107 Years of History

The Beginning

On 4th February 1909 a group of enthusiasts interested in amateur theatre met at the Glynn Hotel, Doncaster and founded the Doncaster Amateur Operatic Society. The Glynn Hotel stood on Station Road, next to the Grand Theatre and on 15th February 1909 a deputation called upon Mr John William Chapman, the Manager of the theatre to discuss the question of hiring it for a musical production in the January of 1910. It was reported that Mr.Chapman offered the Grand Theatre for six nights at a commission of 35% of the takings, and from Monday 10th to Saturday 15th January 1910 the society staged it’s first performance, Gilbert & Sullivan’s opera “The Mikado” under the musical directorship of Mr.Wilfrid Sanderson, a well known musician and composer of the day.

The next two productions were “The Gondoliers” in 1911 and “The Yeomen of the Guard” in 1912, both of which proved highly popular and successful. Merrie England was chosen for the spring of 1913 and in December of the same year, “HMS Pinafore” and “Trial by Jury” were produced.

War stopped the production for 1914, which should have been Fielding’s “Tom Jones”, which at that time had been banned from the shelves of the public library. The next production was in 1920 when “The Gondoliers proved as popular as ever. In 1921 the society departed from the tradition of staging Gilbert & Sullivan operas and began to produce more modern musicals, and over the years has given thousands of pounds to local charities.

The Grand Theatre, Station Road, Doncaster
(A Victorian Theatre)

1960 was the society’s Golden Jubilee production  and the musical “Show Boat” was staged at the Grand Theatre. This was the last time the society performed at that venue as the Grand Theatre was then closed for theatrical productions and turned into a Bingo hall. The Society then moved to the Gaumont Theatre (later re named the Odeon theatre) where it staged musical productions until 1990. Since 1991 the society’s home has been the Civic Theatre in Waterdale, Doncaster.

A front view of the Gaumont Theatre, Doncaster 1960

 

Doncaster Civic Theatre

2009 saw 100 years since the society was founded and 2010 was the centenary of the first production and we were very pleased to secure the rights to perform “Disney’s Beauty & the Beast for our centenary production. This was staged at the Civic Theatre, Doncaster from 2nd to 6th March 2010.

2012 was to be the last production staged at the Doncaster Civic theatre by the society. ‘The West End Tonight’ production was a cornucopia of show stoppers, old favourites and somethings new.  It proved to be an imaginative, colourful and energetic variety show. It was a pleasure to welcome Lydia Griffiths a star of the London West End stage to appear with us.

This was to prove to be the end of an era at the beloved Civic Theatre as the town had big plans to build a 620 seater new theatre ‘CAST’.

CAST Theatre 2013 – Waterdale, Doncaster

By 2013 the new theatre was completed and in 2014 we staged our first production, ‘The Sound of Music’ in this amazing venue. It exceeded all our expectations. Here we could fly scenery – unheard of at the Civic Theatre. With nearly every seat sold over five performances, it was a huge success.

This production was followed by the very popular and again sell out production ‘Hairspray’ in 2015.The show attracted many of Doncaster’s young and talented dancers, singers and actors as well as more mature and experienced performers to join the society.

The past productions of the society are :-

1910 The Mikado

1911 The Gondoliers

1912 The Yeomen of the Guard

1913 Merrie England, HMS Pinafore & Trial by Jury

Society programmes from 1910 to 1913 at the Grand Theatre, Station Road, Doncaster

1914 – 1918 War Years

1919 No production

1920 The Gondoliers

1921 Haddon Hall

1922 Tom Jones

1923 The Rebel Maid

1924 The Rose of Persia

1925 The Country Girl

1926 The Duchess of Dantzig

1927 The Arcadians

1928 Monsieur Beaucaire

1929 Katinka

Society Programmes from 1920 – 1929 at the Grand Theatre, Station Road, Doncaster

