AGM Meeting Minutes - April 2024

National Operatic and Dramatic Association

East Region Annual General Meeting

Held on Sunday,  7th April 2024

at Trinity Park, Felixstowe Road, Ipswich 


AGM 2024 Minutes


1.              Welcome  - Tessa Davies, East Councillor welcomed our NODA National President Christine Hunter-Hughes and a total of 40 guests from the East and the East Representatives and committee.


2.               Apologies for Absence, as follows :-  Dale Freeman, NODA COO.  Michael Williamson, Lavinia Pirret, Derek Dixey, Zelda Rolfe, Martyn Rolfe, Alex Bilsland, David Nash, Sharon Fox and Wendy Fisher


3.               In Memoriam – A  list of 44 members were read out and followed by a minutes silence. 

4.               Minutes of the 2023 AGM held on Sunday 16 April 2022 at The Forum, Danestrete, Stevenage

5.               Matters Arising  - There were no matters arising. The minutes were proposed by Hazel Hole and Seconded by Leslie Judd

6.               Councillor’s Report -  Tessa Davies - As you are all aware, we had to switch to this venue quickly when the venue we had booked became unavailable.  It has meant a restriction in guest numbers, and I know that a very large number of societies were unable to obtain tickets for this year’s event. This may have an impact on the number of members attending this AGM, but I want to wish you all a warm welcome for making it!   

Plans are in place for a larger venue, for next year, which has taken us a while to find, but we hope that everyone who wants to attend will be able to do so in 2025. So, this, sold out, event is a real celebration of the East Region Amateur Theatre scene and the mutual support that everyone gives to the region.

I have seen a lot of productions, large and small, in the past year and the societies have always made me so welcome.   I look forward to seeing many more in the next 12 months.  Many of the shows that have been produced are new and exciting but there was also a fair representation of the tried and tested favourites both in Drama and Musicals.  I applaud the efforts of all of you to put on the very best production you can, the standard continues to improve and challenges many professional productions.

Although a few societies did not renew their NODA subscription in the 2023, we can report that some did so during the year. The NODA East team, all of whom are volunteers, is a strong one and we are all here ready to provide you, our members, with the support, guidance and advice that may be needed.

NODA has some big plans for the years ahead and we hope that our membership will recognise the benefit to them of the developments that will be taking place. 

So, moving forward in 2024, please take advantage of the experience we have in the regional team and, above all, have a great year.

7.               Treasurer’s Report Leslie Judd – Comparing year to year, holding the AGM and Awards ceremony at Stevenage allowed us a much larger audience compared to Wyboston Lakes in 2022 gave a greatly increased ticket sales, and a VAT element which has to be shown separately, the raffle again produced a large income, the odd pence shown there is due to using card readers for payment which takes a small percentage commission (approx 1.7%).

Income for year was £26,873.10 compared to £18.985.16

Expenditure for year was £25,211.77 compared to £20,722.20

Expenditure is made up as shown

Most are small amounts and compare well with 2022. The exceptions being Committee Meetings where we had more face to face meetings, which incurred more travel expenses, although we continue to hold Zoom/Google Meet meetings. Summer School expense is for Regional Reps to attend Summer School Visitors day, do encourage your Rep to attend and report back to your societies.

National conference expenses are paid for travel expenses and a contribution towards hotel accommodation fot ant Regional rep that attends, expenses vary depending on location, 2022 was Plymouth, 2023 was Preston, 2024 will again be Plymouth.

The biggest expense as always is Travel expense for Reps to visit and review shows, this compares very favourably to 2022 considering the volatility in fuel prices.

The year started with a bank balance of £1,425.30 and ended with a balance of £1,806.63. Head Office aims to keep a minimum balance of £1,500 in each Regions bank account.

 The Treasurers Report was Proposed by Catherine Dixey and Seconded by Sarah Mears.


8.               Membership Secretary’s report – Julie Petrucci

 NODA East Region society membership increased slightly in 2023 having ended the year with a society membership of 230.

Individual membership runs from January to December and numbers remain fairly stable, currently standing at 54. Schools and Colleges are on a rolling membership therefore their renewal dates vary throughout the year.

As you know Society Membership now runs from 1 April to 31 March each year which means it is difficult to give a precise number of member societies today as renewals due on 1 April are still coming in and are steadily being processed by Head Office. However, the number of NODA East Region member societies renewing for 2024/2025 is looking positive with the number on Saturday 6 April standing at 127

9.               President’s Address  - Christine Hunter-Hughes expressed her thanks in being invited to the NODA East AGM. She said she had visited many shows so far into her year and was looking forward to many more.  She requested  us all to invite her to forthcoming shows and said she would try her best to attend as many as possible.   As Dale Freeman had been unable to attend she had been asked to read out his  very comprehensive report.

10.    Dale Freeman – NODA COO Report  - To all the NODA volunteers in the East, I extend grateful thanks on behalf of NODA for your commitment and dedication in supporting and working with NODA members in this region, each and every week of the year. 

It is important to re-emphasise that NODA is totally committed to providing the best and most accessible range of services for the benefit of all our members directly and indirectly. And we can take great encouragement and positivity for the future of amateur theatre as we emerge fully now from the more damaging impacts of Covid-19.

We are currently in the midst of the annual subscription renewal period for all society members. Just to remind you, society membership runs from April 1stuntil March 31st. If you have already renewed – thank you. A prompt renewal saves us resources and indeed money. Particularly with postage costs as they are. If you haven’t renewed, please return the form that was sent to you in the post or call us at head office to renew over the phone, or, as many are doing now, you can renew online via the website.   If you haven’t received a form please contact head office for a copy.


