FOST Volunteer Thank You Evening – 6th February 2019

During February this year over 100 FOST volunteers braved the wet weather to attend a ‘Volunteer Thank You’ evening at the Theatre.

Unlike previous ‘Thank You’ evenings, this one was a little different: a condensed version of the 10th Anniversary Show, that took place during October, for those who missed the original show (including the Theatre Chairman, Vic Farrow, who was in hospital) and those who wished to see the video presentations from the show again.

The original show was a sell-out and, although there were plenty of seats available for the ‘Thank You’ evening, volunteers sat near the stage to be close to the action and experience a great atmosphere.

Theatre Manager Roger Coleman once again showed his compère skills, though this time he was on stage rather than being a disembodied voice!

The ‘performance’ kicked off with video presentations showing the Theatre’s history from the construction of the original Institute to the time of World War II, with still images of the various acts who originally performed between the videos being shown in place of the original performances.

Videos on the stage screen were noticeably brighter – thanks to a newly installed projector replacing the old projector that had served for over 20 years but was starting to become rather dim.

Events progressed well until still images of the Pepperpots came on screen; at this point the presentation halted with a computer error! Sadly, IT were unable to fix the problem, though the ‘trick’ was soon evident when the Pepperpots came on stage to perform live! Once again they delivered their hilarious version of ‘If I Was Not Upon The Stage’ to the delight of the audience who clapped and cheered at the end. For those who wish to see them again, The Pepperpot Players will be performing the whodunit, ‘Death In High Heels’, at Shanklin Theatre during early October 2019 (tickets on sale in June).

Videos and act images continued on screen, starting with the boom years of the 1950s through to the present day which ended showing Theatre Managers and FOST Volunteers going about their (tongue in cheek) work, most of whom were in the audience watching themselves on screen!

Another surprised followed: James Derbyshire from Spotlight IOW showed his excellent repertoire of skills by singing live ‘Feeling Good’ and performing an Elvis number whilst making the audience laugh by cracking jokes – a change from his regular performances at the Theatre in ‘Beyond The West End’ and Christmas panto’s.

Once again, Roger introduced video messages from the stars, with the exception of Ray Allen being in the auditorium this time to see the very amusing on-screen antics of Joe Pasquale doing his best to put Ray off giving a sincere message of congratulations for the 10th Anniversary of the Theatre.

FOST had commissioned a lovely glass memento for Vic Farrow, originally intended to be presented to Vic at the 10th Anniversary Celebration. Now the opportunity arose for David Kast, Theatre MD, to present the memento to Vic on stage: a moving occasion but great to see Vic looking so much better and enjoying the evening.

Finally, some on-screen fireworks celebrated the occasion, followed by a rather silly short video about visiting the bar – dreadful screen colours, sound and video sync well off and such a long flight of stairs leading downstairs to the bar!
However, the evening wasn’t yet over.

There was food downstairs and the bar was open for drinks. To further show appreciation of the huge amount of effort put in by volunteers in keeping Shanklin Theatre running, Janet Wardle, FOST Chairman, presented 5 Year Service badges to many of the volunteers – these were much appreciated and can be seen being proudly worn by volunteers.

It won’t be long before some volunteers become eligible for 10 Year Service badges. A future celebration to come!

Rob Robertson, February 2019.