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Kings Langley       usical Theatre Company

From the Archives

We have unearthed some more fascinating snippets of information from the early days of the Society.

The first thing to catch my eye was a nice “link” to ‘Hello Dolly’, in that in 1950/51 there was a Mrs Money on the committee but, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find out whether her first name was Ernestina or whether her mother was a Cash!

In the minutes of a meeting held on 23 August 1950 it noted that “Mr Cooksey drew the committee’s attention to a notice in the Watford Observer stating that the Rev Wilkinson would be starting an Operatic and Choral Society in Abbots Langley. It was decided that it was not necessary for the committee to take any action”. I’m not sure what action might have been contemplated, although the implication is that Mr Cooksey might have favoured some sort of all-out war!

At the next meeting on 21 September, it was recorded that “the Social arranged for the 30th September would, once more, have to be postponed to nearer Xmas and would then be advertised as a Christmas Party”. So obviously apathy is not a new thing!

On 6 December 1950, the Society put on a Concert Performance of ‘The Rebel Maid’ (a non-G&S light opera). Based upon a total of 272 seats with a “house value” of £39.7s.0d and an estimated expenditure of about £30, the Treasurer forecasted that a profit of £10 - £15 could be made (presumably taking into account monies made on programmes and refreshments).

However, in the minutes of the meeting held on 15 December “The treasurer reported that, owing to the small attendance 150 of the programmes had not been sold” and, at the subsequent meeting, it was recorded that “the final loss on the show was £5.6s.6d” (five pounds, six shillings and sixpence - £5.32p in decimal terms). So obviously audience numbers is not just a present day problem!

And the situation did not seem to get any better, as there were subsequently losses of £8.3s.8d (£8.18p) on ‘Yeoman of the Guard’ in 1951 and £36.3s.4d (£36.17p) on ‘A Country Girl’ in 1952.

It is interesting to note that, during the planning stages of the latter, it was recorded that, “at the AGM when the show was first suggested, the Company had 21 men available, but since then they have lost 10”, clearly indicating that the lack of men is a perennial problem for societies such as ours.

I was relieved to discover that the production of ‘Merrie England’ in 1953 actually made a profit of £28.13s.4d (£28.67p), due at least in part to the clever choice of show in what was the year of the Coronation. This profit was obviously appreciated by the Treasurer as he agreed that “£5 could be spent out of company funds” for the preparation and dressing of the Society’s float of an Elizabethan Tableau for the Coronation procession in the village on Saturday 30 May, which was of course less than a week before the actual Coronation.