Previous Shows - 1980 - 1999


1980

OLIVER

Director: Bernardo Quantrill, Choreographer: Carole Wilden, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Gaumont Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

Chosen to hopefully fill the Gaumont and give talented children in the area the chance to shine. The cast numbered 85 with tickets at £2, £1.80 and £1.50. This was Bernardo Quantrill’s last production with the Society having decided to retire after 20 years due to his work commitments as House Manager at the Corn Exchange. He was presented with a silver plated engraved tray on stage after the Saturday night performance.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Director: John White, Produced and Costumed: Pam White, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: Westbourne School, Ipswich and Martlesham Post Office Telecommunications Centre Theatre

After last year’s successful Sounds Familiar, this was more of the same but this year for 2 nights at Westbourne School, Ipswich and later in the year at Martlesham Post Office Telecommunications Centre Theatre. Continuing to be popular.

1981

OKLAHOMA

Director: Allan Austin, Choreographer: Pat Foulds, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Gaumont Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

Second time round for this popular Western last produced in 1964. A new director on board, Allan Austin, drama advisor to schools in Ipswich with Pat Foulds as choreographer with her special skills for ballet. Bernard Reader directed a superb 13 piece orchestra. David Lowe, Manager of the Gaumont reported in local press that he was more hopeful of increasing live entertainment in the town but financial help to improve stage and dressing room facilities was needed.

1982

ANNIE GET YOUR GUN

Director: Martin Dye, Choreographer: Pat Foulds, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Gaumont Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

Another repeat for the Society last produced in 1960 and this time Martin Dye joined the production team as director. The Society still not in the best of financial health with rising costs. Tickets now at £3.00, £2.50 and £2.00 and souvenir programmes up to 30p.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Director: John White, Produced and Costumed: Pam White, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: Westbourne School, Ipswich and Copleston High School, Ipswich

In response to popular demand this took place for 2 nights at Westbourne High School followed by 1 night at Copleston High School. A great way to raise funds at this crucial time along with members setting up their own sponsored activity ranging from ‘giving up puddings’, putting on Olde Thyme Music Halls and running jumble sales. The efforts of these members should never be forgotten because they enabled the Society to continue and grow from strength to strength.

1983

HALF A SIXPENCE

Director: Ken Smith, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Gaumont Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

As a result of all the efforts made by members this show was able to take place at the Gaumont Theatre. Joining Bernard Reader this time on the production team was Ken Smith, having been involved with many shows in Colchester and Clacton along with Doreen Matthews, also from Colchester as choreographer adding her slick and colourful dance routines. A letter from Tommy Steel wishing the cast a wonderful success appeared in the programme and having been make or break time the good news was ‘see you next year!’.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Director: John White, Produced and Costumed: Pam White, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: Westbourne School, Ipswich

The opening involved ‘Everything’s Coming Up Roses’ and with the show now running 4 nights at Westbourne High School it seemed to epitomize the feeling that we were ‘on the up’. Compiled and directed by John and Pam White the show was going from strength to strength

1984

CAROUSEL

Director: Ken Smith, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Gaumont Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

Last performed in 1957 and 1966 the current production team injected all the colour, immaculate chorus singing and imaginative dance routines needed in this wonderful melodic show with a plot nevertheless a little light on laughs. The press revues were good and the audience left humming down the street.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Director: John White, Produced and Costumed: Pam White, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: Westbourne School and Northgate High School, Ipswich

By now a great favourite with the audiences. This year saw two nights at Westbourne School followed by 2 nights at Northgate High School. Rehearsals through the summer produced sparkling selections from Cole Porter, Simon and Garfunkel, Camelot, Kismet and Rose Marie. Something for everyone.

1985

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

Director: Ken Smith, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Gaumont Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

How costs have risen since our last production in 1973. Now with the biggest budget ever of £10,000.00, ticket prices up to £4.00, £3.50 and £3.00. As well as directing the company, Ken Smith took on the task of playing leading man Tevye. Evening Star headlines ‘Magnificent singing, remarkable dancing’. A great ensemble success.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Director: John White, Produced and Costumed: Pam White, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: Ipswich Corn Exchange

Getting bigger and more ambitious all the time, this year saw a move to the Corn Exchange for 2 nights including a matinee on the Saturday. Ticket prices £2.50 and £1.50. Included in the programme ‘42nd Street, ‘Showboat’, ‘Snoopy’, ‘Chicago’ and the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

1986

THE MUSIC MAN

Director: Ken Smith, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Gaumont Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

Having staged most of the popular shows more than once this was a welcome first for the Society. Written by Meredith Wilson it is most famous for ‘Seventy-Six Trombones’ and tells the story of Harold Hill, a travelling salesman out to con the folk of River City. A happy colourful feel-good show but in the present climate still very difficult to fill the Gaumont Theatre and break even.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Producer: Mary Meredith, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: Northgate High School, Ipswich

This year’s show was produced by Mary Meredith and took place at Northgate High School. Bernard Reader beautifully arranged a selection of Carpenters songs and he was also MC. Critic Carol Carver wrote in the paper about the value for money, a show full of good and glamorous selections.

1987

HELLO DOLLY

Director: Ken Smith, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Gaumont Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

Last staged in 1970. This time tinged with some sadness as Chairman Peter Taylor wrote in the programme that this could well be the last show we stage at the Gaumont due to decisions made by the Rank Organisation. He stressed we would be putting every effort into saving the Theatre for live entertainment. The Society and thousands of other Suffolk people set out to fight the decision.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Producers: Pam White, Mary Meredith and Margaret Mudd, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

A move this year to the Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe for 2 nights, and hoping our supporters would make the trip to the seaside. With no available venues in Ipswich, this was certainly a step-up in terms of facilities. A production team this year consisted of Pam White, Mary Meredith and Margaret Mudd. The cast rose to the occasion.

1988

KISS ME KATE

Director: Pat Taplin, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: David Cawdell

Venue: Ipswich Corn Exchange

Our first major show at The Corn Exchange and whilst sad to leave the Gaumont we looked forward to the challenge of the future. Last staged in 1964 this production saw 2 new members to the production team, Pat Taplin as director and David Cawdell as MD, both with considerable experience. Pat’s artist daughter Helen designed built and painted the scenery in a barn in Trimley. The stage at the Corn Exchange without a proscenium arch is not ideal for musicals.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Director: Mary Meredith, Choreographer: Margaret Mudd, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

Running for 3 nights this year at the Spa Pavilion. Directed by Mary Meredith with choreography by Margaret Mudd, we welcomed Alan Humphrey as MD leading a 5 piece band. Alan was well known to us as a string player in the orchestra. Getting more polished as each year passes this is a firm favourite with the membership of the Society.

HELLA TOROS

Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: Ipswich Corn Exchange

This was a show featuring the words and music of Jerome Kern and featured the singers of the professional Hella Toras Company. We were honoured to be asked to form the singing ensemble and rehearsed with the music before the show with Alan Humphrey. After an afternoon of rehearsal with the professional MD we had very successful evening and truly rose to the occasion.

1989

SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS

Director: Pat Taplin, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: Ipswich Corn Exchange

Our second major show at the Corn Exchange directed by Pat Taplin, choreographed by Doreen Matthews and on board the team Alan Humphrey as MD. With 14 principal parts this was a great show for the younger members of the Society who visited Sproughton House Stables for publicity photos. A truly colourful and fun show for all the family. A cheque for £500.00 was presented to the Cystic Fibrosis Children’s Dream Holiday Fund.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Director: Mary Meredith, Choreographer: Margaret Mudd, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

By now well established at the Spa Pavilion, this year included the music of Jerry Herman, Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” and Bernard Reader’s arrangement of Barry Manilow’s music for the Stand and Sing item, by now a firm favourite with the audience. The company staged a 12 hour rehearsed marathon on a Sunday to raise more money for the Cystic Fibrosis Disneyworld fund. Members arranged their own personal sponsorship forms.

1990

CAMELOT

Director: Pat Taplin, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Another venue move and this time to the Wolsey Theatre, where we were made to feel welcome by all concerned. The set was built by our willing team in the Wolsey Theatre workshop and then transported to a barn for painting and finishing. Keeping the continuity of our Production Team, Carol Carver, a critic for the Evening Star wrote ‘This is the first time the Society has been able to perform in the Wolsey Theatre and they have shown themselves a credit to the professionals’. The show was virtually a sell-out.

CURTAIN UP - JULY 14th

Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

A revue at the Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe provided by all the groups who regularly perform there. The Society performed a great selection from’Les Miserables’ arranged by Bernard Reader. All proceeds went to refurbish the Spa.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Director: Mary Meredith, Choreographer: Margaret Mudd, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

This year’s selections included ‘Chorus Line’, ‘Carousel’,’ Barnum’ and an Abba stand and sing. Now attracting coach loads, tickets rose to £4.00 and £3.50.

1991

WEST SIDE STORY

Director: Pat Taplin, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

A second time for this wonderful show with probably one of the most difficult scores. Sets for the Wolsey Theatre built again by our talented crew. House Full notices were put out. The society was very grateful to be performing on the prestigious professional stage but the downsize limited numbers. Despite being a brilliant success, money was lost and the deficit hopefully would be made up by ‘Sounds Familiar’.


CURTAIN UP - JULY 14th

Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

A repeat of last year’s revue with Spa Users raising money for refurbishment. This year we performed our stand and sing ‘Abba’ selection.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Director: Mary Meredith, Choreographer: Margaret Mudd, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

This year for the first time the programme included a Gilbert and Sullivan item and members of the cast took to Felixstowe beach in their ‘Pirates of Penzance’ costumes for publicity photos. Other favourites this year were ‘Miss Saigon’,’ Grease’, Elton John and a finale of Hollywood Movies.

1992

BLITZ

Director: Pat Taplin, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

The Society returned to their old ‘home’ in the recently re-opened Regent Theatre. Now run by Ipswich Borough Council and revamped as a regional live entertainment venue. Our Society had fought hard along with the Co-op Juniors and many others to keep it from being closed. 

‘Blitz’, a story of Eastenders during the Second World War was written by Lionel Bart and has a large cast including children. David Lowe, former Gaumont Manager, came out of retirement to become House Manager and was a welcome familiar face. Some of the cast took a trip to Colchester Garrison’s Cavalry Barracks to be drilled by a Sergeant Major who didn’t hold back when he bawled at the cast in his best parade ground manner. Highly amusing. A stunning wartime show with BIG scenery. The technical crew must have wondered if they had bitten off more than they could chew with a very very late technical rehearsal and dress rehearsal, but all came good in the end.

CURTAIN UP - JUNE 28th

Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

Two performances this year at 2.30 and 7.30pm. This fund raising showcase of local talent proving to be very popular and the contribution from us was the very popular ‘Miss Saigon’ selection.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Director: Mary Meredith, Choreographer: Margaret Mudd, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

13 - Unlucky for some but despite a badly broken leg John White was wheeled on stage by a variety of in-house ‘nurses’ to compere the show in his usual relaxed way. An extra night was put in this year to accommodate our audiences. Selections this time round included ‘42nd Street’, ‘Children of Eden’, ‘Snoopy’, James Bond and a stand and sing of ‘Queen’ arranged by Bernard Reader and always a highlight of the show.

1993

GUYS AND DOLLS

Director: Pat Taplin, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

Last performed in 1968 at the Gaumont, this year the Society decided to take the show to the Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe, our usual home for Sounds Familiar. Still a very uneasy time in terms of venue for the Committee to decide with size, rising costs and the need to prolong the life of the Society. The strong production team of Pat Taplin, Doreen Matthews and Alan Humphrey continue to produce the most polished shows at whatever venue.

CURTAIN UP - JULY 25th

Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

Continuing to raise funds the Society decided to perform their James Bond selection. New stage curtains had already been purchased and the suggestion for this year’s money was new radio microphone equipment.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Director: Margaret Mudd, Choreographer: Margaret Mudd, Stephanie Malton and Mary Meredith, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

Directed and choreographed by Margaret Mud assisted by Stephanie Malton and Mary Meredith. The show included ‘HMS Pinafore’, ‘South Pacific’, ‘Sondheim’ selection and the music of Neil Diamond for the stand and sing. Carol Carver wrote “The voices over the years have got stronger, fuller, rounder, and the sounds this Society make are now better than ever. A collection of £793 made went to Save the Children Fund. Sold out this year.

1994

LI'L ABNER

Director: Pat Taplin, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Back to the Wolsey Theatre for this happy musical, bubbling with fun and a lot of good songs. Not a well known musical it was written by the team who gave us ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ and is based on the Al Capp Strip cartoon and the lovely folks of Dogpatch, USA. With an imaginative set built by Richard Rumbellow, joining the cast were some gorgeous, muscular, bronzed and fit body-building fellers! With numerous companies now producing shows it was becoming very difficult to make a choice but this show was a very happy and successful one performed in heat wave weather. Those dressing rooms certainly were hot!!

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Director: Margaret Mudd, Choreographer: Margaret Mudd, Stephanie Malton and Mary Meredith, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

Each year it gets bigger and more ambitious and more names now added to the Production Team to spread the load. Always popular the whacky policemen entertained with Pirates of Penzance alongside memorable selections from’ Carmen’ and’ Sunset Boulevard’.

1995

CELEBRATION CONCERT - 40TH ANNIVERSARY

Director: Margaret Mudd, Choreographer: Margaret Mudd, Stephanie Malton and Mary Meredith, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: Ipswich Corn Exchange

“A truly fabulous fortieth celebration” was Carol Carver’s headline in the Evening Star. Taking place in the Grand Hall, Corn Exchange and presented in association with BBC Radio Suffolk, it was compered by David Webb. David was associated with the Society in the 60’s appearing on stage before he went professional with his twin brother, so it was very fitting for us to have him head up our special evening. Joining us were Margaret Morphew and Dennis Pennock, still singing solos and they were presented with a gift of silver to mark their long association with the Society. A packed Corn Exchange audience enjoyed a feast of music. BBC Radio Suffolk recorded the evening and the concert subsequently went out over one or two Sundays during the Easter period. Here’s to the next 40 years!!.

A CHORUS LINE

Director: Pat Taplin, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Kerry Walker and David Hockley, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

The celebrations continue with the East Anglian Premiere of this show, and joining our long serving production team were Kerry Walker and David Hockley as assistant choreographers. This show is one of the most difficult the Society has tackled with a tight cast required to be multitalented in singing, acting and dancing, but with the talent around it was not hard to cast. It was a stunning show well suited to the Wolsey Theatre and a triumphant success in our 40th year.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Director: Margaret Mudd, Choreographer: Margaret Mudd, Stephanie Malton and Mary Meredith, Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe, Park Pavilion, Dovercourt and the Riverside Theatre, Woodbridge

The 16th edition of this revue in our 40th year and following the show at the Spa the company visited the Park Pavilion, Dovercourt and the Riverside Theatre, Woodbridge. On offer this year Fred and Ginger, Rolf Harris, The Desert Song, Copacabana and the music of Stevie Wonder.

1996

HALF A SIXPENCE

Director: Pat Taplin, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Chosen for the third time by the Society this production at the Wolsey Theatre proved to be a great success and was almost totally sold out. The show worked well at the Wolsey not only for the new look our production team brought to the show but also for the talent we are fortunate to have in the Society.

ORCHESTRELLE - JUNE 8th 

Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: Christchurch Park, Ipswich

On Saturday 8th June as part of ‘Sounds of Suffolk’ about 30 members of the society joined other local musicians and singers in performing on the large domed stage in the first part of the show an hour before the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. This was a grand evening which ended in a spectacular Fireworks Display

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Director: Margaret Mudd

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

Directed by Margaret Mudd and assisted by six others this year. Carol Carver wrote ‘For colour and wit there is The Mikado, for beat a Motown selection, for rousing sparkle Strike Up The Band, for hilarity the Jailhouse Policemen and for brilliance and originality T.S. Eliot’s’ Cats’. Now that’s entertainment!

1997

SINGING IN THE RAIN

Director: Pat Taplin, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Only recently having been released for amateurs we were very proud to be performing one of the greatest of all musicals at the Wolsey Theatre. It tells the story of a major film studio Monumental Pictures’ struggle to turn its latest film ‘The Duelling Cavalier’ into an all-talking and singing musical. With filming on location in Christchurch Mansion and Ipswich Town Hall this show emphasizes the number of unsung heroes working backstage. The crew had their work cut out getting the rain effect onstage and working. News appeared in the programme about the Junior Group recently set up for two groups, one for 7-11 year olds and the second for 12-16 year olds. A new venture to encourage youngsters, with the aim of taking part in the main productions in the future.

More Pictures

ENCORE

Musical Director: Bernard Reader

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

A deviation from Sounds Familiar this year, this was a more static form of production. Having performed a major show in midsummer, the rehearsal time was cut short for October. This show concentrated very much on ensemble singing. It was the perfect opportunity to showcase our vocal talent and had been requested by many following our successful Celebration Concert in 1995. With just a few changes of costume we had Bernard Reader’s arrangements of The Beach Boys, Bohemian Rhapsody, Neil Diamond and A Selection for Square Eyes arranged by Andrew Burke. We ended with ‘Martin Guerre’ and the lovely number ‘Bethlehem’.

1998

CRAZY FOR YOU

Director: Pat Taplin, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

How proud we were to be given the East Anglian Amateur Premiere of this show and to be back home at the Regent Theatre for this large scale magical Gershwin piece. We had a pit choir of 7 to help with the vocals alongside a 14 piece orchestra certainly at their peak. Alan Humphrey decided to repeat the Overture at the end of the show and most of the audience just stayed in their seats to listen to it. David Henshall wrote in the East Anglian Daily Times “What a cracker, Ipswich Operatic have surpassed themselves and there can be few amateur companies who could better this absolute fizzer of a show”. The show won Best Show in the Region awarded by NODA, whose region extends from the Thames to the Humber. Sadly, after 11 years of directing, Pat Taplin decided it was time to hand over the reins. She bowed out on a memorable triumph.

More Pictures

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Musical Director: David Bolton

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

A return to Sounds Familiar again this year and welcoming David Bolton as MD. Such a successful formula this year proved once again nothing is taken for granted. The programme included Blues Brothers, Al Jolson, Porgy and Bess and a stand and sing of Mamas & Papas. A cheque for £804, raised from our raffle, was presented to the Children’s Ward, Ipswich Hospital.

1999

42nd STREET

Director: Steve Wooldridge, Choreographer: Doreen Matthews, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

Continuing at the Regent Theatre and hoping ‘We’re in the Money’ with this tap dancing gem of a show. We welcomed Steve Wooldridge as Director, joining Doreen Matthews, choreographer and Alan Humphrey, MD. The show also welcomed several new faces from ‘First Stage’, our new Youth Group, and it was pleasing to see them ‘graduate’ to the main company. Tickets now cost £7.50 to £9.00. Bill Thorne was on hand in his front of house role, dressed as a commissionaire, meeting and greeting the audiences. This show was another financial success.

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