Washington Musical Theatre Company (Musical Theatre Company)

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The idea of forming a musical society in Washington came from well-known Washington baritone Brain McAree, now one of the company's life members.

There had been an operatic society in the town previously, but it had folded, and Brian, who had considerable experience with several operatic societies throughout the North East and was also a member of Shiney Row Male Voice Choir, felt the interest in the town was sufficient to try and form a society.

With the help and support of his wife Betty and two friends from Low Fell, Jane Welsh and Mike Gentles, both well known in the amateur operatic world, Brian started to get the idea off the ground.

An article about the proposed society appeared in the local paper and a meeting was called on February 20th, 1973, which was attended by 28 people. Four weeks later, the society had 40 members.

Another well know Washington man Tom Watson was approached and he agreed to become musical director.

Rehearsals began for the society's first show, Gilbert and Sullivan's Trail by Jury. By this time, Mr. Watson had also taken on the mantle of producer.

The show was stage in May, 1973, at Usworth Comprehensive School, and was a great success.

The following year the society went on to present the musical Tom Jones.

Disaster then struck when a fire completely wrecked the main hall at Usworth Comprehensive School. The hall was rebuilt on a much smaller scale, making it unsuitable for productions.

The society had to find a new home, took up residence at Washington School and staged its first show there - The Pirates of Penzance. In January 2007 the company moved to Oxclose School to perform the majority of our shows. And in September 2010 changed our rehearsal venue to Oxclose Church.

From those early days the society has grown from strength to strength, presenting shows and concerts of a very high standard and providing a much needed musical venture in Washington.

In 2003 Washington Operatic Society registered with Company House as a limited company with the committee becoming the board of directors and in 2004 the society adopted the new name - Washington Musical Theatre Company.

Now established as a leading musical theatre company in the area, we look forward to the next 30 years.

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