The AGM of the Oxted
& Limpsfield Barn Theatre Company Limited, held on 8th June 2011, was
a very special occasion. It was exactly 25 years ago that Bruce Reed,
already a Barn Director for nine years, was elected Chairman of the
This year, in his
report to a packed theatre, Bruce began by saying that 25 years ago
he had arrived at the Barn Theatre resplendent in his new vintage Bentley
which he had collected and driven down from London that afternoon; the
pleasure and delight soon faded however, when at the conclusion of the
evening he had to be pushed out of the car park as the damn thing wouldn't
start. This evening he said he arrived on two walking sticks. How things
Well, things have
certainly changed under Bruce's leadership. The Theatre is flourishing
more now than at any other time in its long history. For many years
during the summer months the theatre was dark; now it is fully used
by a number of aspiring youth groups. Over the years, as Theatre Manager,
Bruce has also enthusiastically and proactively increased the number
of shows staged at the Barn each year, inviting new groups to perform
and booking 'one night stands' and special gala evenings. His most recent
success was "Spirit of the Brave" in support of 'Help for Heroes' at
which the Barn raised £11,000 for the charity, the most money raised
to date from a single performance.
Bruce has also been
the driving force behind most of the improvements to the Theatre. With
his business acumen and expertise in maintaining older properties he
masterminded the project known as Barn 2000 when the board decided to
build the extension. He also became the project manager for another
major improvement, the air conditioning system. His knowledge, drive
and attention to detail have always meant that all the jobs have been
executed to exacting criteria. His love of the theatre is shown in the
real joy he gets from designing and building sets for Barn productions.
Because of his drive and organisational skills he has always been able
to enlist a large team of volunteers to work alongside him, and, with
Bruce leading, the team have built some memorable sets, particularly
those that head off to the world famous Minack Theatre in Cornwall.
To mark the occasion,
at the end of the AGM fellow Barn director Phil Littleford invited Bruce
onto the stage to thank him publicly for all his hard work and dedication
during this time. A large number of individuals and all the regular
hirers of the theatre had combined to make a presentation to mark a
remarkable quarter century. Bruce was presented with a case of wine
and a congratulatory card and then was invited to unveil a specially
commissioned art work consisting of a piece of Barn oak surmounted by
two ceramic masks depicting comedy and tragedy and an inscribed plaque.
He explained that the card enclosed many letters of congratulation from
the regular hirers of the Theatre.
Chris Hepher then read out tributes to Bruce from the South Eastern
Councillor of The National Operatic and Dramatic Association, Mike Tilbury
of the Guild of Drama Adjudicators and Ann Aplin, the Chairman of the
National Executive Committee of the All England Theatre Festival.
Everybody then retired
to the bar where the celebrations continued with wine and cake cutting.