Copyright © Wickersley Musical Theatre Company, 2003.

 

WICKERSLEY MUSICAL THEATRE COMPANY
(Formerly) WICKERSLEY OPERATIC SOCIETY

  A Brief History

 

A

lthough we understand there was a ‘Wickersley and Bramley Operatic Society’ during the 1930’s and 40’s, the present Society was founded in 1966 due mainly to the efforts of our President, Keith Steeple, who coaxed, cajoled and persistently persuaded people to support him. (Upon reflection, he’s not really changed much over the years!) Thanks to the local building boom, those days saw the construction of many new houses in Wickersley and the new people were mainly youngish couples with, or about to have, a family.

 

Now Keith was fairly astute here because he realised that, in common with himself, several of the new residents were used to appearing on stage, being members of the more established local Societies like Parkgate, Greasbrough, Rotherham Teachers and Steel, Peach and Tozer (now Phoenix).   In other words, we were a mixed bunch of enthusiasts with ‘bags’ of experience and not a little talent.   Thus, the potential was there to form our own group based in Wickersley so avoiding the need to travel very far to rehearsals.  Not everyone enjoyed the luxury of their own transport in those days, most of us struggling to pay the mortgage and put food on the table let alone afford to run a car.  How times have changed during half a lifetime!

 

Several meetings were held in The Wickersley Institute situated at the corner of Morthen Road and Gillot Lane (something of a ruin in those days but now converted to luxury apartments), and officials were appointed.  We were up and running, quickly learning what it takes to administer the business affairs of an operatic society as well as performing on stage. In this respect, we were indebted to the late George Adlington, (local NODA councillor and business manager for Rotherham Teachers) for his invaluable help and advice.

 

Our first production was ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ presented in the new assembly hall of the then Wickersley Modern School (now Comprehensive and Sports College) during the October half-term week of 1967.  Paul Manship was musical director and Thelma Cooper was producer and choreographer, with Keith Steeple himself playing ‘Frederick’, Ann Pickering as ‘Mabel’ and the late Stan Ellis was ‘The Pirate King’.  We played mostly to full houses with an audience capacity of 406 and such was the interest among the local populous clamouring for tickets, we felt obliged to add a Saturday matinee performance at short notice.  Thus, intoxicated by the euphoria generated by the success of our first show (not to mention the after show party), we were all ‘hooked’ and avowed to continue.

 

After presenting a further five shows in the school, we transferred into Rotherham Civic Theatre in February 1974 with “The Desert Song” and quickly gained a reputation of the Society with the large chorus. Of the eighty odd who regularly attended rehearsals in those days, almost seventy made it on stage during show week! Although we can’t boast such numbers today, we’re still here over forty years ‘down the road’. We usually ‘rest’ after our show in February until our AGM in May, but rehearsals for the next production commence shortly thereafter in Wickersley Community Centre on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

New members both acting and non-acting are always welcome.

Wickersley Operatic Society decided, in May 2009, to adopt the new name of Wickersley Musical Theatre Company

(Updated 21 September courtesy of Bob Brown)



 

Tel: 0114 2877289  E-Mail: webmaster@wickersleyoperatics.com