The East Midlands region of NODA covers seven counties; Buckinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland. It includes traditionally industrial cities like Leicester, Nottingham and Derby, the new town of Milton Keynes, and the large and largely rural county of Lincolnshire.
We have some very old societies, such as Northampton Musical Theatre, founded in 1898 and Stamford Amateur Operatic Society, which started in 1905. But we also have newer groups like Bonkers from Kettering and the magnificently named Eccentric Penguin Productions from Derby. This also reflects a more recent trend in the organisation of drama groups, either led by an individual or working as a small collective - like Marde Hen from Belper, who specialise in new writing.
There is a diversity of venues - the magnificent Theatre Royal in Nottingham and the boldly designed Curve in Leicester but also small theatres such as Retford's Little Theatre and the the Lion Theatre, Horncastle, built by its members in a pub car park - as well as the Royal and Derngate in Northampton which combines a 20th century theatre with a Victorian one.
But as everywhere else, venues are becoming more expensive and some are now out of the reach of amateur theatre companies - a challenge for the future.