Sunday, September 25, 2011

News Letter

Hello Everyone,
Here we are well into September and as you know the theatre is open again after the long summer recession. The first production of the Autumn was directed by John Pyne and featured Lizz Freeman, Catrina Helsby, Paul Anthony, and Deborah Dietl who all  gave perfect performances, what a joy to hear them sing so wonderfully well  to very good audiences and standing ovations. All of you who attended no doubt enjoyed a thoroughly good show. Then came the ’A tribute to Take That and Westlife’, what a joy too that show was and a complete sell out, where on earth did all those enthusiastic, effervescent young people come from, we need to know as we need them here at the theatre, they danced and cheered in the aisles, what a show and what a wonderful beginning to the Autumn.
As for FOTA, we have a representative at our FOTA desk now every day Monday to Saturday at lunch time and have been busy renewing memberships, joining new members, selling David’s wonderful cards, selling many calendars. Call in and see us, we would be so pleased to see you. Don’t leave it too late to buy your Christmas cards, they are available now.
The Calendar Launching Barbecue was a complete sell out and a wonderful success and the donation each guest made to FOTA all helped out with the huge expenses needed to keep the theatre going. It was a very enjoyable evening and the boys were fantastic, David our President was MC and Sweelan Ford was a great help in the kitchen. The guests and the staff were all so enthusiastic.  Congratulations to all of them who made it such a success.
So what have we got to look forward to? Well lots of things, first of all the play ‘Who is Afraid of Virginia Wolf, which is on for 5 nights starting this coming Wednesday,28th September. The cast have worked so hard at long rehearsals to give us a good show so please come along and support it. We need you specially now at a time of recession and crisis, Please come.
On Thursday the 6th October is our monthly lunch club meeting at Casa Rustica, a lovely venue, excellent meal,  good company, come and meet friends and book at FOTA desk. Non profit making lunch specially arranged for you.
Of course none of you must miss Oliver starting on 14th October, Peter Height and  Peter Mitchell are experts at producing professional and most enjoyable musicals and will of course be a great success, don’t miss that from the 14th until the 23rd October, and with all the children in it it will be a joy to watch. Just heard coming soon one night only TRES DIVOS
27th October we have Gina’s Coach Trip, we were going to see the crocodiles but have been told the butterflies are much more interesting and combined with that is a trip to the Cave at Rincon de la Victoria (not the Nerja ones), breakfast and lunch, please come for an enjoyable day out.  We need to be two thirds full on the coach to break even.  And just breaking news Friday 28th October 8 p.m. at Salon Varietes one night only THE RAT PACK, that should NOT be missed.
Beginning of November from 4th – 8th sees LADIES NIGHT directed by Peter Brooks at the Theatre, if you miss this girls you will be very sorry, your partners are welcome to come along too.. If it is anything like The Full Monty it will be terrific, that was a wonderful show at the Salon and this promises to be as good, Can’t wait!! If you belong to any club get a group together from the club to come with you. Ring Brian at the Box Office 952474542 to discuss group bookings or just book.
What else? Well lots of things in the planning, David Radford and I are off to Gibraltar Thursday to discuss prices of cruises from mid June and already we have prices from Royal Caribbean in Malaga so that is exciting, a group are off on a Nile cruise in January and there is lots more in the pipeline. Call in and find out all about what is going on, Any ideas?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


You have all heard of the girls, now meet the CALENDAR BOYS.

The Salon Variet├ęs Theatre fundraising calendar featuring artistic shots of the BOYS is now available at FOTA desk.

A special barbecue is to be held on Saturday 17th September at 7.30 to launch and promote this interesting calendar and the production of LADIES NIGHT in NOVEMBER.

THE CALENDAR BOYS will be in attendance as waiters and the line up for the evening includes a MASTER OF CEREMONIES and 2 NAKED CHEFS (with aprons of course).

Do not miss this fun evening out, only 40 places available so phone for further details and reservations to

David Radford 952462213 or Val Williams 952584268

Or call at Salon Variet├ęs Theatre FOTA desk open 11.30 - 1.15 Monday to Saturday and book your tickets for Ladies Night too at the Box Office. Both are occasions you should not miss.

Val Williams

Back Stage At The Salon

The 2012 Calendar officially goes on sale on 29th August.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

News Letter from Val Williams

Dear All,

Here we are at the end of the 26th successful season at Salon Varietes and thanks to the support of all of you it is still going strong with lots of exciting things happening in the forthcoming season. The bar will be closed early July until early September when FOTA information desk will be open again every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Some of you may have let your membership lapse so do come along and renew please, we need you, the theatre needs you and hopefully you need FOTA. We have a permanent base here right in the centre of Fuengirola and always pleased to see you call in and have a drink at the bar or to discuss anything with us, it will be a pleasure to meet you. We are having an informal lunch on the 7th July at Casa Rustica, do come along.

September starts with an informal lunch at Casa Rustica, come along at 1 p.m.on Thursday the 1st of September, and these lunches are held every first Thursday of the month at Casa Rustica. On the 9th September the first production starts at the theatre – The Gala Opening.

