Long-time Twyford Drama member David Tanqueray stepped down from the role of treasurer earlier this year after holding the post for an incredible thirty years! Very kindly, he agreed to sit down with us and share some of his memories from his time in the role.
So, David, when did you first become involved in the group?
Oh, that was back in 1990. The first production I took part in was Robinson Crusoe. I then became treasurer in October 1993. I can even show you the accounts book where my handwriting starts.
Why did you decide to become the group’s treasurer?
I had heard that the group was looking for someone to take on the role and I thought I might like to give it a go. I didn’t want to do any of the other jobs on the committee, especially publicity, which is not my thing at all. To most people, treasurer is a very boring job, but it’s something I could do. And yes, I actually quite enjoyed doing it.
Which part of the role have you enjoyed the most?
I enjoyed the numbers and I enjoyed getting them right. That was the main thing. When they were wrong, I might tear my hair out a bit, but because I am very persistent, I would always manage to end up with the correct results.
And what about your least favourite part of the role?
Getting other people to pay up. Asking them the first time is all right but it’s having to chase them up again and again that takes time and effort. Although, to be fair, people are getting better.
Do you have any notable memories from your time as treasurer?
Oh yes. When I was counting the money for a show, what I usually did was get the floats back after each performance so I’d have the profit from the performance, which I would put into a bag and keep. Then it wouldn’t be until probably the Monday or Tuesday that I’d put it all together and take the cash to the bank. Well, there was one memorable play when we were going through the numbers at a committee meeting shortly after the show and the director of the play said “the numbers don’t look right to me”, and I suddenly remembered that one of those packages was still in my filing cabinet and I had failed to bank it! So it was a bit of an oops moment.
Then, just before this Christmas, the social secretary gave me the money she’d collected from the Christmas social evening. She brought it round to our house at the weekend when all the family were going to arrive and I didn’t have time to deal with it. So, I needed to put it somewhere safe as I didn’t want to leave it where I would normally put it because with small children running around the house, you’ve no idea what’s going to happen. Then, after Christmas, I couldn’t find my ‘safe’ place. Much later, I was going through my personal accounts and came across the missing money in a pile of my own old receipts – it finally appeared! So that’s the second time I’ve lost something in the house, but that’s only twice in thirty years, so it’s not too bad.
Another memory comes to mind which shows the importance of keeping an archive of all the old receipts and accounts books – I’ve got receipts going back for years, which can come in very helpful. For example, at one point Loddon Hall were thinking about charging us for the space above the stage, where the wardrobe is. However, I found a letter from Loddon Hall amongst our receipts stating quite clearly that we, the theatre group, had paid for the steelwork where the wardrobe is, and therefore we were entitled to use that space. Because the people at Loddon Hall had changed over time, they weren’t aware of this agreement.
Finally, how do you think the theatre group has changed since you first joined?
Not a lot actually. It’s always been a good, friendly group. Of course, all the box office and everything was done manually originally, and things have got much more automated and online since, which makes things easier. As far as the actors and directors and people though, it hasn’t really changed a lot. We’ve kept pretty much the same culture all the way through. Well, except everyone’s a lot older. I’m sort of coming to realise that, which is why I’m stopping being treasurer.
I think we’re very fortunate as a group now, because we went through a period when it was just us oldies, and now there are a lot of younger people getting involved and doing a brilliant job, which is just what we need. So I’m quite encouraged, I think the group’s thriving from that point of view.
Want to learn more about the role of treasurer? Keep an eye out for our next interview with David discussing all that’s involved.