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Alloa Musical Players

Keeping musical theatre live since 1952

Our Story

Here is our history of performances. Additional photographs and other material is available in GALLERY which you will also find under the MORE tab above. Just scroll down the years and enjoy!

1952

The earliest records we have of Alloa Amateur Operatic Society come from photograph albums started by David Dewar of Alloa and continued by his son Alan, who has kindly supplied many photographs. There are photographs of some of the founder members performing with "Dollar Operatic" in various operettas. Alloa Operatic Society was, they say, re-formed following the end of World War 2, although we cannot find any reference to its pre-war existence.


The President in 1952 was Victor E Cuthbert. David Dewar was a committee member. A concert was given that year in Alloa Town Hall with songs from members and featuring Victor E Cuthbert at the Town Hall Organ. (The rear wall of the stage was in those days home to an impressive pipe organ). We have a photograph of participants in our Gallery. (Scroll down to 1952!)


There was no production in this first year but rehearsals began for the first post-war production, HMS Pinafore.


Here are names of performers remembered from the 1950s (some of them have signed the first programme below!): David Dewar, Jean Kirkwood, Grant Horne, Margaret Laidlaw, Emma McClements, Elizabeth Mudie, Molly Michie, Gordon & Maureen McFarlane, Alice Binnie, Arthur Muddiman, Sandy Smith, Bob and Bess McFarlane and David Hunter (pictured right) – who remained an active member until his death in 2018. 

1953

Hon. President                       A. R. Proctor esq.

President                               Victor E Cuthbert esq.

Chairman                               Mr William G. McLeod

Hon. Secretary & Treasurer   Mr Jack Allan

Hon. Assistant Secretary       Miss J. Wilson


The company performed:


HMS Pinafore


Music                                     Arthur Sullivan

Lyrics                                     W S Gilbert


Producer                              James Mercer

Musical Director                   John Hunter McBain

Accompanist                        Mrs James (Dorothy) Allan

1954

President                          Victor E Cuthbert


This year’s show was:


Pirates of Penzance


Music                              Arthur Sullivan

Lyrics                              W S Gilbert


Producer                         Marion Locke

Musical Director             John Hunter McBain


In 2014, 60 years later, AMP gave a revival of this Victorian classic – with a few modern twists! 

1955

President                       Victor E Cuthbert


The Mikado


Music                            Arthur Sullivan

Lyrics                            W S Gilbert


Producer                       Ian Stewart

Musical Director           John Hunter McBain


You can see that Gilbert and Sullivan operettas were in vogue!

Here are David Dewar, William McEwan, Helen McLean, Margaret Laidlaw, and Jean Kirkwood.


There are more images in Gallery (scroll to 1955)

1956

President                         Victor E Cuthbert


The Gondoliers


Music                              Arthur Sullivan

Lyrics                              W S Gilbert


Producer                         Ian Stewart

Musical Director              John Hunter McBain

1957

President                       Victor E Cuthbert


Alloa Amateur Operatic Society breaks away from G&S!


A Country Girl


Music                           Lionel Monckton


Lyrics                           Adrian Ross & Percy Greenbank


Producer Margaret Eadie

Musical Director John Hunter McBain

There's a picture from the show in Gallery

1958

Back to G&S!


President                 Victor E Cuthbert


Iolanthe


Producer                 Margaret Eadie

Musical Director     John Hunter McBain


Picture from the Alloa production - David Dewar far right.


We thought you might be interested in checking out some local advertisers in the 1958 programme in Gallery

1959

President Victor E Cuthbert


Quaker Girl


Music                             Lionel Monkton

Lyrics                             Adrian Ross and Percy Greenbank

Book                              James T Tanner


Producer                        Margaret Eadie

Musical Director            John Hunter McBain


Peek inside the programme in Gallery (Scroll down to 1959)

1960

President                             Victor E Cuthbert


Another Edwardian operetta:


Veronique


Music                                   Andre Messager

Lyrics in English by              Henry Hamilton


Producer                              Margaret Eadie

Musical Director                   Arthur Muddiman


Picture from the Alloa production - pretty sure that's the only time a donkey has appeared on the Town Hall stage!


