President’s Report 2012

PRESIDENT’S REPORT for year ended 31 August 2012 presented at the Annual General Meeting of Playwrights Assn of New Zealand (Inc).

This year has been a challenge for the Association.  It is my first year as President and it’s been a pleasure to work with such a dedicated and hard working committee.  My experience of committee’s has often lead me to the conclusion that the size is inversely proportional to the effectiveness.  Your PANZ committee has confounded that surmise.

I would therefore like to take the opportunity to thank all the committee members for their wonderful support over the year.  In particular, Colin for his untiring work on the new web site. Having just been involved with redesign of our own web site and that of another association that I am involved with, I can understand how utterly time consuming it is. Thanks Colin for your great work.

I think the committee have long been aware of my advocating distance-operating committee meetings.  Face to face meetings, when well lead of course, are the ideal and can include a very healthy social aspect as well as being an efficient business forum. However, travel is becoming increasingly expensive these days, as well as time consuming. It also precludes those members for whom distance is an obstacle, from being effective committee members. This is therefore a great restriction on eligibility and one that also prevents geographical diversity.

I have spent some time researching Skype as a technical option. It is not the ideal but workable. However a new media known as EVO has been suggested to me as a better alternative, and I will investigate this in the forthcoming year, in whatever capacity my association with PANZ becomes.

Our objectives for the Association are unwavering;  this remains the encouragement and promotion of New Zealand playwrights.  However, we will continue to seek ways in which we can attract new members and ways in which we can be innovative in the services the Association offers.

The one act play competition attracted fewer than usual entries and next year your committee will be looking at increasing the prize money, and also, finding a theatre that would be interested in presenting the winning entry/s.   There is some debate over whether royalties would be waived for an inaugural show.  I appreciate both arguments that the author’s efforts should be recognised financially and also that of it being an opportunity to get the show on the stage. Noosa, reserves the right to show it’s winning plays without payment of royalty, but their prize money is such that the winner does have significant pecuniary reward. If we increase our prize money then such an argument may prevail for us.

We did open the play to non members in the anticipation that this my attract them to join.  Two non members submitted entries. I give a big thank you to Max Peers, our registrar for the efficient and successful way he managed the whole competition.

There has been a steady number of members successes both in competitions and, having their plays presented.

Also grateful thanks to June Allen who has been our stalwart secretary and has provided for me the continuity for my year as President.  As you know your committee is on a voluntary basis and time is one of the greatest contributions anyone can give these days.

John Dunmore has kindly agreed to remain as our Patron for next year and will bring both prestige and a source of advice to the Association.

It is good to see a steady trickle of new members.  And of course it is sad to see members leave us, as with the loss of Edna Newnham, who was President from 1989 to 1993, and a subsequent life member.

Our members often have successes overseas as well as in NZ. Whangarei writer and artist Leo Cappèl has been selected to represent NZ in an International Compilation of Poetry for Children.  The book is to be published in Croatia in 2013 in time for the inaugural World Art Games (WAG). And Angie Farrow’s Short and Sweet submissions being performed in Bangalore and Sydney.

I envisage in the forthcoming year that we will be stepping outside of the box to see how PANZ can seek ways of embracing innovation in playwriting.  Examples suggested have been, pavement plays,  and plays for playreading groups.  It opens the way for new groundbreaking initiatives.

It has been an interesting and constructive year. We face a challenging time ahead as the Association evolves to meet the changing needs of the Theatrical and play writing scene.

I am confident that the Association has the expertise, enthusiasm and will to meet all that face us in the year ahead.

Thank you,

Richard Harris.

15th November 2012