Today, we’re excited to bring you a video interview with our Chair of Governors, Douglas Pope. Doug has been a member of Sharnbrook Mill since before The Mill became a theatre and it’s fascinating to hear him talk about his memories and also about how he sees the future of the theatre.
We also asked him a few questions by email which you can read below.
What is your role within the Governors?
I am Chairman of the board of governors, I sit on the Exeutive Management Committee (EMC) in that capacity and I am also one of the Fundraising team .
Why did you get involved with The Mill and join the Board?
My first involvement was when I performed in a 1 act play in the Church Hall in Spring 1969. I joined the stage crew for our production of Half a Sixpence at the Ritz Rushden in October of that year, saw what a great time everyone was having being involved in a musical, was bitten by the “Sharnbrook bug” and the rest is history. I was invited to join the Board of Governors in 1972 so as a result was involved with the “Mill Theatre Project “ from the very start.
What does The Mill mean to you?
The Mill has been ever-present in mine and Ginny’s lives for 52 years and our daughters, Victoria and Alex, literally grew up there, surrounded by members and friends. To witness its growth, success and achievements sometimes fills me with astonishment at what has been done in those years. The Mill means more to me than I can adequately express but witnessing the pleasure experienced by members and audiences alike in our own theatre is a very special feeling.
What does your role on the Board bring to The Mill?
As Chairman, I am responsible for ensuring the Trust is governed in the correct manner as per our Articles of Association, as a Limited company and as a registered Charity. In addition, I am charged with the responsibility of seeing that our aims and policies, as set out by the governors, are carried out. As one of the longest serving members of the board, I guess I am able to offer my experience and an explanation of historical facts and figures.
Where do you see the future of The Mill in five years?
Undoubtedly by 2026, we will, by necessity, be operating differently. Most of what has been achieved throughout our history has been because of the incredible dedication of our members, thorough planning and careful use of our resources – long may that continue. We will remain resolute in our desire to offer the very best of theatre – something that is practically etched into the soul of the Trust. We will attach further emphasis and importance to our youth membership, increased use of the whole premises for a wide variety of events and activities and, with the considerable growth of the village of Sharnbrook, our role and importance will grow with that expansion.
What is the highlight of your time on the Board at The Mill?
The obvious one is when we opened as a theatre in 1979 and performed our first production “Salad Days”. There are 2 others, however, that stand out: Firstly, the installation of the green energy heating system, which meant that at long last our audiences could sit at a comfortable temperature during the winter months. Secondly, the honour bestowed upon us of The Queens Award for Voluntary Service. This was deserved recognition for the years of selfless endeavour by so many of our members.