In 1936 , “The Street Singer” was performed by a newly formed Operatic Society, in the Village hall, Chislehurst, Kent, for two performances only.
The group strengthened its resources over the next few years and shows were presented with an ever increasing improvement in the standard. This development was cruelly interrupted by the onset of the Second World War, in 1939. Lucky for us, those members that survived the five horrific years, had the energy and determination to reform the Society and started to perform excellent shows, not in Chislehurst, as was the case before the war, but at the Civic Hall in Orpington.
Our venue changed in 1993 to the theatre, recently developed from a former Art-Deco Cinema in Sevenoaks, which was renamed The Stag. In 2004 The Stag was renamed the Sevenoaks Playhouse. This move was forced on us on mainly for economic reasons. Shows were costing more and more to mount and with the not-too-comfortable chairs at the Civic Hall, we felt that we could not raise the price of tickets and so, even with “sell-out” productions, we were never going to cover our production costs.
The difficult task of persuading our patrons and supporters to make the extra journey down to Sevenoaks was undertaken and we have succeeded in filling our houses. Mostly from our former friends, but also amply supplemented by the increasing band of supporters from the Sevenoaks and Tonbridge area.
Our production of Oliver! in November 2004 was the Society’s 100th production. We have produced shows of very high standard from the classics, such as: – “The Merry Widow”, “The Student Prince” and “The Vagabond King” to many of the Gilbert & Sullivan treasures, to the modern West End/Broadway Musicals such as: – “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Guys & Dolls,” “South Pacific”, “Kiss Me, Kate”, “Carousel”, “My Fair Lady” and many, many more!
In the programme of “Show Boat”, which we presented to mark our Diamond Jubilee in 1995, a more detailed history was written.