Our Chair, Lee Ridgeway, tells us about how he took on the role and what it involves
What was your path to becoming Chair?
I joined SLT in 2005 and became Chair at the 2012 AGM. Having spent over six years being an active member of SLT, I decided that the club had given me so much joy and pleasure since joining that I wanted to give something back. I was having a drink in the bar with the then Chair Bob Callender, who told me that he needed to step down from the role to spend more time working with the Building Preservation Trust and our Heritage Lottery Fund bid. During our conversation he said to me ‘You have a great passion for this place, why don’t you stand?’. I was quite young at the time and wasn’t sure if I’d be the best person to take over. I went home and discussed it with my wife, and the rest as they say is history.
Tell us about General Council and its role
General Council is effectively the group of directors that run the theatre. The roles include: Chairman, Deputy Chairman, General Secretary, General Stage Manager, Publicity Director, Membership Director, Financial Director, the 4 Theatre Committee Directors and a Director without portfolio. We have monthly General Council meetings where we discuss matters concerning the health and welfare of our theatre and its activities. We constantly have discussions via email too as often things need more urgent attention.
What does your role involve?
It’s not an easy question to answer in all honesty. I chair lots of meetings. I represent SLT in meetings with other groups. A prime example would be during our time at Stanley Halls, where with other members from GC, we negotiated terms of our lease/withdrawal and had regular meetings with those in charge regarding issues we were having as a group while renting their space. I also get invited to and are present at local meetings within the community to help promote SLT and spread our name.
What’s the best bit about being Chair? And the worst?
Having been Chair though SLT’s transition period I am immensely proud of how we as a community have settled back into our new theatre. We have been back almost a year now, the standard of our shows seems to just get better and better and seeing all the lovely reviews posted on the various social media sites always leaves a lump in my throat as I know we doing something right.
Sadly as Chair there are occasions where a member’s behaviour has been out of line with the way the club would expect someone to behave on our premises. Although these are few and far between, it’s the Chair’s job to deal with this.
What are your ambitions for SLT in 2019?
It is my hope that SLT continues to set the high standards with regards to productions that it has built certainly since I have been Chair. SLT with its warmth and friendliness brings so much joy and happiness to so many people, so long may this continue.