Special Communique from the Pinewood Players/Club Committee
Dear Pinewood Player members:
We continue to hear rumors and wrong information about the agreement we reached with Pinewood Country Club and how Pinewood Players is to be managed in the future. We prepared a list of Questions and Answers to address these rumors and your questions. But there are a few things we wish to make sure you know:
Pinewood Players, Inc., was founded in 1997 and incorporated as a non-profit in that same year. However, prior to incorporation as a non-profit, Pinewood Players was always a member organization of Pinewood Country Club. We have records showing that in 1995, for example, tickets for plays were being sold out of the Country Club’s office. We have other documentation showing that information about joining Pinewood Players was directed to Pinewood Country Club members, not unlike the Pickleball-Tennis group soliciting new members in recent times. Plays were performed on the Club’s premises. Everyone in the Pinewood proper was part of Pinewood Country Club at that time. When Pinewood Players, Inc. was formed in 1997 as a non-profit all members of Pinewood Players were members of Pinewood Country Club.
In 2001, after a time period in which some members brought a law suit to the Club about the dues equalization vote, property owners in Munds Park were no longer required to pay Country Club dues. The lawsuit did nothing to change the relationship between Pinewood Country Club and its member group, Pinewood Players. Over all these 20+ years, the vast majority of Pinewood Players members have been Country Club members. Member’s guest were allowed to participate, but they had to pay Player’s dues for an Associate membership and they had no voting privileges. We learned later from other documentation that Associate members had to “stay behind the scenes”, which meant not participate as an actor/actress.
Fast track to 2012, when Pinewood Players and the Country Club analyzed the current situation and found that more and more people were actively participating in plays yet were not members of the Club. In addition, kids and grandkids of Club members were being overlooked for drama camp, while non-members’ family members were given parts. The drama camp, and how it was to be run and for whom, was the impetus of the discussions about Pinewood Players in 2012.
The Pinewood Players has a lease that guarantees use of the Playhouse for $1 per year, through 2025. The Country Club provides parking for the plays and for members as they come back and forth for rehearsal. The Country Club provides rehearsal space when it is able to, inside and outside of the Club buildings. The Country Club maintains the surrounding grounds. Yes, Pinewood Players does some maintenance on the building, pays some of the electric bill, and has also invested monies in upgrading the internal building facilities. The $1 lease payment has not been paid in several years, if ever, showing what we think is a good faith effort on the Country Club to treat Pinewood Players like any other of its member groups. The Club also restricts its evening music activities on nights when there are plays so the music will not interfere with the productions.
The Boards of both organizations successfully came up with a solution in 2012 that was viewed as a good one by the majority, but not all, of Pinewood Players members and Club members. Keep in mind that Country Club members who learned that non-members were participating in plays and enjoying the benefits of this amateur theatre were questioning us as to how these folks could do so without paying their share for the Club’s operations, etc. The relations between Pinewood Players and Pinewood Country Club at that time were somewhat challenging, because there were non-Club members who didn’t care one bit what the Club did, as long as they could have the theatre and its amenities available to them. The committees that worked on a solution in 2012 agreed to grandfather 18 individuals from Club membership through 2019. They were encouraged to try the Club’s other amenities for no cost of a period of time.
In 2016, however, Bill Gibney, then President of Pinewood Players that year, asked the Country Club to forever grandfather those individual who were still active and put the issue of membership to rest for these folks. With this new agreement, we did just that. We recognize that Pinewood Players is an asset to the Club. It is an asset to Munds Park, in that the general public can see amateur productions for entertainment, and the agreement we reached also allows for non-club member’s children to participate in Drama Camp if there is room. But in the end, it is Country Club members who pay the taxes, maintain the overall property, and provide an entire building to be used solely by a drama group of the Club.
While presenting this opportunity to the people who are grandfathered – meaning they never have to pay Club dues yet can participate fully in Pinewood Players – it is ultimately their choice on how to proceed. We have taken a risk in making that decision, because others have told us that arrangement is not fair to dues-paying members. We urge everyone to stay with Pinewood Players and the Club, but if in good conscious you cannot, it is probably time to move on and halt the negativity. We are here to have a good time. We are fortunate to have a social club that offers many outlets for enjoying life. Let’s all do that.
The Pinewood Players/Club Committee
p.s. We will be in the Club’s Green Room from 4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (at the beginning of Happy Hour) on Wednesday, August 16th, should you want to stop by and ask us any questions. Or, you may also contact anyone of us prior to that with any questions or feedback you have.
