History

Beverley Amateur Operatic Society (1927 – 1937)

The Beverley Amateur Operatic Society was formed in 1927, conducted by H.Malkin who also conducted the Beverley Choral Society at this time. The Society’s first performance was Iolanthe in February 1927.

In the 1920s and 30s the Society largely performed Gilbert and Sullivan shows, although others such as Dorothy and Rebel Maid were also performed. Most of the shows were presented at the Gymnasium Hall in Beverley.

In 1937 the Beverley Amateur Operatic Society was wound up due to a lack of support from membership, the lack of a suitable hall in the town for opera performances and declining audiences which was causing financial difficulties.

 

Productions from 1927 to 1935

February 1927    Iolanthe

February 1928    Mikado

Mikado Feb 1928

February 1929    The Gondoliers

February 1930    Dorothy

March 1931     Trial by Jury / HMS Pinafore

February 1932    Rebel Maid

February 1933    The Geisha
October 1933    Concert in aid of the Hospital

February 1934    The Yeomen of the Guard
November 1934    Florodora

November 1935    Pirates of Penzance

Beverley and District Amateur Operatic Society (post-war)

The first show after the war by the newly re-formed Beverley and District Amateur Operatic Society was due to be The Gondoliers in 1947 at the Marble Arch Cinema, but this was cancelled because of a lack of fuel for heating.

Instead, concert versions of Merrie England and Tom Jones were performed in 1947 and 1948, and staged shows were re-commenced in 1949 with The Gondoliers at the Marble Arch in March.  Some ex-members of the Society remembered that:

 

From the Memorial Hall to the Hull New Theatre

By the late 1950s the society had dropped ‘and District’ from its name to become Beverley Amateur Operatic Society. In 1959 they moved their performance venue from the Marble Arch cinema, which was due to be demolished, to the Memorial Hall, where they performed the Merry Widow.

This was their home until 1967 when the success of their performance of Camelot prompted them to look for a bigger venue for the following year’s performance of Robert and Elizabeth.

For the next 22 years the Society performed at Hull’s New Theatre.

 

Beverley Operatic Society

From 1990, when financial difficulties necessitated the return of the, then Beverley Operatic Society, to the Memorial Hall, the Society presented two performances a year, a musical and a pantomime. In 2000 they were again able to return to the New Theatre with Guys and Dolls, but also continued to perform a pantomime each Christmas at the Memorial Hall.


Beverley Musical Theatre

In September 2006 the society re-launched itself as Beverley Musical Theatre in order to appeal to 21st century audiences and attract new members to the world of musical theatre. Beverley Musical Theatre continues to perform two shows a year: a main show in the late spring at Hull New Theatre and a pantomime at Christmas at the Beverley Memorial Hall.


Famous past members

Ruth Madoc

Ruth Madoc spent part of her childhood in Beverley, and in 1957 played the part of Prince Chulalongkorn in the Society’s version of The King and I, before leaving Beverley to become a household name. She has been the president of Beverley Operatic Society for the past three years.


Peter Martin

One of Peter Martin’s earliest acting jobs was singing “with a fine tenor voice” in Beverley Amateur Operatic Society’s 1967 version of Camelot. Since then he has gone on to be a television actor, appearing in many Yorkshire and Lancashire based shows, and may be best remembered as Len Reynolds in Emmerdale. Other TV shows include Heartbeat, Dalziel and Pascoe, The Royle Family and All Creatures Great and Small. He has appeared in one film, the Yorkshire-based miner drama Brassed Off.