Discover the exciting history of LADOS over the years since the foundation of our society in 1891
100 years of LADOS
Lancaster Amateur Dramatic Society (as it was first known) was formed on Monday, January 26th 1891 when a number of gentlemen met in the office of Mr. E. G. Clark and elected Sir Thomas Storey as the first President. On March 16th 1891 two productions, 'Blow for Blow' and 'Ici Un Parle' were performed at the Athenaeum, (renamed the Grand Theatre in 1908).
The Grand Theatre, Lancaster
In those days Drama Societies often progressed to Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas and L.A.D.S. was no exception, H.M.S. Pinafore being produced in April 1892. By 1894 it was decided that as musical works were now the principal feature of the society's activity a change of name was necessary and on March 29th 1894 the members approved the new name should be 'Lancaster Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society'. Up to the outbreak of the First World War Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas were interspersed with shows such as 'Dorothy', 'Falka', 'Merrie England' and 'Miss Hook of Holland'. A visit to the theatre was a great social occasion as different nights were under the patronage of various groups. There was Hunt Night, Golf Night, Military Night and President's Night and to facilitate travelling, special trains were arranged with L&NW, Midland and Furness Railway Companies, on one occasion the Society had to agree to cover the costs if the rail tickets sold did not amount to £2!
The cessation of the war saw a revival of musical activities. With Mr. C. R. Tomlinson as Musical Director and Mr. B. J. Vince as Producer, 'Cingalee' and 'The Belle of Brittany' were produced in the Ashton Hall before returning to the Grand Theatre with 'The Marriage Market' in 1922. In 1924 'The Arcadians' was staged in spite of the fact that on the eve of the production it was discovered that the scenery had been let by the owners to two societies playing the same week! But the show must go on and L.A.D.O.S. eventually received the scenery from the Shaftesbury Theatre, London.
1924 was notable also for the arrival on the amateur scene of Mr. Chris Riley. He joined the Society in that year playing first in the chorus then moving on to principal roles and finally taking over as Producer in 1932 with the show 'A Southern Maid'. With very many excellent shows to his credit, 44 years as Honorary Secretary and in our Centenary Year as President no wonder he was known as Mr L.A.D.O.S.
Two highlights of the next few years was the production in 1936 of 'Showboat' thought at the time to be too difficult for Amateurs due to the casting and staging difficulties, and in 1937 the first Amateur production of 'Royal Exchange', when the Society was honoured by the presence of the composer Mr. Edward Horan and representatives of Messrs Chappell & Co. and other London theatrical houses.
Custom House, Lancaster
During the Second World War period the Society carried on its activities albeit on a smaller scale but just as enthusiastically, with Revues, again in the Ashton Hall and also Concert Parties which toured the villages using a special stage 'fit up' devised by Mr. Riley.
In 1944 L.A.D.O.S. was granted a long term lease of the Custom House. This enabled the Society to make alterations to the inside converting it into a mini theatre with a stage and seating capacity of sixty. Once again the Drama side of the Society began to flourish. One Act and Three Act plays were rehearsed and then put on for members and friends before being subsequently entered in Drama Festivals. Perhaps the most notable play was 'Uncle Harry' 1947-48 which reached the National finals of the British Drama League. The Custom House was home to L.A.D.O.S. for 40 years until the building became the Maritime Museum.
1955 marked the start of a new era with the release for amateurs of many of the Broadway Musicals which had reached the London stage, 'Oklahoma', 'South Pacific', 'Carousel', 'Brigadoon', and the challenging 'West Side Story', all great hits. If only the present shows were as suitable for amateurs! 'Fiddler on the Roof' in 1973 was the last production for Mr. Riley and with his usual skill and flair it was a memorable show.
A few more Operatic shows followed in the 70's with 'Die Fledermaus' and 'Orpheus' amongst others and then in 1985 'Annie' burst upon the scene showing the versatility of the Society. Many younger members joined and have happily stayed and so enabled us to present 'West Side Story' '87 and 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers' '89.
|David Brierley||current||2017 ...|
|Frank Dewhurst||3 years||2014 - 2017|
|Alan Hargreaves||3 years||2011 - 2014|
|Peggy Brierley||3 years||2008 - 2011|
|Malcolm McIllmurray||2 years||2006 - 2008|
|David Brierley||2 years||2004 - 2006|
|Nola Statter||2 years||2002 - 2004|
|Irene Bell & Maureen Watson||2 years||2000 - 2002|
|Chris Riley Jnr.||2 years||1998 - 2000|
|John Morrell||2 years||1996 - 1998|
|Colin Whiteside||2 years||1994 - 1996|
|William (Bill) Pearson||2 years||1992 - 1994|
|Chris Riley||2 years||1990 - 1992|
|Coun. John Ball||2 years||1989 - 1990|
|Margaret Hartley||2 years||1987 - 1988|
|No President||1 years||1986 - 1986|
|Betty Pimbley||14 years||1973 - 1985|
|H. B. Richmond Esq.||5 years||1968 - 1972|
|J. C. Higginson Esq.||6 years||1962 - 1967|
|Alderman Norman Gorrill J.P.||7 years||1955 - 1961|
|Mrs. Musgrave Hoyle||14 years||1941 - 1955|
|Col. G. W. Sharpe O.B.E.||15 years||1926 - 1941|
|Edmund Sharpe Esq.||15 years||1911 - 1926|
|C. John Clarke Esq.||11 years||1900 - 1911|
|Dr. Irvin||4 years||1896 - 1900|
|M. J. Denny Esq.||3 years||1893 - 1896|
|Sir Thomas Storey||2 years||1891 - 1893|