Our monthly coach excursions start on Thursday 27th October with a visit to the Crocodile Park with over 300 crocodiles, the opportunity to hold a live crocodile and a live demonstration, also a visit to Cueva del Tesoro in Rincon la Victoria, often overlooked because of the more famous Nerja caves, but is one of the only 3 submarine caves or origin known in the world, so well worth a visit. Our journey starts with coffee and toast and finishes with a late lunch at a venta. Dont miss this trip, more details at FOTA information desk.

Our 2nd trip in the Autumn takes us to RUTE with visits to a distillery, chocolate factory and sausage producers, breakfast and lunch, a very interesting trip. Gina Foster has been organising excellent trips for many years and works hard for the theatre as Salva President, so now she is having help from Val Williams and both will work together to make your social excursions enjoyable.Nov 24th

This year we have revived the once very popular special night out

THE AUTUMN BALL AT VALPARAISO on the 16th NOVEMBER, Don’t miss this wonderful night out, a chance to put on your ‘glad rags’. See you there, you’ll have a great night. Make up a table and bring your friends.

And then we come to December and the FOTA CHRISTMAS LUNCH AT EL BRUJO on the 15th December. If you have anything suitable for the tombola please bring it along beforehand, a jar of marmalade, a bottle of wine, packet of biscuits, a nice ornament, it all helps towards theatre funds.

29th December there is an informal visit to Picasso Museum, the wine museum and to see the lights in Malaga, well worth seeing and have tapas in Calle Larios. We go by train, but no need to book for this. Pay on the day.

David Radford our President makes wonderful cards for all occasions, get well, birthday, sympathy, and boxed Christmas cards with all proceeds going to the theatre so do buy your cards from David.

If you have any ideas for trips, functions, holidays, fund raising events or anything that could be of interest to the association please do let us know, we would like your ideas. The Salon Varietes has survived so well for 26 years thanks to all the hard work of the voluntary helpers and particularly to the fund raising in various forms undertaken by the Friends of the Theatre Association where the aim is to keep live theatre alive in Fuengirola and also to give you our members a good varied and interesting social life where you meet lots of friends and need never feel alone here on the costa. Please phone with ideas or just to say Hello – Val Williams on 952584268.

Kind Regards,

Friday, August 19, 2011

FOTA Events

The FOTA Information desk will be operating every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 11.30am to 1.15pm from the 29th August. Meanwhile, here are some dates of forthcoming FOTA Events to look forward to:
  • September 1st - Lunch at Casa Rustica (1pm for 1.30pm). A casual meeting, so no need to book for this one.
  • September 14th - Quiz Night at the Salon (starts prompt at 8.30pm).
  • September 23rd - Coach trip to Cueva del Tesora & Crocodile Park.
  • October 6th - Lunch at Casa Rustica.
  • November 3rd - Lunch at Casa Rustica.
  • November 24th - Coach trip to Ruta.
  • December 1st - Lunch at Casa Rustica.
  • December 15th - Christmas Lunch at El Brujo.
  • December 29th - Train trip to Malaga. Visit the Wine Museum, the Picasso Museum and the city night lights. Returning on the 10pm train. Pay as you go and no need to book. A casual get together during the Christmas break.
  • January 5th - Lunch at Casa Rustica.
Dates & times can change, so please call by the FOTA Desk to avoid disapointment.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

My last Post

At he AGM of FOTA on May 17th I shall be leaving the Board. I consider my position impossible (nothing to do with FOTA) but this is the newest newsletter and I hope that it will bring you up to speed on more important matters than my going.

FOTA Newsletter 3

It is April 29th in the evening and it is clear that we sent our sunshine to London and got their rain in return. Fortunately the trip to Ronda yesterday was done in the best weather that Andalucia could offer and I have heard no complaints. By the end of my stint on the desk on Wednesday the coach had filled so we can look forward to a good report from Arthur at the Board meeting on Tuesday.

This is just as well since the previous trip only made a profit of 12 euros due to some unexpected expenses. Still in March we handed 2000 euros to SALVA and in April 1000.

Our next effort is to visit the Donkey Sanctuary in the foothills of the Alpujarras and then on to Nerja for lunch and finishing with a visit to Frigiliana, one of the most well known White Villages. The diary date is May 19th. An optional extra could be a visit to the caves at Nerja but this is the time of the year for outdoors, not too hot so perfect for seeing the village or having a coffee and letting the village see you.

The next date for your diary is our AGM. We are trying something new this year and holding it at 12.00 on May 17th. This should enable members to have the morning and /or lunchtime in Fuengirola and fit us in as well. It shouldn’t take very long. We recently welcomed Jean Mackenzie to the FOTA Board and will welcome Val Williams to the next. They will need to be confirmed. Helen Young and Norma Wilson are looking to be re elected but I have decided that my days on the Board are over, at least for the immediate future. A new Secretary will be required. I intend to continue on the desk on Wednesdays ( if they let me).