The membership structure, in terms of banding, is always based on your ticket revenue received for the previous year. So, the information we need to renew your membership is your gross box office takings from April 1st, 2023, to March 31st 2024. I stress this is the gross figure, not the figure after you have paid out all expenses.


Legal Advice 

NODA, whilst not being a governing body, are though in a position to provide advice and guidance from specialist professionals in their respective fields of expertise and knowledge both on a one-to-one basis or through our highly informative factsheets. The NODA Legal Helpline is provided by Counterculture LLP who are based in Sheffield and Health and Safety Advice provided by NODA Safe, a 3rd party company. These are invaluable resources and are used on a regular basis by many members.


The dedicated NODA pantomime website ( with the facility to examine scripts, order perusal copies and complete licensing arrangements is going from strength to strength. 2023 saw a substantial increase in pantomime licences being issued. We have many new and fresh authors in our stable and the number of licences we are issuing is testimony to the writing quality of the scripts. I urge you please, if you haven’t considered NODA pantomimes, to have a look at the titles on offer.


Long service awards continue to be offered to the membership and continue to sell well for us, in fact one of our 3 key income streams. Thank you to those that purchase these and I know many of you have for many, many years.


Don’t forget also that NODA are able to process DBS applications for you, NODA being an umbrella body. This is another service that is exclusive to NODA members. We are currently processing dozens on behalf of our members every week of the year.


This year sees NODA’s 125th anniversary. NODA was formed in 1899 and we are proud of our organisation and equally proud to be still here, still supporting amateur theatre, still relevant and still looking at ways to ensure we are here for the next 125 years for our 250th. What a celebration that will be! I must add it to my calendar! 

Future CHANGE  The coming 12 months will see a revised phase in our rolling 5-year plan to include:

  • An exciting new marketing and branding strategy.
  • Enhanced volunteer training program.
  • New Investments in technology and web site design 
  • Improved social media communications with our members, already happening in earnest.

    There are also some plans that are in their very early stages, and these we look forward to sharing them with you all soon. 
    Front and centre in our plans will be a NEW BRAND STRATEGY for NODA and this includes new branding – a new logo included. 
  • This has been some 18 months in the planning to ensure we get it absolutely right. It is a significant investment and has to be right, hence the time it has so far taken. THE ‘NEW NODA’ WILL BE LAUNCHED AT THE NATIONAL AGM IN SEPTEMBER IN THE SOUTH WEST (PLYMOUTH) CELBRATORY WEEKEND.
  • That challenge is for us all to make sure that NODA is - and is known for, and respected for being - relevant, visible, and valued. Let me elaborate briefly…


  • Relevant: If we are to thrive, we must make sure that we celebrate, support and champion all amateur theatre and provide the support and services our members need and continue to inspire and to create opportunity for individuals, groups, and their communities.
  • Visible: Take a leading role in promoting the unique benefits and positive impacts of this wonderful pastime - supporting our members to spread the word. Inspiring all the audiences and stakeholders who can help our members, and NODA, to thrive.
  • Valued: NODA must recognise that we are here for the benefit of our members and volunteer community, with the highest quality services helping to create opportunity; so that we can help them to be the best they can be.


The first signs will be a new brand identity for the organisation; It will be at the heart of how we build and design a new website and online tools for NODA members. Embedding this new brand into our plans and activities beyond marketing and communications.  The strategy articulates a new definition of the role of NODA; making clear what we are here to do, why we are here: and how we partner with our members so that the greater number of people and communities, everywhere can enjoy the fantastic benefits and impacts of the unique pastime that we love so much.

On closing, thank you for your time this morning and I trust you have had yet another enjoyable NODA East conference here in Ipswich and I send you my very best wishes to you and yours for 2024.


11.             Appointment of Councillor for 2023/2024 - At this point Christine Hunter-Hughes was asked to chair the meeting. She thanked Tessa for all her hard work over the past year. As there were no other nominations Tessa Davies was duly declared Councillor for the East

12.             Appointment of Regional Representatives and Assistant Representatives for 2024/2025

The following Reps are all standing for the forthcoming year. There were no other nominations and were reappointed on block.

District 2 Richard Fitt                                  District 3 Nova Horley             District 4N Leslie Judd

 District 4S Julie Petrucci                           District 5 Martyn Rolfe              District 6 Sara Meers

District 7 Decia Ranger                              District 8 Victoria Carey          District 9 Scott Welch

 District 10 Natalie Hills                              District 11 Hazel Hole               District 12 Catherine Dixey


There were no other nominations and the following Assistant Reps are all reappointed for the forthcoming year.

Amanda Green, Neil Jackson, Phil Melia, Richard Lovelock, Will Jameson & Sue Dupont.


With no other nominations  the following Officers are re-appointed for the forthcoming year:

 Catherine Dixey, Secretary;                     Leslie Judd, Treasurer;                             Julie Petrucci, Membership Secretary, 

 DeeDee Doke, Magazine Editor;            Alex Bilsland, Web Master,                      Zelda Rolfe, Youth Co-ordinator.


13.             Date and venue for 2024 AGM – In view of the fact that the main Hall at Trinity Park could only accommodate 460 guests we needed to continue to look for larger venues. This was ongoing and we would  advise once this had been confirmed. AGM 15 th June 2025, Venue to be announced. 


14.             Open Forum to discuss any other business – There were no other items raised from the floor.


15.             The meeting closed at 11am