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Bringing musical theatre to Stourbridge for over 100 years!

The History of Stourbridge Amateur Operatic Society

The 20s Revival...
After the war was over, the society returned with a flourish by presenting two shows in 1920, The Mikado; and Yeoman of the Guard.  Some sixteen pre-war members returned to the fold for the first production of the year, along with a chorus of well seasoned singers drawn from
choirs conducted by Harry Woodall who had again been appointed Musical Director.  The society had not been without its war casualties, however, and members like Ted Rudge and Jack Cocker would not sing with the society again.

The show was a resounding success, "indeed one of the finest amateur efforts ever put on the boards in the Midlands", said the County Express.  The same paper also noted the tradition, now seldom practised, of presenting bouquets to the cast at the end of the performance.  However, it appears that floral tributes were not the only gifts presented ... "all the principals had either bouquets or chocolates, or vegetable tributes; the last being being given to the male principals, who also had cigarettes galore".  One member recollected that these presentations had caused problems when the florist sent in a rather large bill, which initially the Committee, after heated discussions, had refused to pay.  Somethings will never change!

Obviously hoping to make up on lost productions during the war years, the society again staged two musicals during 1921, The Gondoliers and Iolanthe.  While they were critical successes once more, they were not with out their problems.  The producer of The Gondoliers had not been satisfied with the choice of cast and wanted to bring in his wife and an old friend to play two of the parts.  Under duress, and not wanting to lose the producer, the committee gave way.  As the show proceeded, the original disagreement prevailed and during the week of the show the ladies' dressing room was somewhat frosty towards the producer's wife.  In annoyance, the producer cancelled the presentation of bouquets over the footlights and also the after show party.  This was a rather disappointing end to what was an otherwise successful week.  Needless to say, the producer did not return for the society's second staging of Iolanthe, which itself was not without problems: the society's new secretary, Fred Bristow, met with an unfortunate accident during the week and broke his leg.