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IODS Theatre Company based in Ipswich is Suffolk's leading community musical theatre group.
Established in 1954, we perform twice a year and have won more awards than we can count!
Our summer musical at the New Wolsey Theatre has become one of the best selling productions in the New Wolsey Summer programme. Our Christmas concert at St Peter's by the Waterfront is one of the most sought after events of the season, with tickets selling out weeks in advance.

The first meeting to form Ipswich Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society was called by Mr Douglas Mayhew in 1954. The following has been taken from an article written by Mr H Spruytenberg in February 1955 who, in addition to being a critic for the Evening Star, was the first President of the re-formed Ipswich Operatic & Dramatic Society. From here, history was born.''In a gentle and unobtrusive fashion history was made in Ipswich last week. When the curtain fell on the last scene of ‘A Country Girl’ in the Art Gallery, when the applause had subsided and the speeches and presentations made, it can be said that musical comedy (after a lapse of many years) had returned to the town!''


IODS has presented most of the major Broadway and West End shows, some of them on more than one occasion. The sixties and early seventies brought great acclaim to the Society when we were chosen to perform four amateur premieres ‘West Side Story in 1963, ‘Camelot’ in 1967, ‘My Fair Lady’ in 1968 and ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ in 1973. What great times they were, when ‘House Full’ signs were put outside the theatre before the end of the week, a tradition we are once again accustomed to.


The early eighties was a difficult time for amateur operatic societies throughout the country. Massive increases in costs, coupled with a falling off of audiences, caused many Societies to flounder. IODS was no exception and for a time there was great concern about the future of a major society in the town. However, once again the members ‘came up trumps’ by instigating a sponsored fund raising event to enable the Society to present the next show. Each individual member set up their own sponsored activity, with all money gained passed to the funds.


In 1998 IODS won the coveted NODA Best Production Award in the Eastern Area for our production of ‘Crazy for You’, and again in 2001, 2003 and 2004 for ‘Sounds Familiar’, the Society’s autumn revue. The 2002 production of ‘Evita’ was an East Anglia premiere.


Concerts to raise funds for causes such as training and educating blind children in Malawi and other more local charities were (and still are) a regular item in the Society’s programme. Most recently we donated funds to the Red Cross for their work in Ukraine following our 2023 production of 'Fiddler on the Roof'.


In 2018, under new Publicity Management by Owen Berry, Ipswich Operatic & Dramatic Society was rebranded as IODS Theatre Company. The rebranding was a huge success and since then we have nearly if not completely sold out every production. 

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