Margaret Dyekman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Les Maurseth, email@example.com
Georgia Osborne, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pam Solace, email@example.com
Pinewood Players & Pinewood Country Club
Agreement Frequently Asked Questions
We have asked a number of members about the recent announcement of the motions passed by both Pinewood Players Board of Directors and the Pinewood Country Club Board of Directors. From their responses, we have developed a list of FAQ’s. We hope this list will be helpful to promote a better understanding of some components of the agreement. If you have additional questions please contact any of the Committee members shown above or use the CONTACT US feature in the pull down menu on www.pinewoodplayers.com or send your questions via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Why are we seeing these new policies now?
A: The policies are not new. They have been in effect since 2012 when an agreement was reached with the Pinewood Country Club that continued their relationship and set some guidelines for how the two groups worked together. That agreement was to culminate in 2020. Committees from both Pinewood Players and Pinewood Country Club have been working since the end of last season to find a way to accelerate and make permanent the components of that 2012 agreement. There is little that is new in the motions passed by both boards except to be more specific in some areas where the 2012 agreement required some clarification.
Q: Is Pinewood Players part of Pinewood Country Club?
A: Yes. Pinewood Players was created by 5 Country Club members 27 years ago in 1990. Plays were held in the Country Club Showroom and the Library for some time. When the audiences became so large as to spread out into the lobby, a better solution was sought, hence the Playhouse which had previously been an activities center building. The Country Club allowed Pinewood Players to lease the building for the sum of $1 per year and those terms remain in place to this day. In 2002 a legal action impacting the entire community caused changes in Country Club membership. As an unintended consequence Players membership was allowed to expand beyond club members until finally in 2012 the Country Club Board took note of the situation and determined that it was time that Club membership requirements should be enforced. A committee of two board members from each organization hammered out a compromise agreement which went into effect in 2012 and was to culminate in 2020 with country club membership required to participate in production activities (acting, stage management and light and sound operators) with no exceptions. Among other things, the 2012 agreement allowed for a classification of non-country club members for Pinewood Players and it also “Grandfathered” some non-club members to allow them to participate in production activities until 2020. The groups have been operating under this agreement for the past 5 years.
Q: What activities are Pinewood Players members who are not members of the Country Club allowed to participate in?
A: Pinewood Players members who do not belong to the Country Club may participate in a number of activities such as set building, set painting, set decoration, backstage crew, make-up, costumes, ushering, ticket sales, housekeeping, web site, carnival, drama camp volunteers and virtually all other volunteer activities. The only activities that are excluded are on-stage production activities: acting, stage managing and light and sound operations.
Q: How did the list of “Grandfathered” individuals come about and how were the grandfathered members selected?
A: The “Grandfathered” category was created by the original 2012 agreement as a concession to Pinewood Players during the negotiation of that agreement with the Country Club. At that time the list included around 18 individuals including couples. These Pinewood Players members were allowed to continue to participate in all activities including acting, stage manager and sounds and lights because they were long-time Pinewood Players members and critical key contributors to the organization. However, there was a time limit established of 2020 when all grandfathered individuals would have to become Country Club members or they would no longer be allowed to participate in the production activities. The motions passed last month allow the grandfathered members to continue to participate in acting, stage management and light and sound operation as long as they are Pinewood Players members and desire to participate. The list of grandfathered members is comprised of those members who were on the original grandfathered list who are still active in Pinewood Players. Several of the individuals on the original 2012 list are no longer in Munds Park or active in the organization. These people were not included in the new agreement.
Q: Are non-Country Club members ever allowed to participate in production activities?
A: While Pinewood Country Club members are given priority in the acting, stage management and lighting and sound operator roles, there is flexibility in the agreement in cases where cast members are unable to fulfill their roles and Country Club members cannot be found to replace them. The flexibility also applies if there are insufficient Country Club members available to fill all the roles. There is a simple process and procedure which the Director can follow in these cases to gain approval for non-Country Club members to be able to fill these roles.
Q: Are you allowed to direct if you are a non-Country Club member?
A: Yes. Directors are paid independent contractors. They do not have to be members of the Country Club.
Q: Are children and grandchildren of Pinewood Players members who are not Country Club members allowed to attend the drama camps.
A: The agreement gives priority to Pinewood Country Club members and their families. If there are still vacancies in the camps not filled by Country Club families after a sufficient time has been allowed for registration, the agreement allows non-Country Club members to participate. The Drama Camp Administrator also has the option to increase the size of the camps to accommodate additional participants. This has been done in the past.