In Gallery you will find some of the Programme content - scroll down to 1960

1961

President                   Victor E Cuthbert


And back to Gilbert & Sullivan


HMS Pinafore & Trial by Jury


Music Arthur Sullivan

Lyrics W S Gilbert


Producer                  Muriel Brown

                                This was Muriel's first show with us


                                She directed 20!


Musical Director      John Hunter McBain


There are two cast photographs, one from each piece, in Gallery 1961

1962

A new President          Grant P Horne


And a very sudden leap forward into shows of the 1950s and the magic of Rogers & Hammerstein's Carousel (April 1945, Broadway). This is not an Operetta - it's a Musical! Hello USA ...


Carousel


Music                         Richard Rogers

Lyrics                         Oscar Hammerstein ll


Producer                    Muriel Brown

Musical Director         John Hunter McBain

The part of Louise was played in this production by Linda Ormiston, daughter of Producer Muriel Brown. Linda went on to perform with Scottish Opera and Saddlers Wells!


See a few pics from the programme in Gallery

1963

President                      Grant P Horne


Loving our Rogers & Hammerstein ….


Oklahoma


Oklahoma (March 1943 on Broadway) is one of a handful of turning-point musicals that changed the direction of musical theatre ... a real break-away from operetta and music hall into an integrated production - songs, dance and story as a seamless whole. And these are musicals that became motion pictures ...


Music Richard Rogers

Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein ll

Book Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs


Producer Muriel Brown

Musical Director Robert Younger

1964

President                  Grant P Horne


And back to operetta …


White Horse Inn


Music                       Ralph Benatzky & Robert Stoltz

Lyrics                       Hans Muller-Einigen


Producer                 Muriel Brown

Musical Director      Robert Younger


We have one photograph of this production in Gallery

1965

President             Grant P Horne


Castles in Spain


Music                   Harry Fragson

Lyrics                   Eustace Ponsonby

Book                    Cosmo Hamilton


Producer              Muriel Brown

Musical Director  Robert Younger

Ballet Mistress Jessie Murray


This was the year Jessie Murray became a long-serving choreographer with AAOS - to be succeeded by her daughter Barbara in the 1980s.


We have a cast photo from the Programme in Gallery

1966

President                                     Grant P Horne


We select from the 1920s …


The Desert Song


Music                                          Sigmund Romberg

Lyrics                                          Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II &

Frank Mundell


Producer                                    Muriel Brown

Musical Director                         Robert Younger

Sets by                                      George McIntosh

There are pictures in Gallery

1967

President                          Grant P Horne


We move forward to the 40s and discover Lerner & Lowe …

and Scotland as you never knew it!


Brigadoon


Music                               Frederick Lowe

Lyrics                               Alan Jay Lerner


Producer                          Muriel Brown

Musical Director               Robert Younger


See highlights of the Programme in Gallery

1968

President                       Grant P Horne


And back to operetta – the best – Offenbach! Yes – the one with the Can Can!


Orpheus in the Underworld


Music                          Jacques Offenbach

Lyrics                          Hector Cremieux & Ludovic Halevy

Producer                    Muriel Brown

Musical Director         Robert Younger


Here is Tom Forsyth as Orpheus

Sadly President Grant Horne died suddenly, later this year, at the early age of 49.

1969

President                  David M Dewar


A new President this year. He remained President for many years and David was honoured by the Society in 1978 ...


The Gypsy Baron


Music                       Johann Strauss II

Lyrics                       Phil Park


Producer                  Muriel Brown

Musical Director       Robert Younger


Here's a photo in Gallery (scroll down to 1969)

1970

President                            David M Dewar


Still with operetta with the finest of scores – this time Franz Lehar.


The Merry Widow


Producer                             Muriel Brown

Musical Director                  Robert Younger


Photos of principals in Gallery (scroll down to 1970)

1971

President                   David M Dewar


The 1950s reassert themselves with this blockbuster …


My Fair Lady


Music                       Frederick Lowe

Lyrics                       Alan Jay Lerner


Book Based on the Pygmalion tale immortalised by George Bernard Shaw


Producer                 Muriel Brown

Musical Director      Robert Younger


There are a few cast photographs in Gallery - click through and scroll down to 1971


Interestingly in this year an Arts Guild was established so that subscribers could support the arts in Clackmannanshire. Alloa Amateur Operatic Society was listed along with many of the other performing groups.


Possibly even more interesting - a bomb scare during the final performance! Link is to a newspaper cutting of the audience that night - packed house!

1972

President                          David M Dewar


Then we time travel back to Victorian and the frothiest G&S - performed by the company for the second time. (See 1956)


The Gondoliers


Music                               Arthur Sullivan

Lyrics                               W S Gilbert


Producer                          Muriel Brown

Musical Director               Robert Younger

Ballet Mistress                 Jessie Murray

Piano Accompanist          Archie Ewing


Pictures in Gallery show some well-known and much loved Clackmannanshire performers from this era. Click through and scroll down to 1972.

1973

21st Anniversary Year


President                       David M Dewar


And back to the 1950s and the outstanding partnership of Rogers & Hammerstein


The King and I


Music                             Richard Rogers

Lyrics                             Oscar Hammerstein ll

Book                              Margaret Langdon:

                                      Anna and the King of Siam


Producer                       Muriel Brown

Musical Director            Robert Stein

Ballet Mistress              Jessie Murray

Piano Accompanist       Archie Ewing


And the company also performed a concert:


Songs from the Shows


Musical Director            Robert Stein (his first year with us)

Producer                       Muriel Brown

Accompanist                 Archie Ewing


There are some photos from this year in Gallery


The company also performed "Songs from the Shows" in Alloa Town Hall in December 1973. We note the programme price was 5p.

1974

President                         David M Dewar


Back to operetta – still the very best with this adaptation of "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss


Pink Champagne


Producer                         Muriel Brown

Musical Director              Robert Stein

1975

President                          David M Dewar


A contemporary blockbuster ….


Hello Dolly


Music & Lyrics Jerry Herman

Book Based on The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder


Producer                         Muriel Brown

Musical Director              Bob Stein

Choreographer               Jessie Murray


Songs from the Shows (concert)


Producer                         Muriel Brown

Musical Director              Bob Stein


There are some pics in our Gallery

1976

President                            David M Dewar


Our first Irving Berlin!


Call me Madam


Music                                  Irving Berlin

Lyrics                                  Howard Lindsay & Russell Crouse


Producer                             Muriel Brown

Musical Director                  Bob Stein

There are some more photos in Gallery

1977

President                   David M Dewar


Oklahoma!


Music Richard Rogers

Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein ll


This ground-breaking 1943 musical, building on the innovations of the earlier Show Boat, epitomized the development of the "book musical", a musical play where the songs and dances are fully integrated into a well-made story with serious dramatic goals that are able to evoke genuine emotions other than laughter. The company first performed it in 1963 - it has and will continue to stand the test of time ....


Book Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs


Producer                    Muriel Brown

Musical Director         Bob Stein

Choreographer          Jessie Murray

There are some photographs in Gallery


The Company also performed:

Jubilee Songs from the Shows (concert)

1978/9

We have a new:


President                           Peter Harrower


King’s Rhapsody


Music and Book                Ivor Novello

Lyrics                                Christopher Hassall


Producer                           Muriel Brown

Musical Director                Bob Stein

Choreography                   Effie McCowan

Accompanist                     Archie Ewing


There is an interesting story behind this production taking place in January 1979 rather than in October 1978. Just before our production was due to be presented, Blue Asbestos was discovered in Alloa Town Hall and the building was closed down.


There are some pictures in Gallery - scroll down to 1979.


This year the death was recorded of Malcolm Ross, for 20 years Secretary of Alloa Amateur Operatic Society.

1979

President                             Peter Harrower


Despite staging the postponed 1978 show in January this year, the company also managed to find time to fit in a concert in May:


Songs from the Shows


Swiftly followed by another show:


Finian’s Rainbow


Music                              Burton Lane

Lyrics                              E Y Harburg

Book                               Harburg & Fred Saidy


Producer                        Muriel Brown

Musical Director             Robert Stein

Choreography                Effie McCowan

Accompanist                  Archie Ewing


(Sadly this was to be Muriel's last year with us)


Click then scroll down to 1979 for more images

1980

President                                     Peter Harrower


This year we record the sad death of our long-time Producer, Muriel Brown Bob Morson from Cumbernauld was her replacement and went on to direct a number of successful shows and pantos with Alloa.


