Wrexham Musical Theatre Society

wmts 1942 to 2016

Wrexham Musical Theatre Society, the Beginnings of the society

scan591

In March, 1942 at a public meeting held at The Hut, Bodhyfyd, Wrexham, the decision was taken to form The Wrexham Operatic Society in order to promote the musical and dramatic talent of the District by the study and performance of operatic and musical works and the raising of funds for charitable or philanthropic purposes.

This was the birth of our society and it grew rapidly into a lusty singing youngster with the production of ‘The Gondoliers’ in January 1943 at the Grove Park Girls School, Wrexham. Press reports of the day recorded a great success.

And so our Society, having survived its early days, continued to grow with, as year followed year, bigger and better productions. By 1950 we had outgrown our School Hall and it was decided, very courageously, to hire the Hippodrome Theatre for one week, in order to perform – at a cost of approx. £800 – ‘Gypsy Love’ for six evening performances. By 1956 we had moved to a new venue – the new William Aston Hall, Seating capacity 890, to perform ‘The Student Prince’ with costs now moving up to approx. £1250 for the week. But our aims and objects had been achieved – performances were now an accepted and regular feature of the Wrexham Social calendar and over £3000 had been donated to various local and national charities.

The Society continued to make progress but not without its trials and tribulations. The 1959 ‘flu epidemic nearly closed ‘Merrie England’ with only 10 days to go before opening night but the ‘show still went on’ even though to a depleted audience. ‘Oklahoma’ faced disaster as Lloyd Roberts, taking the part of ‘Curly’, was taken ill with a throat infection on the night of the dress rehearsal but James Ruddy of our sister Operatic Society at Birkenhead stepped in to take the part at only 3 hours notice. In 1963 our coach was involved in a crash on its way to the theatre but ‘Carousel’ was performed – opening chorus being only 15 minutes late – without the audience even knowing that a doctor and nurse were back stage treating the cast for injuries and shock.

Cost, of course, had continued to rise and we felt that we could no longer afford professional producers but even this challenge was overcome by the promotion of amateur producers from within the ranks of our now very experienced Society.

But times were changing too, and with the coming of the ‘new musicals’ such as ‘Oliver’, ‘My Fair Lady, and ‘Half a Sixpence’ it became apparent that it was now necessary for us to build our own scenery, paint our own backcloths, etc, and in order for us to do this permanent Headquarters were necessary. With this object seen as a further challenge a Building Fund was formed in 1966 and in 1968 a lease on a dilapidated property at 62a Regent Street, Wrexham, was signed.

Overnight our members became bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, painters and decorators, with the result that our first official Headquarters were opened on 9th November 1968, at a cost of materials only. Now at long last a dream that had first been mooted as long ago as 1949 had been fulfilled and we had our very own rehearsal room, workshop, kitchen and bar. Undoubtedly another ‘great achievement’ but within a few years it became even more apparent that our Headquarters were too small, our rehearsal room being too cramped and the workshop space inadequate.

Wrexham Musical Theatre Society

Larger and more commodious premises were essential and in order to face this further challenge, in 1973, a new Building Fund was formed. Again our members rose to face this tremendous task and by the end of 1976 the Society had, entirely by its own efforts and without any recourse to outside help, raised nearly £9,500 But the years of 1973-4-5-6 had dealt us a staggering blow through inflation galloping ahead of us with undreamt-of-rapidity. Building and land costs had risen to astronomical heights and in order to face up to this further challenge we changed our constitution and formed ourselves into ‘The Wrexham Musical Theatre Society’, a non-profit making Charity whose first task was the purchasing, building and equipping of a new Headquarters.

Wrexham Musical Theatre Society

Wrexham Musical Theatre Society

Wrexham Musical Theatre Society

Wrexham Musical Theatre Society
The official opening 23rd June 1979

 

With the renovation and decoration of our new Headquarters complete we decided that the time was right for another production and we gladly accepted Theatr Clwyd’s very kind invitation to perform in the professional Theatre with such excellent facilities. The show was ‘Hello Dolly’ and once again the Secretary found himself in a familiar position; looking for a replacement with a fortnight to go. The replacement was none other than Dolly herself! Our original choice Audrey Rhodes had to undergo surgery, and once again we turned to our friends from Birkenhead who loaned us their ‘Dolly’. At the time Meg Johnson was little heard of, but now of course she is more widely known as Eunice Nuttall in Coronation Street. Meg was transferred to us for the week and from then on has been a great friend of the Society.

In the following twelve months the Society returned to Wrexham and performed two shows ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ and ‘Finians Rainbow’ before being invited back to Theatr Clwyd once again in the spring 0f 1981. For this production the Society chose one of the all time greats ‘The King And I’. The show was a fantastic success and the box office records showed us a 98% turnout.

