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
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 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.
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.