Stafford theatre group celebrate 90 years on stage

Sam Parton (J Pierrepont Finch) centre, and the cast of H2SiB celebrate 90th Anniversary

January may be coming to a close but one of the areas longest running theatre companies is still ringing in the New Year as 2014 sees them reach a milestone anniversary.

Next month the members of Stafford & District Operatic Society celebrate the 90th anniversary of producing musical theatre and stage shows in the county town, and are marking the occasion by rehearsing for a brand new production.

The Society first formed in 1922 when a group of 20 theatre enthusiasts met at the then Sheridan Hotel, but didn’t take to the stage until 6th February 1924 when it staged it’s first ever production – a traditional re-telling of Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘The Mikado’ in the assembly hall at the then Borough Hall, now the site of the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre.

Original photograph from 1924 SDOS production of 'The Mikado'
Original photograph from 1924 SDOS production of ‘The Mikado’

Since then the company has gone from strength to strength, entertaining hundreds of thousands of audience members with a wide range of sell-out shows.

“When you sit and work out the audience numbers of people that have been to see one of our shows it really is wonderful to think how many people have come out to support local theatre in our lifetime – long may it continue!” said Society Chairman, Sue Zurawiel.

The Society’s next show ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ has never been performed by the company in it’s long history, but has recently experienced a huge surge in popularity based on the 2012 Broadway revival starring Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe.

The story – penned by the same writers of Guys & Dolls and Catch Me If You Can – is based on the 1952 Shepherd Mead book of the same name, and tells the satirical tale of the ambitious J. Pierrepont Finch, who uses his trusty book ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ to rise from window washer to chairman of the board.

“The company are in rehearsals now for the April show, and it is looking and sounding great! The show is set in the 1950’s so you have the big band music and wonderful costumes of the era, but it was very forward-thinking with it’s themes – the office politics Finch encounters is just the same today as it was 60 years ago, and makes for some very entertaining scenes that people will recognise!

The people of Stafford have been fantastic audiences for nearly a century now, and we’re looking forward to bringing ‘How To Succeed’ to the stage for this generation – it’s going to be a great anniversary show!”

Stafford & District Operatic Society’s ‘How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ will be on at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre from Tuesday 8th – Saturday 12th April. Tickets are available now and start from just £9.50 – with fantastic group rates and family tickets available (through the Society only). To book visit, or for more information contact
Tickets are also available directly through the Box Office at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre.