About Us!

St. Annes Musical Productions is are the oldest established light opera/musical comedy society in West Lancashire, if not even further afield, a circumstance of which we are very proud!

The Society formed as St. Annes-on-Sea Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society in the early months of 1900 and it is perhaps indicative of the small membership at that time, that the first production was that famous G.and S. comic operetta "Box and Cox" (otherwise known as "Cox and Box"!), in one Act, with one set, and requiring a cast of just three men!

Our first performances were given in the Public Hall in Garden Street, St. Annes, but after a few years, it was leased to a cinema entrepreneur as a ‘picture house’ and became the Palace Cinema. From there, we moved to a tiny theatre in the old Majestic Hotel, and shortly afterwards to the Pavilion Theatre at the seaward end of St. Annes pier.

The Society clearly grew in strength and, from 1900, produced at least one ‘musical’ each year (mainly by G.and S. or by Edward German) until the outbreak of The Great War in 1914. In addition, from 1903 until that dreadful war, we gave at least one non-musical production each year.

The Great War put paid to any further productions after 1914 until the members re-formed in 1919. We then gave a series of G.and S. operettas from 1920 until 1926 before ‘taking the plunge’ and moving on to the works (though aged) of other composers , but it was not until 1934 that they moved to a ‘modern’ musical, "The Desert Song" (which had first been produced on the professional stage in November 1926). Although we managed a production of "Tulip Time" in 1940, our activities were further curtailed by the intervention of World War II. The members re-formed once again in 1948, and our first post-war production the following year was a repeat of "The Desert Song" with a cast including at least one present member of the Society.

We celebrated our Golden Jubilee in 1950 with a production of "The Marriage Market" and went on to our Diamond Jubilee in 1960 with our second performance of "Oklahoma!" To a great extent, the membership consisted of people with a background of choral singing with Church choirs and Choral Societies, and from 1966 we undertook a series of popular operettas, starting with Johann Strauss’ "The Gypsy Baron" , which enhanced our reputation as one of the finest Musical societies in the North West.

St. Annes Pier Pavilion continued to be the venue for all our productions (with only one exception - it was considered inadequate for "South Pacific" in 1963 which was performed at the Ashton Pavilion) until 1974 when we gave a repeat of "The Gypsy Baron". Very shortly afterwards, St. Annes suffered the tragic loss of the Pier Pavilion by fire, and even more tragically, perhaps, the theatre was never re-built.

For our 1975 production of "Die Fledermaus" we moved to the Ashton Pavilion in the Ashton Gardens, St. Annes, which remained our venue only until 1977, when we performed Offenbach’s "The Grand Duchess". It is hard to believe that, only weeks later, St. Annes then suffered the fate of having the Ashton Pavilion Theatre destroyed by fire, never to be rebuilt. There being no suitable venue in St. Annes itself (although we did consider using the theatre at Pontin’s Holiday Camp!), we had to move to the Lowther Pavilion in Lytham for our 1978 production of "My Fair Lady", where we have remained ever since.

We have produced musicals annually since 1949, excepting only 1982. In that year, unfortunately, at an advanced stage of rehearsals, Fylde Borough Council, having decided not to rebuild the Ashton Pavilion Theatre, commenced work of alterations and refurbishments at the Lowther Pavilion. There being no available alternative week, and no suitable alternative venue, we had no option but to postpone the 1982 production until 1983, when we gave "Waltzes from Vienna".

In the last few years, we have been fortunate to have an influx of new members, including some very talented young performers who we hope will ensure the future of this Society well into the next Millenium.

The society became a registered charity in November 2017 (Registered Charity Number 1175168). If you wish to support our work and make a donation, please contact Joanne James, Treasurer.