The company performed a concert:


Songs from the Shows


And the main production was:


Fiddler on the Roof


Music                                           Jerry Bock

Lyrics                                           Sheldon Harnick

Book                                            Joseph Stein


Producer                                      Bob Morson

Musical Director                           Robert Stein

Ballet Mistress                             Effie McCowan

Accompanist                                Archie Ewing


Click then scroll down to 1980 for more images

1981

President                             Peter Harrower


Something Old, Something New

Concert of showtunes and Old Time Music Hall

Devonvale Hall


Producer                             Lindsey Spowage

Musical Director                  Bob Stein


Brigadoon


Music                                   Frederick Lowe

Lyrics & Book                      Alan Jay Lerner


Producer                              Bob Morson

Musical Director                   Bob Stein

Accompanist                        Archie Ewing


Click here then scroll down to 1981 for more images

1982

President                              Peter Harrower


The annual production was cancelled this year - very occasionally circumstances conspire to make it impossible to go continue. So there were two concerts - the first in March ("Showtime") with two performances, the first in Lornshill Academy, the second in the Macrobert Theatre at Stirling University. The second, "Party Pieces" was in December, over three nights in Alloa Town Hall. Here's the "Party Pieces" programme of numbers.


Showtime (concert)


Producer Lindsey Spowage

Musical Director Bob Stein


Party Pieces (concert)


Producer Lindsey Spowage

Musical Director Bob Stein


Click here then scroll down to 1982 for more images

1983

President                              Peter Harrower


Follow the Band (concert)


Musical Director                   Bob Stein



Click here and scroll down to 1983 to see inside programme which was, incidentally, hand-written by Alistair Buchanan - a stalwart of our company, Secretary for many years and co-ordinator of a very successful concert party. Alistair's skills as a draughtsman were legendary - we often learned from hand-written music and lyrics. He was also a fine performer - singing "Old Man River" in the 1984 production of Showboat and Tevye in the 1980 production of "Fiddler on the Roof". His rendition of "Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud" in concerts was also memorable!

1984

President                                Peter Harrower


Showboat


Music                                     Jerome Kern

Book & Lyrics                         Oscar Hammerstein 11


A turning point in the musical stage when first presented in 1927, this was a completely new genre – the musical play as distinguished from musical comedy. Now … the play was the thing, and everything else was subservient to that play. Its themes include racial prejudice and tragic, enduring love. The musical contributed such classic songs as "Ol' Man River", "Make Believe", and "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man".


Producer                                Jeanette MacKay

Musical Director                     Robert Stein

Choreographer                      Barbara Findlay

Accompanist                          Archie Ewing

Stage Manager                      Ross Duncan

Wardrobe                               Rose Simmons


Also in 1984 (December), Alloa Amateur Operatic Society got together with The Murray School of Dance (Jessie Murray was our Choreographer for many years and her daughter Barbara Findlay followed in her footsteps), to stage:


SONG AND DANCE

... which was performed in The Devonvale Hall, Tillicoultry for one night, then Alloa Town Hall for two nights.

1985

President                                Dorothy Wright


This was Dorothy's first year as President.


Annie Get Your Gun


Music and lyrics                     Irving Berlin


Producer                               Jeanette MacKay

Musical Director                     Robert Stein

Choreographer                      Barbara Findlay

There are some very fine publicity pictures for this show in Gallery

1986

President                                Dorothy Wright


The Gypsy Baron


The company previously presented this show in 1969 - so a nostalgic return to European operetta.


Producer                                Arthur Sutton

Musical Director                     Robert Stein

Choreographer                      Barbara Findlay

Accompanist                          Archie Ewing

Stage Manager                      Ross Duncan

Wardrobe                               Rose Simmons

This year the Company said goodbye to a former President and founder member, David Dewar.