Finally in the ‘what to look forward to’ section can I PR for ‘Little Women’. The story of four sisters in the US just after the Civil War and how they cope with growing up is one of the great classics of American literature. Lots of laughs and I suspect moments when a clean hanky will be in order. It is directed by Ana Atteck and I had the pleasure of working with her on ‘The Railway Children’. Not only was she immensely impressive as a motivator of young performers, she also managed to get such good performances that there are many who think it the best thing the Salon has done. I am keeping my fingers crossed that a disruptive cough has gone by May 6th when it opens for five nights.

Having looked to the future it is time to look at the past. The crisis has affected us all but we can’t use it as an excuse because so many of my colleagues have worked so hard that our income for the year has dropped only a very small amount. Last year we were able to give the theatre 11,000 euros and this year it is 500 euros less. Hard work has been combined with trying new approaches where we can and maintaining product quality of course. We have made small improvements in marketing what we do, like better publicity material, particularly for ‘hard to sell’ trips though there is still room for improvement and changes to improve matters. One constraint we have is that most of the FOTA Board are in their seventies or close to it and physically moving trestle tables and standing around is difficult. Competition has made some activities almost pointless. As I write I am wearing a pair of designer trousers which I bought in Cudeca for 1 euro so fashion shows are now considered not a good idea. Gina no longer has her big garage for storage so Book Sales (and Fashion Shows) are impossible to organize. Younger fitter users of the theatre’s facilities have not been conspicuous in volunteering or joining FOTA.

At this point I have to embarrass two stalwarts. David Radford first. Everyone already knows how much effort he puts into his cards although the rise of e cards has affected everyone in that field. It would be nice to think that all who use the theatre buy their cards from David. If you don’t then go and look at his stock.

But more than that. David spent many evenings selling the 25th anniversary booklet and without his work the profit of 1600 euros which it made would have been an ill afforded loss. He will be too modest to mention it in his Presidents report at the AGM. Thank God I am used to being told off.
The other great fundraiser innovation is the raffles held during the longer shows. Here thanks must be given to Norma who organizes and motivates the ticket sellers.

We are always on the lookout for new ideas. Recent criticism of FOTA’s activities has been very light on the positive suggestion side but the new committee will, I am sure welcome anything that leads to improving on the 40,000 plus euros FOTA has given the theatre in the last three years or so.
 See you on May 17th at 12.00

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Letter to the Editor of The News

I am pleased that Valerie Jeffrey enjoyed her visit to the show at TAPAS recently but the comment of her friend that ‘You wouldn’t encourage your children to read badly written books so why take them to see amateur dramatics’ shows a woeful ignorance of the theatre that is available both here and when visiting English speaking communities around the world. Of course standards vary but perhaps my, fairly typical, experience as an amateur (mostly) performer can illustrate what she and her friend could be missing. I began with an amateur company in West London at a time when Arnold Wesker was encouraging professionals to be involved with communities. (I remember Simon Ward playing Hamlet in the local secondary modern school) All the teachers on the course I took came from RADA or Central. While I was at the Questors(now the largest amateur theatre company in Europe with three theatres and 3000 members) two plays written for members transferred into the West End and an important playwright (James Saunders) was discovered. Like many amateur actors I have spent many hours in workshops and short courses and I believe we all take improving our standards to be one of the reasons we continue to perform. And we don’t get cast unless we do!
Subsequently I have worked in amateur companies with young professionals who were showing off their skills to agents etc.  and who wanted to make sure the rest of the cast were good enough to prevent  the agent heading for the door, with older professionals who couldn’t reconcile a touring, away from base life, with family life or with actors who were honing their skills with more demanding parts than they could currently get in the theatre. On occasion the majority of the cast held equity cards.  Rarely could an outsider tell which of us were which.  And the equity card holder didn’t always have the leading part. There have been other occasions when plays began as an unpaid theatre work and then built to the West End. In Brighton I was one of a small audience above a pub for the beginning of the hit Musical ‘A Slice of Saturday Night’. What an amateur night that was! Also incidentally I was one of the audience when a distinguished and famous professional forgot so many lines the pre West End show was almost called off at the Theatre Royal.
Here I have performed at the Salon Varietes with actors who have appeared in the West End and on TV and with young actors setting out with high aims. The very edition of the News which had the letter from Ms.Jeffrey also had the ‘WOW’ factor final with a rave review from your editor. There were three Salon performers , one of whom won it.  This year The NEWS has reported that two former performers at our theatre have done extremely well with one getting a final place on Operation Triunfo and another appearing in ‘The Tudors’ before heading off to a contract in Hollywood. Currently I am working with some very talented young people in a production of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Endgame’ In English at the ESAD Theatre in Malaga. The Director is heading for a Masters at RADA and the other members of the cast already cover much of their student costs with paid for professional work. I am sure I shall see some of them on TV or film one day. It has been a demanding and rewarding experience working with them.
To sum up, theatre operates on a spectrum from the great subsidized theatres via West End to local theatres then profit share , unpaid work (the London fringe has some really good stuff but they are amateur when they do it) and serious committed amateur theatre of a high standard to what I call ‘am dram’ – village hall fun productions, worthy but you know what to expect and it can still beat the telly.
I hope that Ms. Jeffrey’s friend reconsiders her unwise remark. She must have already missed so much good stuff it would be a pity to miss any more.