Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Look Backward Look Forward

I thought just saying Merry Christmas as a heading was a bit old hat so out has come my old school motto! Needless to say though all the members of the FOTA committee wished all our members - and even those reading this who aren't - a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

The end of the calendar year is a good time to look back and see what FOTA has done for the theatre and perhaps hope that new members may be encouraged to join. It is much taken for granted on the theatre terrace and in the dressing rooms that the theatre is a permanent and financially sound part of our ex-pat life here but the truth is very different as events this year have shown.

So let's start with what FOTA has done for the theatre's finances. We were told in the Autumn that the combined effect of the cost of the works that have needed to be done to the building had brought the theatre to the edge of closing and its future after Christmas was not assured. FOTA immediately gave 15000 euros from our accumulated funds. Since then we have handed over another 2000 euros from our fundraising activities and budget to make that another 1500 at least by the end of the pantomime season. This money can only come from you, the members, and others who have supported our activities.

This Autumn we have had trips to Jaen and to Rute which were well enough attended to make a slight profit. We have kept the prices for our trips deliberately low since we are a social as well as a fundraising group but as with the lunches they barely cover their costs and it is the raffles which raise funds. We have also held our usual booksale and Christmas Bazaar but here's the rub. Some members of the FOTA Committee have been there since the beginning over 20 years ago and even most of us newcomers (seven years in my case) have backs that aren't so keen on the lugging of trestles and tables and goodies. With the loss of storage at the garages of Gina we also faced a big problem. It seems that for the moment at least the events we have held on the terrace of the theatre whether book sales or bazaars will be no more. They have been an important part of our fundraising over the years with each one contributing from a hundred to several hundreds of euros and we urgently needed to find another way and when one door closes another opens.

Thanks in no small way to Norma's ladies who welcome us to the theatre we had a very successful raffle during the Christmas show. The prize was an excellent one and altogether raised about 700 euros. Really the ticket sellers deserve a big round of applause. We have bought a splendid hamper from El Corte Ingles and will be selling tickets during the pantomime
for a second Christmas raffle.

Of course our programme of trips and lunches will continue. On February 19th we are going to Estepa (really, this time) to visit an asparagus farm and a chocolate factory. I keep trying to think of a suitable recipe but haven't come up with anything so far. Perhaps if they made champagne in Estepa as well? There will be one more trip before Easter.

Christmas lunch was attended by 60 people, so a great way to end the year's lunch programme. I was away but I am told that the food and the company were excellent and not too many misbehaved with the carol singing! For the coming year lunches have been booked at Antonio Videra on January 15th . We have used this before and it has always proved
popular. Then two new venues for us. A little further out of town to the El Coto restaurant, a favourite with one of our committee who vouches for its quality and finally something really different. The vegetarian restaurant in Los Boliches - Vegetalia. We have been lucky to have them take us because they are usually very full at lunch time when they do an interesting vegetarian buffet. This time I can vouch for the food and I think it will go well whatever your normal tastes.

Many wisely resist the temptation to sit on committees and one of the things that can make almost any pair of eyes glaze over is discussion of constitutional arrangements and procedure. Sometimes someone gets lumbered because changes are forced upon us. This year we have started to examine the legal situation of the Group hopefully by the time of the AGM we will be able to report to members how we have improved the way our group integrates into the management structure of the theatre.

Well have a good time in the next few weeks. Don't forget the panto, bring your inner child. Our Gina makes a wonderful villain. If you aren't here on the Costa we wish you a white Christmas (in the north) or a beach barbeque if you have gone South. Wherever you are we will look forward to seeing you on the terrace in the New Year.

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