"A very good place to start"
In December 1967, six friends decided to try to form an Operatic Society. Between them, there was enough expertise to fill essential roles i.e. Musical Director, Producer, Pianist and Scenery creator. It was then advertised that a new society was to be formed by delivering handouts all over Orrell which were asking if anyone was interested in taking part in a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's 'The Pirates of Penzance'.
The first meeting was one Monday evening in January 1968 at Trinity Methodist in Pemberton. Approximately 15 people attended and Orrell and District Gilbert and Sullivan Society was formed. On subsequent Monday evenings, more and more people came and it was decided to stage the show in June of that year. After a successful debut production and increased membership, the society moved to Winstanley College for the next production and rehearsals took place at Salem United Reform Church Hall in Orrell. Since 1971, the society has given concerts in addition to an annual show, travelling to different venues in order to help organisations to fund raise as well as supporting our own financial commitments.
In 1974, the members decided they wanted to widen the scope of musical productions by introducing operettas and shows written by other composers and, as a result, the society was renamed Orrell and District Operatic Society. The first production of this nature was 'The Merry Widow'. In 1986 the venue for our productions was changed to the Linacre Theatre in Wigan. This was because of extensive alterations to the stage at Winstanley College which made the staging of a show there impossible. Since then we have staged our productions at the Deanery High School in Wigan, Abraham Guest High School in Orrell and, more recently, at St. Michael's Church Hall in Swinley, Wigan.
Over a period of time, members decided that we would like to move away from operatic shows and to move to producing more modern theatrical musicals as well as putting on plays. In 2001 our name was changed again, this time to Orrell Musical and Dramatic Society, OMADS, to reflect our change in direction and this is the name by which we are known today. Our first musical with our new name was 'Hello Dolly' in 2002. Since then, we have staged shows such as 'Thoroughly Modern Millie', 'Sweet Charity', 'Little Shop of Horrors', 'Half a Sixpence' and we have even ventured down the yellow brick road in search of 'The Wizard of Oz'.
In addition to our concerts and shows, we can be found out and about in November and December carol singing and in November 2017, we were invited to take part in the Pemberton Christmas Market, an exciting new venture for us. As we moved towards our 50th year, we had to leave Salem United Reform Church Hall since the church closed and, ironically, we moved back to Trinity Methodist Church in Pemberton for our rehearsals. Unfortunately, this venue has also now closed but thankfully, Salem has been taken over by the Living Faith Church and we have now returned to Church Street, Orrell. Lots of fun has been had over the last five decades and, although we no longer have any of our founder members with us, we do still have members who have been part of the society for around 40 years. Our longest standing member joined us in September 1977!
Rehearsals are held on Wednesday evenings from 7.30pm to 10pm with a break for tea and a chat half way through. Principal rehearsals are held on Monday evenings. Additional rehearsals for the full cast are held on Sunday afternoons in the run up to the show or concert. Our main rehearsal venue is Living Faith Church, Church Street, Orrell, WN5 8TG, but leading up to a performance we will rehearse in the performance venue.
We are affiliated to the National Operatic and Dramatic Association and are proud to say that we have been nominated and won a number of association awards over the years. Nominations are usually released early December. You can find out more here: https://www.noda.org.uk/
Musical Theatre for Orrell, Wigan, Upholland, Standish, Skelmersdale, St Helens and beyond
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