible for making sure any complaint is investigated, except if he or she is implicated in which case the appellant may nominate a member to investigate.

29. Adjudication of complaints shall be by the Committee at large except for any members of the Committee directly implicated in the complaint. Before taking any action on a complaint the Committee shall inform the person who is the subject of the complaint about the complaint, and give him or her an opportunity to make representations.

General Meetings

30. The quorum for a general meeting shall be ten, or one third of the membership, whichever is greater. Written postal, electronic, or proxy votes from members shall count for the purposes of this quorum.

31. The constitution may only be amended by a two-thirds majority of those present at a General Meeting.

32. The Annual General Meeting shall be held in the second quarter of each year. It shall be called by the Secretary in writing or by email at least 21 days before the appointed date. Every member shall be sent a copy of the notice of the meeting.

33. The Annual General Meeting will:

  1. receive the reports of the chair, secretary and the member responsible for publicity
  2. receive and approve the Treasurer's report, and statement of accounts

34. The Annual General Meeting will also request nominations and elect a Committee. If any post is contested a secret ballot shall be held at the Annual General Meeting, for which the procedures are laid down in the rules. The quorum shall be five for the purposes of electing a Committee (in order to ensure that the group is not left without a Committee).

35. An extraordinary General Meeting may be called by the Committee, or at the instigation of not less than one third of the total membership. The secretary shall give notice of no less than 14 days.

Dissolution of the group

36. The group shall not be dissolved except by resolution of any General Meeting passed by at least two thirds of the members present at such a meeting. Exceptions to this will be: The quorum of 10 will not apply if membership falls below 12 for over six months.

37. In the event of the dissolution of the group, the balance of the funds of the group shall be used for:

  1. payment of all debts;
  2. return of membership subscriptions for the year in question; and
  3. devoted to charitable purposes approved by the charity Commissioners or their equivalent at the time of dissolution.

38. In the event of dissolution the physical assets of the group (props, lighting equipment, etc.) will first be offered to other comparable amateur drama groups in the area, on the understanding that they are used for purposes consistent with the aims of the Woodhouse Players.

Amended Constitution adopted - May 2012

 

The Woodhouse Players - Rules

Membership Fees

Annual membership fees are as follows:

  • Normal membership, £25
  • Concession membership, £15 (Under 18s, unwaged)
  • Patron, £60 (Patrons shall be entitled to receive two free tickets per production. Their names will be included in each programme.)

Choosing Plays

Each play should be chosen by a meeting of the membership, organised by the Committee (but this need not be a quorate general meeting), with the Committee reserving the right to intervene or amend these choices if necessary.

Casting

The director will have sole responsibility for casting a production. This should normally be through open auditions, to which all members should be invited (unless time pressures make this impractical).

Rehearsals

The director will draw up a rehearsal schedule. They should liaise with the production co-ordinator to book rehearsal time.

Elections to Committee

Any member may stand for the Committee by submission to the group Secretary at least 48 hours prior to the commencement of any General Meeting in which an election is to be held or in which a no confidence motion may give rise to an election.

Elections shall be carried out in the following manner:

Election for single post (i.e. Chair, Treasurer, Secretary)

  1. Each member may cast one vote. If the vote is made remotely (e.g. by post or email), then it shall be treated as a proxy vote, and shall be cast by an attendee at the meeting nominated by the voter. The proxy voter shall bring to the meeting verification of the request to act as a proxy.
  2. The winner shall be the candidate with the greatest number of votes, as verified by at least two members of the incumbent Committee.
  3. In the case of an equality of votes between the topmost candidates, all other candidates shall drop out and a second election shall take place. If a second election produces an equality of votes between the top placed candidates, a method of chance (e.g. a coin toss or series of coin tosses) shall be used to determine the outcome

Election for ordinary members

  1. Each member may cast as many votes as there are vacancies. If votes are made remotely (e.g. by post or email), then they shall be treated as a proxy vote, and shall be cast by an attendee at the meeting nominated by the voter. The proxy voter shall bring to the meeting verification of the request to act as a proxy.
  2. Two types of votes shall be cast by each voter. The first type shall be undifferentiated and will select candidates. The second type will place the voterís selected candidates in order of preference, with "1" signifying highest preference.
  3. The members with the highest number of votes in aggregate (regardless of preference order) shall be deemed elected, as verified by at least two members of the incumbent Committee
  4. In the event of an equality of votes between candidates, such that vacancies cannot be filled, the preference votes for the candidates with an equal number of votes shall be taken into account. The candidate with the most "1" votes shall be elected. If the election cannot be decided on "1" votes, then the next numbers, in order, shall be used to decide.
  5. If the above methods are unable to produce a result, then a method of chance (e.g. a coin toss or series of coin tosses) shall be used to determine the outcome.
(This version: 15 May 2012)

About...

This constitution was adopted in May 2004 at the Annual General Meeting, and was amended by the 2006 AGM, 2007 AGM, 2009 AGM and 2012 AGM. It was adapted from the previous constitution adopted in 2002. The Constitution is the document that makes us "official" and means that we can have a bank account etc. It also contains all the really key things that the group is about.