There are photographs of the presentation to David of a Gold Bar to his NODA Medal signifying 50 years of service to the amateur musical stage and some of this year's performance in GALLERY

1987

President                        Dorothy Wright


Carousel


This show was first staged by the company in 1962


Music                             Richard Rodgers

Lyrics                             Oscar Hammerstein 11


Producer                        Bob Morson

Musical Director             Bob Stein

Choreographer              Barbara Findlay

This Programme includes the obituary for the founder of Alloa Amateur Operatic Society. David Dewar died in December 1986.

1988

This was a memorable year for musical theatre in Alloa. It is worth explaining what happened. Clackmannanshire Council had developed a Leisure Services team which was highly supportive of the arts in general. The team was led by Douglas Bloomer and within the team worked an enthusiastic young officer, Rosa MacPherson. At the time of writing (2020), both these individuals still contribute in their own ways to the arts in Clackmannanshire.


In 1988 The Council agreed to support a daring venture as a highlight of their annual Arts Festival. This was to draw on the wider performing talents of the community and present the musical "Cabaret" in Alloa Town Hall. (Use the link to see images - scroll down the Gallery to 1988)


Lyrics                                      Fred Ebb

Music                                     John Kander

Novel, Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood


They enlisted Graeme Cairns of the Alman Drama Club as Director, and Bill Jarvis, a local Solicitor as Musical Director.


Performers from The Alman Drama Club and Alloa Amateur Operatic Society as well as other enthusiastic members of the community gathered together to rehearse and perform the show in June.


Around 50% of the cast and crew were from what is now AMP, therefore this, and the subsequent Arts Festival productions, are worthy of a mention in the AMP archive. The backing of the Leisure Services team and the local Arts Council allowed risks to be taken that progressed local musical theatre in an unprecedented way. Sadly such funding in due course dried up - but the legacy lives on.


The Town Hall also celebrated it's Centenary and a video involving local "weel kent faces" was made to commemorate the occasion. Carol Rae featured in a leading role ... Head to our Gallery page to view - scroll to 1988 ...


Alloa Musical Players in 1988 also presented in March:


The Pajama Game


Music                         Richard Adler & Jerry Ross

Book                          George Abbot & Richard Bissell


President                   Dorothy Wright

Producer                   Bob Morson

Musical Director        Bob Stein

Choreographer Barbara Findlay


And in December:


Music Box (concert in partnership with Alloa Brass Band)


Producer                 Lindsey Spowage

Musical Director      Bob Stein


All in all - a very busy year - the first of several such .....

1989


President                             Dorothy Wright


Hello Dolly


Music & Lyrics                     Jerry Herman


Producer                              Bob Morson

Musical Director                   Bob Stein

Accompanists                      Archie Ewing (his final show with us)

                                             and Jean McInally

Choreographer                    Barbara Findlay


"Hello Dolly" was in March. In summer, to contribute to the Clackmannan District Arts Festival, and as a follow up to last year's "Cabaret", many members of Alloa Amateur Operatic Society took part in a community production of Kander and Ebb's "Chicago".


Then at Christmas, the company staged their first ever Pantomime presented as a joint initiative with the hugely supportive Clackmannan District Council Leisure Services Team. It was written for us by local man, Gerry Docherty and directed by Lindsey Spowage with Ken Calder as Musical Director. It was called Princess Dolly and the Dragonbusters.


Go to GALLERY 1989 to see lots of images from all three shows.

1990

President                         Dorothy Wright


White Horse Inn


Producer                         Jeanette Mackay

Musical Director              Robert Stein

Choreographer               Barbara Findlay

Accompanist                  Eleanor Harkness

Stage Manager              Ross Duncan

Wardrobe                      Jane Curry


In this Programme, the Company marks the death of Charles Roxburgh, for many years Honorary President.


At Christmas a second Pantomime, Frankie Goes to Inglewood, was staged, written and directed by the same team as 1989.


Images in GALLERY

1991

President                             W Kenneth Currie


This was Ken's first year as President and Lindsey Spowage's first time directing a musical.


