History:1980 – 2000

[1876 - 1977] [1980 - 2000] [2000 - Present]

The 1980s were a time of musical spectaculars including ‘Half a Sixpence’, The Boyfriend ‘The Pyjama Game’, ‘Fiddler on the Roof, ‘Calamity Jane’, ‘Hello Dolly’, and the ever popular ‘Grease’. However, the cost of producing lavish shows rose considerably and many theatres became increasingly reluctant to hire themselves to an amateur company. The late 80’s saw the Company using the Kings College theatre in the Strand as a base for shows such as South Pacific, but even this was eventually closed to us in 1992.

As the Company’s finances reduced, a period of cost containment began with shows chosen carefully to keep expenditure low but ticket sales high. Successful productions including ‘Cabaret’ and ‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’ were performed at the Steiner theatre in Baker Street. One off fund-raisers produced at Southwark Cathedral and the Fortune Theatre proved successful too.
The hunt for venues that were both prepared to accept amateur performers and had sufficient facilities to put on a quality show became ever more pressing in the 1990’s. We were fortunate in having a very talented member, Andy Locke, who was so carried away by his debut as 3rd Sailor on the right in South Pacific that he decided to forget the thrills of correspondent banking and take on the enormous task of directing our next few musicals.

Still using the Steiner, shows included Andy’s directing debut, ‘Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street’ (for which we received a favourable mention in the Independent on Sunday), Pal Joey and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. Plays performed there in this period included La Ronde and The Importance of Being Earnest. While we used the Westminster Theatre for our production of Sondheim’s Into the Woods, we began to look at fringe theatre venues for our plays, producing ‘The Lady’s Not for Burning’ at the Courtyard in Kings Cross and ‘Daisy Pulls It Off’ at Theatro Technis in Mornington Crescent, which was Cathy Love’s directing debut.