Celebrating 65 Years In 2018
Celebrating 65 Years in 2018… Nineteen fifty-three was a very busy year, which saw, amongst other things, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the North Sea flood, rationing of sweets ending, DNA was discovered, Winston Churchill was Prime Minister, Blackpool FC beat Bolton Wanderers to win the FA Cup, Tony Blair and Victoria Wood were both born, and Blackpool Operatic Players were preparing to perform their very first show, Waltz Time.
Their leading lady for that production was Doreen Harbron, who went on to play many roles over the years, and is currently the society’s President.
Looking back on the number of shows the Players have given for so many years, it is quite remarkable to realise how things have changed since 1953 and how versatile the society has had to become. Gone are the days of crinoline dresses and old staple shows, like The Merry Widow and New Moon. Now the society tackles West End productions that are vibrant and current for the audiences of today. This trend is evident with the show currently in rehearsal – the iconic comedy musical, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which will be performed at the prestigious Grand Theatre in April. What better way to celebrate a landmark birthday.
As well as this trend towards more ambitious productions, Blackpool Operatic Players are currently experiencing another significant change with their Chairman, John Chesters, relinquishing his role after 10 years.
John has been a stalwart company member for many years, initially getting involved by dropping wife Marian at rehearsals and later (after a little persuasion) agreeing to appear on stage – so long as he could be a cowboy! Over the years he has played many parts including Judd Fry in Oklahoma and, more recently, as Isodor Straus, the co-owner of Macy’s department store in the society’s 2012 production of Titanic the Musical. This production was very special on so many levels, especially as the society were performing the show at the moment the ship hit that iceberg exactly 100 years earlier, and also because John played opposite his wife, Marian, who was Mrs Ida Straus.
Ten years ago, John offered himself as Chairman ‘for a year’. Now approaching the ripe age of 75, he feels entitled to a well-earned rest, but will still be active in a more leisurely role and can be found tirelessly preparing our rehearsal rooms and organising our sponsorship. John and many of the company are delighted to be Celebrating 65 Years.
As a sign of the society’s gratitude for his hard work, John was made a Life Member at their recent AGM and presented with a Life Member’s medal and a celebratory cake.
Join and Blackpool’s Grand Theatre in Celebrating 65 Years of Blackpool Operatic Players in 2018…
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