GDS is a registered charity no 256227 and is affiliated to the National Operatic and Dramatic Association. It has a constitution outlining its aims and rules and is overseen by a committee of trustees, officers and elected representatives.
There is an AGM each year, at which the annual report and audited accounts are received and members elect representatives to the committee.
Originally, in the years after it was founded in 1945, GDS raised thousands of pounds of local charities, donating the profits from shows to worthy causes. Those days are long gone, as Grantham no longer has a theatre large enough to make substantial profits from ticket sales.
In the 1960s, GDS became a charity in its own right, aiming to promote the arts in Grantham and provide opportunities for local people, whatever their situation, to get involved in the arts.
All moneys raised from ticket sales, sponsorship and fundraising are spent on the theatre hire charges levied by South Kesteven District Council, rent for our rehearsal rooms and workshop and insurance for the local people getting involved in our activities.
GDS plays a very active role in the local community and we are keen to make a contribution to wider society within Grantham.
The dress rehearsal of every show we perform at the Guildhall is attended by patients from the Cree Centre - people who would struggle to attend a regular theatre performance. The guests are treated to an exclusive performance, with the auditorium to themselves, plus a 'meet the cast', photographs and signed programme after every show. This arrangement helps our actors get used to a 'live audience' and opens up the arts to people who would not otherwise be able to comfortably go to the theatre.
We are the only local group to have a strict policy of ALWAYS providing ticket price discounts to OAPs, low income households and students. At least £1 is taken off prices for these groups, meaning tickets can be bought for just £7.
The existence of the group itself provides a myriad of opportunities for Grantham residents to get involved in the performing arts and background activities. Involvement in the group leads to an increase in self-confidence, a larger support network, improved skills and improved mental and physical health.
We are often the first port of call for people who move to the town from elsewhere (around half of our members are not originally from Grantham) and the mix of working, unemployed, retired, low-income, professional, single-parent families, students, children, experienced and novice performers provides members with a unique opportunity to meet, mix and integrate.
We positively encourage people from all sectors of the community to join us as members, particularly those who are currently underrepresented.