1930 The Quaker Girl

1931 Miss Hook of Holland

1932 The Desert Song

1933 The New Moon

1934 Virginia

1935 The Lilac Domino

1936 The Girlfriend

1937 The Belle of New York

1938 No No Nannette

1939 Jill Darling

Society programmes from 1930 – 1939 at the Grand Theatre, Doncaster

1939 – 1945 War Years

1946 No production

1947 Over She Goes

1948 Sporting Love

1949 Mr.Cinders

1950 Irene

1951 Victoria & Her Hussar

1952 Wild Violets

1953 The Lisbon Story

1954 Annie Get Your Gun

1955 King’s Rhapsody

1956 Brigadoon

1957 Wedding in Paris

1958 Oklahoma!

1959 Carousel

Society Programmes from 1950 – 1959 at The Grand Theatre, Station Road, Doncaster

1960 Golden Jubilee – Showboat

1961 The King & I

1962 South Pacific

1963 Flower Drum Song

1964 Guys & Dolls

1965 White Horse Inn

1966 Oklahoma!

1967 Brigadoon

1968 Oliver! – Amateur Premier

1969 My Fair Lady

Society Programmes dated 1960 – 1969
at the Gaumont Theatre, Doncaster

1970 The Merry Widow

1971 The New Moon

1972 The Dancing Years

1973 Fiddler on the Roof, Cavalcade of Song (Sept)

1974 The Land of Smiles. A Night of Lehar (Nov)

1975 The King & I

1976 South Pacific

1977 Calamity Jane, 25 Years of Song (May)

1978 Oliver, The Magic of Song (May)

1979 The Great Waltz (May), The Sound of Music (Oct)

Society Programmes 1970 -1979
The Gaumont Theatre, Doncaster

1980 Kiss Me Kate

1981 The Merry Widow

1982 Carousel

1983 Summer Song. Music at Christmas (Dec)

1984 King’s Rhapsody (Mar), The Sound of Music (Oct)

1985 The King & I

1986 Robert & Elizabeth. An Evening of Melody & Song (Sept)

1987 Kismet (March), A Night of Laughter & Song (Nov)

1988 Camelot (Mar), Yet Another Night of Laughter & Song (Nov)

1989 Hans Andersen (Mar), That’s Entertainment (Nov)

Society Programmes 1980 -1989
The Gaumont Theatre, Doncaster

1990 Fiddler on the Roof (Mar)

1990 Another Night of Laughter & Song (Nov)

1991 The Land of Smiles

1992 Pickwick (Mar) More Laughter & Song (Nov)

1993 The Gypsy Baron (Mar), Down Memory Lane (Nov)

1994 Die Fledermaus (Mar), With a Smile & a Song (Nov)

1995 Hello, Dolly! (Mar), The Mikado (Nov)

1996 Annie Get Your Gun

1997 Pirates of Penzance (Mar), Rendevous with Romberg (Nov)

1998 The Merry Widow (Mar), The Gondoliers (Nov)

1999 Calamity Jane

Society Programmes 1990 – 1999
The Doncaster Civic Theatre

2000 Chess

2001 From Hollywood to Broadway (Mar), Scrooge (Nov)

2002 A Night at the Music Hall (June)

2003 Pickwick

2004 Jesus Christ Superstar

2005 Me & My Girl

2006 No production

2007 Oklahoma! (Mar), Nunsense (Sept)

2008 Carousel (Mar), Stepping Out (Oct)

2009 The King & I

Society programmes 2000 -2009
The Civic Theatre, Doncaster

2010 CENTENARY PRODUCTION – Disney’s Beauty & the Beast (Mar)

2010 Christmas Celebration Concert (Dec)

2011 Hot Mikado

2012 West End Tonight (Mar), Ruth the Musical (Nov)

2013 The Sound of OUR Music (Oct)

2014 The Sound Of Music (Mar)

2015 Hairspray (Mar)

2016 9 to 5: The Musical (May)

Society Programmes
2010 – 2012 The Civic Theatre
2014 – 2016 CAST Theatre, Doncaster

2017 One Night Only (May)

2018 Sister Act (Feb/Mar)

 

*We are missing three programme issues from our collection -The Gondoliers 1920, Tom Jones 1922 and The New Moon 1933.)