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WAOS Constitution

1. Title

The Society shall be called “Witham Amateur Operatic Society” - abbreviated to WAOS.

2. Aims and Objectives

The objects of the Society shall be to educate the public in the dramatic and operatic arts and to further the development of the public appreciation in the said arts by giving musical and operatic performances in Witham and the neighbourhood.

3. Constitution

The Society shall consist of a President, Life Members, Members (adults and juniors), and Friends.

(a) President: The President shall be appointed by invitation of the Executive Committee.
(b) Life Members: The Society may include as honorary Life Members such persons, to be elected at an AGM, as shall have rendered special services to the Society.
(c) Members: Members of WAOS may be either acting or non-acting members, but all shall pay an annual subscription to the Society.
(d) Junior Members: The junior members shall be collectively known as Witham Operatic Workshop (WOW) and the business of the junior members shall be delegated to a Sub-committee of the Executive Committee of WAOS.
(e) Friends: Friends are supporters of WAOS who make a donation to the Society funds in exchange for voting rights, other than show selection

WAOS is committed to equality of opportunity and will not discriminate against prospective or current members on the basis of colour, race, nationality, gender or disability.

4. Finance & Management

(a) The funds of the Society shall be applied solely to the stated objects of the Society.
(b) The Society shall be conducted as a non-profit making concern and it shall be the rule that no officer or member of the Society either directly or indirectly shall benefit financially by virtue of membership.
(c) All financial transactions shall conform to the rules laid down by the Charity Commissioners.
(d) No expenditure of over £100 or more that is unbudgeted shall be incurred by any member of the Society without the authority of the Treasurer and/or Secretary and sanctioned by the Executive Committee.
(e) In the event of the activities of the Society being temporarily suspended, any monies in hand shall be placed in trust for any subsequent revival of the Society. In the event of dissolution, any assets remaining after payment of all outstanding debts and liabilities shall not be divided amongst the members, but shall be given or transferred to some other charitable society or societies established for a similar charitable purpose.


(a) The Executive Committee shall be responsible for the whole of the general management of the Society, with entire control over all financial matters. The Executive Committee shall comprise 9 members of the Society, namely Chairman, Secretary, Business Manager, Treasurer, Production Manager, Publicity Manager and three others. At least one member of the Committee shall be a member of the junior section Sub-committee.
(b) A member of the Executive Committee shall cease to hold office if (i) he or she is disqualified from acting as a member of the Executive Committee by virtue of Section 72 of the Charities Act 1993 (ii) becomes incapable by reason of mental disorder, illness or injury of managing his or her own affairs.
(c) No person shall be entitled to act as a member of the Executive Committee until after signing in the minute book a declaration of acceptance and of willingness to act in the trusts of the society.
(d) A quorum of the committee shall be 5 committee members present.
(e) The Executive Committee may appoint one or more sub-committees for the purpose of making any inquiry or supervising or performing any function or duty which in the opinion of the Executive Committee would be more conveniently undertaken or carried out by a sub-committee; provided that all acts and proceedings of any such sub-committees shall be fully and promptly reported to the Executive Committee. Any such sub-committee that requires a Treasurer must comprise at least one member and the Treasurer of the Executive Committee.
(f) The Executive Committee has the power to deal with any contingencies not provided for in the ‘Constitution’ but no alteration of the ‘Constitution’ shall be made without the sanction of a General Meeting of the Society.
(g) All members of the Executive Committee are deemed to be Trustees of WAOS, a Registered Charity - No 265029.
(h) No amendments to the “Constitution” shall at any time be made which will cause the Society to cease to be a Charity.

5. Election of Executive Committee

All Executive Committee members retiring and willing to re-stand will be agreed at the meeting prior to an Annual General Meeting (AGM). Any non-executive committee member wishing to stand or nominate another must give at least 7 days’ notice, in writing to the secretary. The Executive Committee shall be elected by the adult members present at each AGM.

(a) Each member will receive due notice of the election.
(b) Each candidate must be a WAOS member and at least 18 years old.
(c) Each candidate must be proposed, seconded and elected by a simple majority of the adult members attending the meeting.

6. Meetings

(a) Annual General Meeting: The Annual General Meeting shall be held as soon as practicable after 31 December in each year. The accounts of the Society shall be made up to this date and presented to the AGM. Additionally the Chairman or his nominee shall present a review of the previous year.
(b) Special General Meetings: A Special General meeting of the Society may be called at any time on the requisition of not less than 10 members of the Society or a quorum of the Executive Committee and shall be called within 21 days after the receipt by the Secretary of a requisition in writing to that effect. Every such requisition shall specify the business for which the meeting is to be convened and no other business shall be transacted at such Meeting.
(c) 21 days’ notice of any Annual or Special General Meeting shall be given.
(d) No person other than a friend or a paid up member may vote at either an AGM or Special General Meeting.
(e) The ‘Constitution’ may be revised only at a General Meeting.

7. Membership and Subscriptions

(a) Applications for membership shall be made to the Secretary for consideration by the Executive Committee as soon as practicable.
(b) The subscription shall be determined from year to year at the Annual General Meeting. Additionally, the Executive Committee shall have the power to levy a performance fee on all cast members participating in a show, this to become due for payment immediately after auditions have taken place and casting is complete.
(c) Subscriptions are due on 1 May each year and must be paid by the end of June when, if not paid, membership will lapse.
(d) The Executive Committee, by two thirds vote, can terminate or refuse membership of WAOS.

8. Selection of Shows

(a) The Show Selection sub-committee, as nominated by the Executive Committee, shall compile a short list of shows, considering casting, venue, cost, competition etc.
(b) The Executive Committee shall reserve the right to decide whether to choose from the short list of shows presented or whether to present the short list at a General Meeting for members to vote using a ballot system.

9. Show Auditions

(a) Auditions will be held at a time and venue as directed by the WAOS Executive Committee.
(b) The conduct of auditions will be under the direction of the Audition Committee which shall comprise Director, Musical Director, Choreographer (if any), a member of the Executive Committee and one/two others not involved in the show (to make five in all) as nominated by the Executive Committee.
(c) Any fully paid-up member of the Society may audition for a show. Any non-member wishing to audition for a show, must pay a non-refundable audition fee as determined from time to time by the Executive Committee; the amount paid to be deducted from the initial membership fee if that non member accepts a role offered to them by the Audition Committee.
(d) Should any member of the Audition Committee be auditioning, or have a member of their family auditioning, then that committee member shall stand down during the auditioning and subsequent discussion of that particular part.

10. Obligations of Members

(a) Cast members shall, to the best of their ability, play the parts assigned to them, whether principal or chorus, as directed by the production team, at all rehearsals and performances.
(b) Cast members will be subject to a probationary period and if, in the opinion of the production team and subject to endorsement by the Executive Committee, they are not proficient or have not attended regularly they will be taken out of the cast and replaced as required.
(c) Society members not on stage for a particular show will be expected to offer assistance in some way – backstage, front of house, or in some other capacity, for the benefit of the production.
(d) Society members will be provided with a Membership Booklet that details acceptable codes of conduct, which may from time to time be altered by the Executive Committee, and to which all members must adhere.

11. Register of Attendance

The Production Manager or his/her appointed deputy shall keep a record of attendance at rehearsal.

WAOS - Registered Charity No: 265029

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