We continued our productions at Theatr Clwyd between 1982 and 1998 with ‘My Fair Lady’, ‘Oliver’, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Annie’, ‘Godspell’, ‘South Pacific’, ‘Hello Dolly’, ‘Guys and Dolls’, ‘Oklahoma’, ‘Carousel’, ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Anything Goes’, ‘Hans Andersen’ and ‘Me And My Girl’. During these years we produced at various venues, smaller shows which included, ‘The World of Irving Berlin’, ‘Richard Rodgers-The Sound of His Music’, ‘An Evening in Anatevka’, ‘Show Stoppers’, ‘Down Memory Lane’, ‘Spotlight on Lerner & Loewe’, ‘Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Music Of The Night’, ‘Music Hall Clips’, ‘West End Night Out’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’.

During this period our Youth Section was formed. Weekly “Workshops” were held and the Youth presented their own shows which included, ‘Alice, ‘Christmas At The Riverside’, ‘The Dracula Spectacular’, ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’, ‘A Perfect Day’, ‘The Wizard Of Oz’, ‘Cinderella’ and ‘The Magic Of Christmas.

Having received a substantial Lottery Grant we where able to repair and improve our premises in Salop Road. This work enabled us to double up our rehearsal room as a Studio Theatre, subsequently named “The Riverside Studio Theatre”, signifying our proximity to Wrexham’s river The Gwenfro. Our first show in our new theatre was ‘Stage By Stage’ in March 1988, followed by ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Stepping Out’, ‘Oh What A Lovely War’ and ‘Throw Of The Dice’ and some of the Youth productions mentioned above.

In November 1999 we went to the newly refurbished Stiwt Theatre, Rhos and presented ‘Singin In The Rain’. We followed this up in November 2000 with ‘Scrooge The Musical’. Despite the difficulties we faced, about returning to Theatr Clwyd, we returned in June 200 with ‘MusicaLLENNIUM’ which we also presented at the Stiwt Theatre.

Wrexham Musical Theatre Society

Wrexham Musical Theatre Society

Wrexham Musical Theatre Society

Wrexham Musical Theatre Society

 

2014 was Wrexham Musical Theatre Society’s 72nd Anniversary.

The Headquarters at Salop Road, Wrexham were sold in 2015, this was due to a dwindling membership and rising costs of maintenance of the building. WMTS as it known now embarks on a new chapter in its history.

In 2016 the building was finally demolished and made clear, there is now nothing left of this fine old building apart from the memories of it’s past and present members.

Wrexham Musical Theatre Society

Wrexham Musical Theatre Society

Registered Charity No 501529


PAST PRODUCTIONS ARCHIVES

Click on any of the underlined links for further information

2014 Feb/Mar

2013 Oct/Nov

2013 February

Robin Hood & The Babes in the wood

Rhythms of Life

Sleeping Beauty

Riverside Studio Theatre

Riverside Studio Theatre

Riverside Studio Theatre

2012 August

One Night Only

Riverside Studio Theatre

2012 May

2011 September

Curtain up on Murder

It’s DeLovely : Cole Porter

Riverside Studio Theatre

Riverside Studio Theatre

2011 January

Flying Feathers

Riverside Studio Theatre

2009 November

You Must Remember This

Riverside Studio Theatre

2009 January

It Runs in the Family

Riverside Studio Theatre

2008 May

Murder in Rehearsal

Riverside Studio Theatre

2007 November

The Wizard Of Oz

Stiwt Theatre, Rhos

2007 June

Dazzle*

Riverside Studio Theatre

2006 December

Aladdin*

Riverside Studio Theatre

2005 December

Sok it to Em! II*

Riverside Studio Theatre

2005 November

The BoyFriend

Stiwt Theatre, Rhos

2005 October

Sok it to Em!*

Riverside Studio Theatre

2005 June

Beauty*

Riversdie Studio Theatre

2005 April

Across The Pond

Riverside Studio Theatre

2005 April

Penny Scrooge*

Riverside Studio Theatre

2004 December

Oliver!

