Amateur Dramatics etc

PLAYS

From the Western Gazette, January 1873 in the ‘Burnham’ section:

 

THE BURNHAM  DRAMATIC SOCIETY

This was established in 1946 and put on productions at the Town Hall, the  Pavilion and sometimes at the Arts Centre in Poplar Rd.

The example programme below is from 1949.

Things become a little confusing as there are also some programmes in existence referring to the ‘Burnham on Sea Dramatic Society ‘ (which is likely to be the same thing) and The ‘Burnham on Sea Amateur Dramatic Society, which could be different judging by the example programme of a 1952 ‘Revue’ ,at the Arts Centre, below.

 

ST ANDREWS DRAMA CLUB

Given that the performance below was raising funds for the FFH campaign it was probably 1963.

 

VARIETY

HARLEQUIN CLUB

Programmes for entertainment from 1960 & 1961. We have no other information abut the Harlequin Club.

 

OPERETTA

THE BURNHAM-ON-SEA & HIGHBRIDGE AMATEUR OPERATIC SOCIETY

The 1961 programme for ‘The Gypsy Baron’ tells us that the Society is one year away from its 50 year jubilee. It includes a list of previous productions beginning in 1913 with ‘H.M.S. Pinafore’ followed by ‘Dorothy’ in 1914. There was then a break during the war and the group re-formed in 1920 with ‘Les Cloches de Cornville’, produced by Arnold Pople. George Hauser was among the principals.  Dorothy Hutchin, who joined as a chorus member in that year , was celebrated by an article in the Burnham Gazette  & Highbridge Express in 1951 for 31 years of performances and a number of years as secretary. Both Mrs Hutchins and Mr Hauser received medals for 25 years of continuous service. There was a production every year (except 1932) until 1940 when there was another break during World War II. During that period the productions were always staged during Easter  week at the Town Hall (Princess Hall) until they were transferred to the Ritz in 1937. Prices were 4s. 9d. for wooden chairs and 1s.3d. for the back three rowns of forms.  The orchestra was made up largely of students from the Guildhall school of music. The 1921 performance of Iolanthe was hit by an epidemic of mumps, resulting in the absence of many of the company, so that some of the ladies from the chorus had to dress up  as men. The group does not appear to have re-formed until 1950 with a production of ‘A Country Girl’. Annual productions continued again until 1960 Many though not all of the performances were of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. The last listed production  was Iolanthe in 1960.

In 1956 the Society produced a Gilbert & Sullivan double bill: ‘Trial By Jury’ and ‘H.M.S. Pinafore’

 

THE BURNHAM ON SEA GILBERT & SULLIVAN SOCIETY.

We have one programme from 1971 indicating the existence of another operetta group. We have no other information about this group (update: see comment at bottom of page by Nathalie Bending)

 

PANTOMIME

The society was first formed in 1969 by Joanne Page, Joan Plant, Valerie Hooper, Mike Hooper, Melvyn Shephard, Alastair Murray & Nina Haldenby. Other members joined the society later that year.

The first 30 years:

All performances at the Princess Hall.

CINDERELLA 1970

Said to have been Burnham’s first pantomime.

The cast included:-

Brian Hooper, Geoff Lewis, Ann Cox, Colin Irish, Alastair Murray, John Midgley,  Valarie Hooper, Laurie Easton, Micheal Easton,     Jean Jotcham, Sue Wall, Gwen Allen, Colin Major, Bill Jacobs, Sandra Day , Valerie Symonds, Dave Pusil, Pat Pusil, Audrey David, Delyce Pursglove , Jean Ham , Sue Leigh, Cherry Daldry  ,  Nina Haldenry  and  Doreen Watson,

Thanks to Dave & Pat Pusil  for picture

ALIBABA 1971

Cast: Mike Hooper; Valerie Symonds; Val Hooper; Peter Rouse; Jean Whitehouse; Delyse Purseglore; Sue Leigh; Melvyn Shepherd; Nina Haldenby; Laurie Easton; Denise Berry; Dave Perry; Reg Perry; Linda Radford; Elaine Scadder; Jean Jotcham; Violet Hudson;Ann Cox; Karl Goosens; Pat Pusil; Dave Pusil; Mark Stent; Patrick Lovell; Jackie Beatty; Jean Ham; Wendy Hand. Nina Haldenby & Judith Stevenson were the golden statues.

PUSS IN BOOTS 1972

Cast: Peter Rouse; Valerie Symonds; Ann Goosens; Michael Hooper; Ann Cox; John Haldenby; Laurie Easton; Reg Perry; Violet Hudson; Melvyn Shepherd.

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK 1974

The cast included:-

Val Hooper, Valerie Symonds, Mike Hooper, Violet Hudson, Joan Placent, Pat Pusil and John Page.

ALADDIN 1975

Cast: Ann Cox; Valerie Symonds; Val Hooper; Alistair Murray; Barry Eggbeer; Ann Goosens; Peter Rouse; Maureen Easton; Violet Hudson; John Page; Pat Pusil; Pat Difford; Melvyn Shepherd.

 

ROBINSON CRUSOE 1976

The cast included:-

Nina Haldenby, Valerie Symonds, Wendy Hand, Jean Whitehouse, Alastair Murray, Violet Hudson, John Haldenby, David Williams, Ann Cox, Keith Pursglove, John Dolding  and Doreen Hudson.

Thanks to Valerie Symonds and Pat & Dave Pusil for Panto Photos.

3 thoughts on “Amateur Dramatics etc”

  1. There was a schism! Half carried on as the Burnham Amateur Dramatics and the other half wanted to do G&S. Grandma (Norah Sara) was in both. They eventually joined back together as the Burnham on Sea Light Opera Society (I think – it may have been Operatic?).

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