The Society

A look back at the Society’s origins

The society was formed in the 1940s from the St Andrew’s Church youth group. It began as a Glee Club and in 1945 rehearsals began for Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore. It ran for four nights from 2nd January 1946 in the Priestman Hall, Roker, Sunderland.

Since then the Society has produced some 73 Gilbert & Sullivan operettas and two others, including one especially written by the then musical director. Today the Society is flourishing with over 50 active members. The Society still specialises in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas (the only one in the Sunderland area) with a full costume and orchestral production each February on the stage in the Priestman Hall. We still maintain much of the traditional flavour of each production, but we usually include some topical update to provide both the cast and audience with fresh ideas on each operetta.

Our Musical Director Ken Matthews and accompanist Pam Bell have extended our repertoire to a concert season in the summer of each year, with the occasional Gilbert & Sullivan number but mainly items from every musical genre from sacred to modern musicals to classical ‘pop’.

We always encourage new members and if anyone would like more information, or would like to become a Patron, please contact Gilly Beck via the contacts page.

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National Operatic and Dramatic Association