History

Weymouth Operatic Society was formed in September 1921 and their first show, “HMS Pinafore” was performed in May 1922 at the Pavilion Theatre. It was directed by W Harry Drury from Sussex with Edgar Lane from Dorchester as Musical Director – a happy juxtaposition of “Drury Lane”. The Society rehearsed at the Royal Palm Court Rooms and the Pavilion Tea Rooms.

 The Society always struggled in the early days because of the high costs of hiring the theatre and in 1935 had to give up for a time because of financial problems and the shortage of men – the latter a problem still today! During the war the Society leased a Hall in Market Street where the Social Secretary, Miss Innes, organised fund raising events so that the Society was able to start performing again after the war, commencing with “The Country Girl” in 1947.

Over the years the Society has rehearsed at various venues in Weymouth including The Royal Dorset Yacht Club, The Art Centre, a Church in Chickerell Road and also various pubs. It was a case of members having to attend rehearsals to know where the next rehearsal was going to be! For several years the Society leased a Hall in West Street from Weymouth Council until they had to leave when it was to be demolished for town development. It was then that the Society bought the old Photomasters premises in Derby Street and after a great deal of work they moved into “Operatic House” in January 1992. Together with the Junior Section, WOW, the Society rehearsed there for 11 years. Unfortunately with rising costs both in productions and running the premises, and falling audiences, the trustees had to decide whether to fold or sell the premises.

In December therefore, after much soul searching, the decision was taken to sell “Operatic House” and in the following January the Society moved to rehearsal Rooms at Hope Church. We have been made extremely welcome by the Elders of the Church and are now happily settled in our new rooms where we are continuing to rehearse for concerts and shows both at the Pavilion Theatre and in Hope Church itself.