Irene


Producer                              Lindsey Spowage

Musical Director                  Robert Stein

Choreographer                    Barbara Findlay

Accompanist                        Eleanor Harkness

Stage Manager                    Ross Duncan

Wardrobe                             Jane Curry


At Christmas time, a third Pantomime in partnership with Gerry Docherty and Clackmannanshire Council was staged: "Rapper and the Space Pirates"


There is more material to see in GALLERY

1990

President                         Ken Currie


Kiss me Kate


Music & Lyrics                Cole Porter


Producer                        Naidha Thomson

Musical Director            Bill Jarvis

Choreographer             Barbara Findlay


There are pictures in Gallery


In this Programme, the Company marks the deaths of two members who gave immense service to Alloa Amateur Operatic Society: Margaret Ross and Alistair Buchanan.


The Pantomime, "Cinderella" was presented at Christmas, again with the support of Clackmannanshire Council.


There are images from both shows in GALLERY

1993

President                       Ken Currie


The 40th Anniversary of the Company!


Calamity Jane


Music                            Sammy Fain

Lyrics                            Paul Francis Webster


Producer                       Naidha Thomson

Musical Director           Bill Jarvis

Choreographer             Barbara Findlay


The Company also presented The Big 40 Show in celebration of the big birthday. There was an interesting collaboration with the local charity "Buskit Romania" and you can read about this here.


At Christmas we again collaborated with Clackmannan District Council to stage the Panto, Mother Goose.


There are pictures of all three shows in Gallery

1994

President                        Ken Currie


Anything Goes


Music & Lyrics               Cole Porter


Director                         Lindsey Spowage

Musical Director           Bill Jarvis

Choreographer            Barbara Findlay

Accompanist                Eleanor Harkness

Stage Manager           Margaret Cooper

Wardrobe                    Kay Milne


There is a slide show of pics in Gallery

1995

President                                   Bob McAinsh


(A new President)

Half a Sixpence


Music & Lyrics                           David Heneker

Book                                          H G Wells

Director                                     Lindsey Spowage

Musical Director                       Bill Jarvis

Choreographer                         Nicola Hughes

Accompanist                             Eleanor Harkness

Stage Manager                        John Russell

Wardrobe                                  Kay Milne, Irene Goddard


There is a slide show of pics in Gallery

1996

President                                   Bob McAinsh


Oklahoma!


Also previously performed by our company in 1963 and 1977 - a musical that was a turning point and is proving to be timeless


Music                                       Richard Rodgers

Lyrics                                       Oscar Hammerstein 2nd


Director                                    Lindsey Spowage

Musical Director                      Bill Jarvis

Choreographer                       Audrey Burnett


There are pictures in Gallery

1997

President                         Bob McAinsh


Mame


Music                             Jerry Bock

Lyrics                              Sheldon Harnick


Book                              Joseph Stein


Director                          Lindsey Spowage

Musical Director             Bill Jarvis

Choreographer              Audrey Burnett


There are pictures in Gallery

1998

President                                   Bob McAinsh


(New President)


Wonderful Town


Music                                       Leonard Bernstein

Lyrics                                       Betty Comden & Adolf Green


Director                                  Lindsey Spowage

Musical Director                    Bill Jarvis

Accompanist                          Eleanor Harkness

Choreographer                      Audrey Burnett


There are pictures in Gallery

1999

President                                     Dorothy Izatt

(A new President)


Mame


Music & Lyrics                            Jerry Herman


Novel                                           Patrick Dennis


Director                                       Lindsey Spowage

Musical Director                         Bill Jarvis

Choreographer                           Lynn Morrison

(Lynn's first show with us!)


There are pictures in Gallery

2000

President                                Dorothy Izatt


Me and my Girl


Music                                     Noel Gay


Book & Lyrics                        L Arthur Rose & Douglas Furber

                                              Revised by Stephen Fry


Director                                Bob Morson

Musical Director                   Bill Jarvis

Choreographer                    Lynn Morrison


In November 2000 the company also presented a concert called "You Must Remember This" supported by Clackmannanshire Arts Forum. The President was now Douglas Bloomer who co-directed the show with George Marcinkiewicz and Steven Ritchie.


There are pictures in Gallery

2001

President                          Douglas Bloomer


Little Shop of Horrors


Music                                Alan Menken


Book & Lyrics                    Howard Ashman


Director                             George Marcinkiewicz

Musical Director               Alan Wardrop

Choreographer                 Louise Buchanan


A whole new production team - as we have two shows on the go this year!


There are pictures in Gallery