Have you ever wondered what Twyford Drama's treasurer actually does? Well, you're in luck! We sat down with David Tanqueray, who was treasurer of the group for thirty years, to find out.
Could you give us a brief summary of what’s involved in being the treasurer?
Obviously, the treasurer is responsible for all the money that comes in and goes out, and keeping the books up to date. I always did the accounts book as a handwritten book. I recorded everything there, and that’s pretty much the bible of it. Then there’s a spreadsheet I used. And every month you have to produce accounts, get them up to date, check them, and insert them in the spreadsheet and make sure everything adds up. And when it doesn’t, that’s when it gets fun: I did enjoy finding out why it didn’t add up. I’m a bit of a glutton for dotting every i and crossing every t and making sure that the pennies add up exactly. If they don’t, something’s wrong.
You also have to produce the annual accounts for the AGM, and get them audited. There is no legal requirement for us to be audited, but it’s a good idea to do so – it covers the treasurer’s backside.
And then, of course, you have to attend the committee meetings.
So what does managing the money coming in and going out actually look like?
Well, apart from ticket sales, there’s collecting money from people, like membership subs, money for scripts and for advertisements in the programmes. Most of our advertisers pay annually now though, which makes things easier. We’ve also got a patron scheme, whose payments we have to keep track of.
Then, once you’ve collected it, you have to pay the money into the bank account. That’s got simpler in that now instead of writing cheques most people tend to pay online, which works well.
There’s also reimbursing people for things they’ve purchased for a production or for the group – paying the bills. I’ve managed to train most people now to write their name and what it’s for on their bill. There was a time when they’d just hand me a little sheet of paper and ten minutes later I’d have no idea who had given it to me or what it was for. We can reimburse people in cash or by cheque, but now of course it’s usually done online.
On top of that, every time there’s a show, you have to produce cash floats, for the door, the teas, and the programmes, and sometimes ice creams. During the pandemic, when we ran the bar, we had to do a float for the bar as well. So, I had five different floats to provide and make sure other people kept them separate, so I could enter those things individually in the accounts. Between every performance the treasurer has to count the money and reset the floats ready for the next one, which can be a bit of a problem between the matinee and evening performance for the pantomime, as there’s not much time, but I always managed to do it. Then after the shows, you have to count the money up. That’s when it often doesn’t add up. It can be a bit of a nightmare at times. I always tried to correlate it with the tickets sold, but I never quite succeeded in doing that.
Are there any other tasks you carried out as treasurer?
It’s not officially part of the treasurer’s role, but something I got into the habit of doing was trying to check that all performance and video licences had been obtained and the associated terms had been followed. In particular, I would try to check that the publicity material for our productions – posters, programmes, website, DVDs, etc. – included all the necessary credits.
And can you tell us a bit about how the group makes money and what it spends it on?
The pantomime is the event that brings in the most money for the group. The other plays less so. We’ve even had losses sometimes. That can happen if we want to do a serious drama for the challenge of it that may not be as popular with audiences. However, we have made a profit on all our recent plays.
In terms of expenses, Loddon Hall is the biggest one. We pay for our regular rehearsal space and to use the main hall and stage when we put on our productions. After the pantomime, we tend to be very flush with money but not so much by the end of the year after paying the monthly rent. Then there are the costs for putting on productions – building sets, making costumes, licence fees, and so on. We also occasionally spend money on big-ticket items. We’ve just recently upgraded the sound system, for example, but we usually apply to one of the charities for funds to cover big things like that.
The other thing we’re trying to do is raise money to build a proper scenery store at Loddon Hall. So we’re now keeping a fundraising account as well as our main account. When people donate to us, which they can also do through TicketSource when they buy tickets, that money goes into the fundraising account to go towards the future scenery store.
Now you know all about what’s involved in being the treasurer, do you think you have what it takes? Look out for our next interview with David coming soon on the qualities a treasurer needs and his advice for future treasurers.