How many people knew that we can trace our history back to 1922, when we were formed as the ‘Skegness Amateur Operatic Society’?
The first general meeting was held at the Edinburgh Cafe, Skegness, on Thursday 15 June 1922, at 8.00 pm. There were 24 people present, from which the first committee was formed, and the following principles were adopted:-
“The Society to be named ‘The Skegness Amateur Operatic Society’.
The Object of the Society to be the rehearsal and production of light opera.
Management is vested in a committee consisting of President, Musical Director, Producer, Treasurer, and Secretary.
Membership: by invitation. All members shall, if so required, submit to a test to prove ability, fitness, or suitability for any particular part.
Subscription: None (at present). Members must defray the cost of their own music.
Authority: The Musical Director shall have sole control in questions relating to music, and the Producer in questions relating to stage action, scenery, costumes, and effects.
The management shall be empowered to require the withdrawal of any member whose conduct, lack of ability, or failure to attend practices or rehearsals renders such course desirable.
Members are expected to attend at least 90% of practices, and to attend punctually.
No person other than members of the cast shall be present at rehearsals without the consent of the Musical Director (or the Producer).
A concert committee to be formed in due course.”
The early shows were indeed light opera, including HMS Pinafore, The Mikado, Gondoliers, Pirates of Penzance, Iolanthe, Patience, Yeoman of the Guard, Merrie England, The Geisha, Rose of Persia, The Chocolate Soldier, Ruddigore, and Gypsy Love.
The Society took a break during the war years, and then re-formed on 11 November 1964 as ‘The Skegness and District Amateur Operatic Society’. The first show performed by the new society was The King and I.
The Society is now called ‘Skegness Musical Theatre Company’, and has continued to flourish. We are an inclusive society and love to encourage new talent, and also to tackle shows of all genres. Our last ten shows have been Whistle down the Wind, Sister Act, Scrooge, Sweeney Todd, The King and I, My Fair Lady, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Pirates of Penzance, Fiddler on the roof, and The Scarlet Pimpernel. In other words, we have ranged from light opera, through Rogers and Hammerstein, to Alan Menken, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman. Next year we are performing ‘Boogie Nights’ at the Embassy Theatre. This will be a new venture for us, with lots of great 70s hits to sing and dance to, but we hope that we can keep finding a new audience so that we are here to celebrate our centenary.