Stiwt Theatre, Rhos

2004 September

Bugsy Malone*

Stwit Theatre, Rhos

2004 May

Music hall Melodies

Stiwt Theatre, Rhos

2004 May

Oh What a Night!*

Riverside Studio Theatre

2004 March

Our Day Out*

Riverside Studio Theatre

2003 October

Fiddler on the Roof

Stiwt Theatre, Rhos

2003 September

Dream On*

Riverside Studio Theatre

2003 January

Aladdin*

Riverside Studio Theatre

2003 January

Love begins at 50

Riverside Studio Theatre

2002 September

Alice*

Riverside Studio Theatre

2002 November

An Evening at the Music Hall

Wrexham Memorial Hall

2002 April

A Night to Remember*

Riverside Studio Theatre

2002 June

Diamonds Are Forever

Clywd Theatr Cymru

2001 December

The Magic of Christmas*

Riverside Studio Theatre

2001 November

Cinderella*

Riverside Studio Theatre

2001 October

Old Time Music Hall

Wrexham Memorial Hall

2001 June

The Wind in the Willows*

Riverside Studio Theatre

2001 May

Old Time Music Hall

Riverside Studio Theatre

2001 March

The Wizard of Oz*

Riverside Studio Theatre

2000 November

Scrooge the Musical

Stiwt Theatre, Rhos

2000 September

Throw of the Dice

Riverside Studio Theatre

2000 June

Musicallennium

Clywd Theatr Cymru

2000 June

Perfect Day*

Stiwt Theatre, Rhos

2000 May

Musicallennium

Stiwt Theatre, Rhos

2000 April

Perfect Day*

Riverside Studio Theatre

1999 November

Singing In The Rain

Stiwt Theatre, Rhos

1999 September

Alice through the Looking Glass*

Riverside Studio Theatre

1999 May

Oh What a Lovely War

Riverside Studio Theatre

1999 March

Stepping Out

Riverside Studio Theatre

1998 November

A Christmas Carol

Riverside Studio Theatre

1998 October

Dracular Spectacular*

Riverside Studio Theatre

1998 June

Me and My Girl

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1998 March

Stage by Stage

Riverside Studio Theatre

1997 October

West End Night Out

Flexsys Social Club

1997 May

West End Night Out

Yale Studio Theatre

1996 November

Annie

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1996 June

Music of the Night

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1996 May

Music Hall Clips

Wrexham Memorial Hall

1996 February

Music of the Night

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1995 December

Music of the Night

Wrexham Memorial Hall

1995 April

Hans Andersen

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1994 November

Spotlight on Lerner & Loewe

The Groves High School

1994 April

Anything Goes

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1993 October

My Fair Lady

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1993 May

Alice

Grove Park Little Theatre

1992 November

Down Memory Lane

Wrexham Memorial Hall

1992 April

The Wizard of Oz

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1991 November

Show Stoppers

Wrexham Memorial Hall

1991 May

Carousel

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1990 November

An Evening in Anatevka

Cartrefle College Theatre

1990 April

Oklahoma

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1989 November

Godspell

Cartrefle College Theatre

1989 April

Guys and Dolls

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1988 April

Hello Dolly

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1987 March

South Pacific

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1986 September

Godspell

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1986 March

Annie

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1985 October

Old Time Music Hall

Grove Park Little Theatre

1985 March

The Sound of Music

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1984 October

Richard Rogers Music Hits

Grove Park Little Theatre

1984 May

Fiddler on the Roof

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1983 October

The World of Irving Berlin

Grove Park Little Theatre

1983 April

Oliver NEW

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1982 October

My Fair Lady

Clwyd Theatr Cymru

1981 March

The King and I

Clywd Theatr Cymru

1980 April

Finian’s Rainbow

William Aston Hall

1979 November

Annie Get Your Gun

William Aston Hall

1979 May

Hello Dolly

William Aston Hall

1977 November

The Wizard of Oz

William Aston Hall

1976 November

The Card

William Aston Hall

1975 November

Carousel

William Aston Hall

1974 November

Hello Dolly

William Aston Hall

1974 March

Another All Generation Show

William Aston Hall

1973 November

The Sound of Music

William Aston Hall

1973 March

The All Generation Show

William Aston Hall

1972 November

Fiddler on the Roof

William Aston Hall

1972 April

Camelot

William Aston Hall

1971 October

Half a Sixpence NEW

William Aston Hall

1970 November

Oklahoma

William Aston Hall

1970 March

My Fair Lady

William Aston Hall

1969 May

Desert Song

William Aston Hall

1968 December

Oliver

William Aston Hall

1968 March

Summer Song

unknown

1967 March

Gipsy Love

William Aston Hall

1966 March

The Dancing Years

William Aston Hall

1965 April

The King and Il

William Aston Hall

1964 March

Naughty Marietta

William Aston Hall

1963 March

Carousel

William Aston Hall

1962 March

The Merry Widow

William Aston Hall

1961 October

South Pacific

William Aston Hall

1960 March

Oklahoma

William Aston Hall

1959 March

Merrie England

unknown

1958 March

The Mikado

William Aston Hall

1957 March

Waltz Without End

unknown

1956 March

The Student Prince

William Aston Hall

1954 February

Rose Marie

unknown

1953 February

Waltz Time

unknown

1952 January

The Quaker Girl

unknown

1951 April

Good Night Vienna

unknown

1950 October

The Yeomen of the Guard

Hippodrome Theatre

1950 January

Gipsy Love

unknown

1949 January

A Country Girl

unknown

1948 January

The Lilac Domino

unknown

1947 January

Iolanthe

unknown

1946 January

The Mikado

Grove Park County School

1945 January

The Yeomen of the Guard

Grove Park County School

1944 January

Patience

Grove Park County School

1943 April

The Gondoliers

unknown

1943 January

The Gondoliers

Grove Park County School

*Youth Section Productions



Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply