Previous Shows - 2000 - 2017


2000

CELEBRATION 2000 - A CONCERT FOR THE MILLENNIUM

Produced by: Alan Humphrey, John White and Mary Meredith

Venue: Ipswich Corn Exchange

On the 28th and 29th January in the Grand Hall of the Corn Exchange. Our Compere for the Millennium Celebration was again David Webb, BBC Radio Suffolk (probably best known as one of the Webb twins who appeared for eight years in the BBC TV series ‘Hi De Hi’). With a century that had begun with music hall, the evening progressed through jazz, swing, blues, wartime, jollity, romantic ballads, rock and wonderful challenging musicals. The concert was compiled by Alan Humphrey, John White and Mary Meredith and Alan lead a five piece band. A truly musical feast. A donation of £1,000 was made to Hospice 2000.

GALA 2000

Produced by: Alan Humphrey

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

Another celebration on the 5th March at the Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe, along with other local companies. The Society’s contribution was a selection from ‘Les Mis’.

MACK AND MABEL

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

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

With the Millennium Theme all around, the Society was thrilled to be awarded the East Anglian Premiere of this lovely Jerry Herman show. With Steve Wooldridge directing again the show was enhanced by the funny fast black and white film created by Mike Kwasniak. Another boost to the chorus work was a pit choir of 8, with super songs from probably one of the best scores in the business. As David Henshall wrote in his review in the East Anglian Daily Times “Mack is big on style”.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Musical Director: David Bolton, Produced by Margaret Mudd, Mary Meredith, Stephanie Malton and David Hockley

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

Ending a very busy year with the annual trip to the Spa Pavilion. With a very wide mix of styles this year it included the Nuns, American Civil War, Sondheim, Man of La Mancha and Queen.

2001

FIRST STAGE ON STAGE

Venue: Henley Community Centre

Performed at Henley Community Centre on Saturday 17th March and Sunday 18th March. Produced by Mary Meredith and Judy Wadman it was hosted by Simon Bowen. Parents and Grandparents flocked to see our youngsters strut their stuff and the weekend was a great success.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Musical Director: David Bolton

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

After a summer of workshops in the absence of a major show in the Spring, it was back to the Spa for our 21st production of Sounds Familiar. 21 years of glamour in song and dance but this year with John White sadly unwell. Compere for the show was Alan Humphrey with David Bolton as MD. A favourite this year was the Irish selection of dancing and singing and also the melody of Simon and Garfunkel as the stand and sing. We won the prestigious NODA Eastern Area Award for Best Production.

2002

EVITA

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

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

How excited we were to be given the East Anglian Premiere. Only 15 groups nationally were given the rights to perform this wonderful Lloyd Webber/ Rice show. Our established production team of Pat Taplin, Doreen Matthews and Alan Humphrey worked timelessly to perfect all involved and the children in the show were all from our youth group Fist Stage. In excess of 8,000 people attended the show. Rave revues and such a tight cast this really was ‘Oh what a circus, oh what a show’. In the audience on the final Saturday night was a very special person. Gravely ill Bernardo Quantrill, with permission from the hospital was brought to the Theatre to see Stephanie Malton play Evita. It was his final wish. Sadly he died a week later and will be remembered for his wonderful enthusiasm and creative ability. Bernardo really was a true friend to everyone. He would have been so proud to know that we won the NODA Eastern Area Best Production Award.

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FIRST STAGE ON STAGE

Venue: Henley Community Centre

Moving to July this year at Henley Community Centre, Martyn Wilding joined Mary and Judy on the production team. Another successful 2 shows with our youngsters continuing to gain confidence and experience.

COPACABANA

Director and Choreographer: Jeremy Tustin, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

Another major show at the Regent Theatre in place of our usual trip to Felixstowe with Sounds Familiar. With fabulous music by Barry Manilow the Society welcomed a professional director/choreographer, Jeremy Tustin. This was a terrific experience for the cast to work with a professional. Alongside stunning costumes and dance routines there was music and passion in abundance.

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2003

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR

Director and Choreographer: Jeremy Tustin, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

Yet another wonderful Lloyd Webber/Rice production and another amateur premiere, with professional Jeremy Tustin directing again. In his absence it was Simon Bowen and David Hockley he relied upon to rehearse the scenes into shape. A very powerful show and difficult technically, handled expertly by our very experienced backstage crew. The show was attended by an overall audience in excess of 6,400 and was a total triumph for the Society. A collection for Genesis during the run raised £560.96.

FIRST STAGE ON STAGE

Venue: Henley Community Centre

Another successful 2 performances in July at Henley Community Centre. Wendy Gosling joined the production team and it was an even more ambitious programme this year, thanks to the dedication of the team throughout the year.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Musical Director: Mike Wren

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

After a break of one year it was back to the Spa Pavilion at Felixstowe. We welcomed Mike Wren as MD and Phil Cory and Mike Henderson as hosts for the show. At the dress rehearsal a flight of steps holding about 35 people suddenly collapsed whilst the cast were posing for a formal company photo. It was a bit of a shock with people crashing into a heap on top of each other but apart from bruising thankfully no-one was seriously hurt and as they say “the show must go on”. It made news in the Evening Star. High spots this year were Dixie songs, James Bond Themes, Music Hall and the Bee Gees. We won the NODA Eastern Area Award again for Best Production.

2004

WEST SIDE STORY

Director: James Hayward, Choreographer: David Hockley, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

It’s in everyone’s list of the five best shows and for many it’s simply the tops. A third time for the Society and joining Alan Humphrey as MD were James Hayward as director and David Hockley as choreographer. Under the baton of Alan, a top flight orchestra of 21 musicians, one of the largest orchestras for us in the Regent Theatre. David Henshall’s revue in the East Anglian Daily Times read ‘Dancing left the audience breathless’. A pit choir of 10 added to the quality of sound. With ticket process by now up to £12 and £10 the show was a tremendous success in every way with 5559 people attending.

FIRST STAGE ON STAGE

Venue: Henley Community Centre

Yet again a tremendous success for the youngsters who now so look forward to their 2 days at Henley in July of each year. They continue to blossom in their show which contains song, dance and comedy routines. This year contained Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ and Queen’s ‘Another One Bites the Dust’.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Producer:  Simon Bowen, Musical Director: Mike Wren

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

The formula doesn’t change much, it just gets better. We all feel at home at the Spa. With Simon Bowen heading the production team this annual revue has now been going for 23 years. Phil Cory and Mike Henderson cemented the show together. A Yuletide finale this year included White Christmas, complete with falling snow. Unfortunately the show failed to attract capacity audiences throughout its run. Is this the sign of the times with perhaps so much choice now available? However, we won the NODA Eastern Area Award for Best Production.

2005

ANYTHING GOES

Director: James Hayward, Choreographer: David Hockley, Musical Director: Mike Wren

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

A great show for our Golden Jubilee Year with the sensational music of Cole Porter. Our very talented production team of James Hayward, David Hockley and Mike Wren put together a colourful feast of song, stunning dances and a shipload of fun .Auditions were held this time for a pooch, and an eight year old long-haired Chihuahua from Kesgrave called Jasper duly won the hearts of the panel. He took to the stage like a duck to water and was very cute. Ticket prices were now up to £12.50 and £11 certainly reflecting the last 50 years. Our history is littered with memories of talented people past and present who have made the Society the success it is today. The show was awarded NODA Best Performance.

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SOUNDS OF CELEBRATION

Venue: St. Mary-Le-Tower Church, Ipswich

A special Charity Concert to mark our 50th year took place at St Mary-Le-Tower Church in Ipswich on Saturday 11th June. Tickets for £7 included cheese and wine. The concert featured long standing members as well as the younger contingent.

FIRST STAGE ON STAGE

Venue: Henley Community Centre

Performed at Henley Community Centre on Saturday 17th March and Sunday 18th March. Produced by Mary Meredith and Judy Wadman it was hosted by Simon Bowen. Parents and Grandparents flocked to see our youngsters strut their stuff and the weekend was a great success.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Musical Director: David Bolton

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

After a summer of workshops in the absence of a major show in the Spring, it was back to the Spa for our 21st production of Sounds Familiar. 21 years of glamour in song and dance but this year with John White sadly unwell. Compere for the show was Alan Humphrey with David Bolton as MD. A favourite this year was the Irish selection of dancing and singing and also the melody of Simon and Garfunkel as the stand and sing. We won the prestigious NODA Eastern Area Award for Best Production.

2006

The year started off with the sad passing in January of John White. After more than 30 years with the Society John, also a long time treasurer, will be most remembered for “Sounds Familiar” which was his ‘baby’ and his knowledge of music was second to none.

SUMMER HOLIDAY

Director: Simon Bowen, Choreographer: David Hockley, Musical Director: Mike Wren

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

This show gave everyone such a buzz. A little part of London was brought to the Cornhill when a famous London Bus parked in the town for promotion photos. Directing this bright and breezy showcase this year was Simon Bowen with David Hockley choreographer and Mike Wren MD. Originally made famous by Cliff Richard the youngsters shone. The show is pure theatrical escapism and the audience left the theatre with the feel-good factor.

FIRST STAGE ON STAGE

Venue: Henley Community Centre

Yet again another successful 2 shows at Henley and all the hard work throughout the year pays off. How lovely to see the youngsters progress through the ranks and make the ‘Big’ show as was the case with Summer Holiday.

GOTTA SING, GOTTA DANCE

Director: James Hayward, Choreographer: Margaret Mudd, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

Ringing the changes this year with a new style production. Written especially for the Society by James Hayward assisted by Lynne Mortimer, it told the story of a failed theatrical star in her twilight years. James directed the cast along with Margaret Mudd as choreographer. Alan Humphrey returned as MD. Andrew Burke enhanced with his musical arrangements. There were songs from six decades and some skits on favourite entertainment personalities.

2007

TITANIC THE MUSICAL

Director: James Hayward, Choreographer: David Hockley, Musical Director: Alan Humphrey

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

It opened on Broadway in 1997 and was a smash hit. It won five Tony Awards. Tackling one of the most tragic disasters in history doesn’t seem the obvious choice for an amateur theatre company. The story of people’s hopes and dreams through the classes is told within a magnificent score and you could hear the swell of the ocean as the orchestra played. Our director James Hayward did momentous research and with the whole cast playing real people the feeling was incredibly intense. Even our President Graeme Kalbraier was on stage for this one (First Class of course). With David Hockley’s creative choreography and Alan Humphrey bringing out the best of a particularly evocative and emotional score there were tears as the audience left the Regent Theatre. Some 4,000 people saw the show. Tickets by now up to £14.00 and £12.00 and programmes £2.00. Yes, the show lost money but from a Theatrical point of view the show was an absolute gem. The Society should be proud of its diversity.

FIRST STAGE ON STAGE

Venue: Henley Community Centre

Yes it’s July again and great excitement at Henley Community Centre. Simon again hosts and interacts with the youngsters and after months of rehearsal another polished production comes to fruition.

THE FULL MONTY

Director: Simon Bowen, Choreographer: Alan Flay, Musical Director: Mike Wren

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

How diverse can we get. This October we had a change from our usual routine of variety with a book show to hopefully boost the funds. With Simon Bowen on board as Director along with Mike Wren as MD we welcomed Alan Flay in the role of choreographer. Anticipation was high when the audience arrived at the Spa, Felixstowe and they weren’t disappointed. The show is entertaining, funny and moving and although set in America as opposed to Sheffield it remains a night of exuberant fun. Hats off to those who bared all, the show was a great success and the hen parties were out in abundance.

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2008

SINGING IN THE RAIN

Director: Simon Bowen, Choreographer: David Hockley, Musical Director: Mike Wren

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

Last presented at the Wolsey Theatre in 1997, this time at the Regent Theatre. David Hockley back as choreographer again to join Simon Bowen and Mike Wren and the show had all of the Gene Kelly magic and golden glamour. Simon played Don Lockwood in the 1997 production and his experience of what was required ticked all the boxes. Not an easy show with all the silent filming needed and attention to detail was paramount. The audience waited patiently for the tap dancing rain scene and were not disappointed. Credit to the backstage crew who handled the large ‘truck’ with confidence and yes with fingers crossed, it did rain every night!!

FIRST STAGE ON STAGE

Venue: Henley Community Centre

The annual concert at Henley comes round again and would not be possible without the dedication of those behind the scenes who add their contribution to making it happen. Lighting, sound, props, costumes, chaperones etc. who work tirelessly. A lovely show compered as usual by Simon Bowen.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Producer: Simon Bowen, Musical Director: Mike Wren

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

After two years away we return to the Spa for our 25th Edition with Simon Bowen heading the production team. Our host for this year was Dean Wales. Dean is well known to Felixstowe audiences as an accomplished performer himself. Highlights of the evening were the music of Cole Porter – our tribute to John White, last night at the Proms and a Sinatra selection, not to mention the finale of ‘We Will Rock You’. The show won NODA Best Musical of 2008 in the district category and was also named Best Production in the district, putting the Society in contention for NODA’S Smart Cup – the regional award for best production.

2009

THE PRODUCERS

Director: James Hayward, Choreographer: David Hockley, Musical Director: Mike Wren

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

Enthusiasm ran high for this East Anglian Premiere by Mel Brooks at the Regent Theatre with show business, gays, Nazis, ridiculous accents and sex-starved little old ladies. James Hayward directed this highly popular, albeit somewhat controversial, show which won 12 Tony Awards, assisted by David Hockley, choreographer and Mike Wren, MD. A trip to Hotel Elizabeth, Felixstowe for publicity photos was made and the highlight of the rehearsal period was the visit of John Barrowman, who had appeared in the London production, and duly asked us to sing ‘Springtime for Hitler’. This visit was to surprise Sam Horsfield for his television show ‘Tonight’s the Night’, and it truly was a memorable night. John was very friendly and we have many photos with him to look back on. The show with a strong cast was stunning but sadly the theatre was nowhere near full. The Felixstowe review’s last paragraph read “Snatch the opportunity to see a top line show in a very professional venue by a company whose only connection with the word amateur is the fact that none of them get paid for it”. With tickets up to £16.00 and £14.00 this year perhaps it was not to the taste of all our audience or were they all on holiday as we were late this year and performed in June. The show won a prestigious NODA Best Production Award.

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THE SPA PAVILION 1909 – 2009 VARIETY SHOW

Choreographer: Suzie Lowe, Musical Director: Richard Healey

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

The 100th Birthday of the Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe and local companies took part in this variety show held on 27th June. After ‘The Producers’ such a short rehearsal time, but a few members took part and our selection was ‘Musicals of the New Millennium’. A lovely ensemble evening culminating in a finale with the whole cast singing ‘Bring on Tomorrow’ from ‘Fame’ under the direction of Richard Healey MD and Suzie Lowe, choreographer.

FIRST STAGE ON STAGE

Venue: Henley Community Centre

What a busy schedule and back out to Henley Community Centre for the annual concert by the Youth Group. Always full for both performances the youngsters certainly know how to entertain their extended families.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Producer: Stephanie Brown, Musical Director: Mike Wren

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

Back to the Spa again to present our 30th Anniversary Edition with Dean Wales as host. Heading the production team this year was Stephanie Brown. A production close to her heart since Mum & Dad, Pam & John White first conceived the idea of putting on a revue style show back in 1979. Highlights this year were ‘Wicked’ The Roaring Twenties, Second World War (always popular with our audience), the IODS constabulary still going strong and a fabulous finale of ‘Can’t stop the beat’ from ‘Hairspray’.

CHILDREN IN NEED CAROL CONCERT

Producer: Stephanie Brown, Musical Director: Mike Wren

Venue: Snape Maltings, Suffolk

Presented by BBC Radio Suffolk at Snape Maltings Concert Hall on Saturday 5th December. The Society was invited, along with other local organisations, to be part of this concert which was recorded and highlights were broadcast on Christmas Day. For our contribution we sung ‘Stille Nacht’ , Our Christmas Selection and ‘Bethlehem’ from’ Martin Guerre’. A wonderful venue in which to perform and enjoy singing carols and it was the end to an extremely busy and fulfilling year.

2010

THE FULL MONTY

Director: Simon Bowen, Choreographer: Laura Dickons, Musical Director: Mike Wren

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

The show returned by popular demand and this time at the Regent Theatre. After financially suffering with ‘The Producers’ it was felt that we could repeat this popular show at a bigger theatre. With Simon Bowen returning as director and Mike Wren as MD we welcomed Laura Dickons as choreographer, having been involved with the Society since 1997 and now running her own Theatre School in the town. Some new faces this year in the brave men’s line up, and all concerned enjoyed having a second bite at the cherry. Audience wise, well, you can’t go wrong and for the cast just a bundle of fun.

DUNKIRK CELEBRATION CONCERT

Painist: David Weale

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

On a very windy Sunday the 30th May we took part in the Dunkirk Celebration at the Waterfront in Ipswich. We opened the show with our costumed Second World War Selection and in the second half we performed the Last Night of the Proms selection. We were joined by a new pianist, David Weale, for this adventure and it was a very competent debut for him.

FIRST STAGE ON STAGE

Venue: Henley Community Centre

Our annual trip comes round again at Henley and an ever more ambitious programme. This year produced and directed by the group’s leaders, Mary Meredith, Wendy Gosling and Judy Wadman. A great family atmosphere and a packed two performances.

SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Producer: Stephanie Brown, Musical Director: Mike Wren

Venue: The Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe

This year’s extravaganza at the Spa, directed by Stephanie Brown again along with her new team, celebrated 25 years of Les Miserables and we were lucky to have Martin Warden, who had appeared in the London production, get permission to perform a wonderful selection which he directed. Martin also appeared in this year’s show backed by the ensemble. Other highlights were ‘Sister Act’, Andrew Burkes’s arrangement of Frankie Valli and a selection celebrating the 80th Birthday of Stephen Sondheim with a powerful arrangement of his music by Richard Healey. Some challenging music for the company but with Dean Wales pulling it all together as Host it certainly paid off.

150th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT

Venue: Museum Street Methodist Church, Ipswich

This year saw the 150th Anniversary of Museum Street Methodist Church and on Sunday 17th October we took part in a variety performance, together with other organisations. With a short rehearsal period our contribution was the Frankie Valli selection and ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’

2011

CALAMITY JANE

Director: James Hayward, Choreographer: Laura Dickons, Musical Director: Mike Wren

Venue: The Regent Theatre, St Helens Street, Ipswich

Last presented back in 1974 it’s back to ‘The Black Hills of Dakota’ and a welcome change to a Western this time. It’s increasingly difficult now to choose a show in the present climate with an abundance of groups now staging musicals. We were delighted to welcome back James Hayward as director along with Laura Dickons and Mike Wren. Some of the cast made a trip to Valley Farm, Wickham Market for publicity photos and all involved in the show had a whip- cracking week. Despite good reviews there were disappointing numbers through the door resulting in a financial loss. There were at least four other choices for audiences in Ipswich that week and it just highlights how vulnerable we all are.

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