P&P Origins v1

Poole and Parkstone Productions.
Volume 1 1919-1937

The Beginnings.

The very model

It was a time for re-building. A time to re-establish the order of things. It was 1919. This was the spirit that prevailed when the first meeting of the “Parkstone Vocal and Instrumental Society” took place. The Rules were borrowed from the “Plumsted Lyric, Glee and Orchestral Society” and included a “shilling a month subscription” and “no smoking during practices”.

The first “concert” was presented to an audience at Poole Wesleyan Church on 27th October 1919. Fifty-seven members, including a twelve – piece orchestra, took part. The net profit was £2. At the end of 1920 Sherwood’s Queen appeared for just two evenings at Branksome Liberal Hall. Admission was one shilling and three pence (including tax).

“The society is filling a very important place in the new era that is dawning, in view of the shorter working hours and the need for more recreation of the right kind” Alderman J C Julyan Bournemouth Daily Echo 1920.

The Early 20’s

The Society has always regarded Dogs of Devon as being its first production since, according to the East Dorset Herald of December 21st 1921, it “far and away eclipsed the success of Sherwood’s Queen,(which was only a practice after all!).


“With the object of filling the part of “Simple Simon” it was recommended that Mr Pierce be asked to try the part over”. (Minutes September 1921)

“The mechanical music opener has proved to be of no use to the pianist and should be used as a Whist Drive prize” (Minutes January 1921)

“Commander Hamilton has been booked to lecture on “The Work of Destroyers during the Great War”. This will be followed by musical items by the Society and a silver collection.” (Minutes 1921)

Note: The silver collection raised One Pound Seven Shillings and Six Pence.

1923 to 1937 – The Gilbert and Sullivan Years

Rajah of Rajahpore made a loss of about £30. The Conductor and Librarian, Mr and Mrs Nicholson were leaving for China.

Fortunately, the rehearsal venue at the Emerson Hall in Hermitage Road was being used practically free of charge thanks to the consideration of Alderman Carter, Mayor of Poole and the Society’s President, whose father had built it. He considered that the Society was a social asset to the town and that we should regard the hall not as a tenancy but as a home. In August 1923 the Society changed its name to “The Parkstone Operatic Society”. In doing so its fortunes appeared to change too.

Highwayman Love made a profit of Six Pounds Fourteen Shillings which was given to the Cornelia Hospital. Business pressures forced the resignation of Mr Lock as Chairman and his place was taken by Mr Percy J Knight an ex-army Captain who was to lead the Society for the next twenty three years. Fortune also played a hand in the choice of the 1924 opera. On the shortlist as being “the ones we can afford” were King Hal (“too similar to our previous productions”), Emerald Isle,(“Ringwood Operatic were doing it”), and The Mikado. Rupert D‘Oyly Carte Esq said that he would “state a minimum production fee of One Guinea per performance but that this is not to be taken as a precedent!”

The Gilbert and Sullivan years at Parkstone had begun. The Parkstone Operatic Society sang its way through fifteen years of the Savoy Operas, joined, in 1929, by a Miss Edna Ellis, later to be Mrs Edna Tice who gave great service as principal, Secretary and Producer and who was involved with P&P and Bournemouth Gilbert and Sullivan Operatic Society right up until her death in 2000.

Desert cast

“A sum of Nineteen Shillings had been collected at a tea. It is to be donated to the inmates of the Workhouse”. (Minutes 1925).

In 1927 the venue for productions was moved to the Regent Theatre, Poole and the name “Poole” was added to the society’s title to become the Poole and Parkstone Operatic Society.

End of Volume 1

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