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A History of Carlton Operatic Society

Carlton Operatic Society was founded in 1921 by an enthusiastic group of local amateurs led by Frank Ingram and his wife Merle.

The original name of the Society was The Netherfield Amateur Operatic Society, and the first production was Dogs of Devon.

In 1928 a dramatic section was introduced, necessitating a change in the Society's title, and it became known as Netherfield Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society.

Together, Frank and Merle encouraged and developed the Society, and after Frank's early death, Merle continued as Musical Director and Producer. She was responsible for the production of the shows for many successful years until the job passed to their daughter - Mary Thone, herself a long time active member of the Society. Since then a number of producers have continued to maintain the Society's high standard of production.

During the War years (from 1940 to 1945) the Spitfire Concert Party was formed, and over 300 concerts were performed to the troops at RAF and Army bases in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and even Lincolnshire.

The first play after the war was When We Are Married and in 1949 the first post-war musical was No No Nanette. Both plays and musicals continued to be performed until the late 50s, when musicals took over completely.

The Society moved in 1952 from its initial 'home', the Co-operative Hall in Netherfield, to the Peoples Theatre, George Street, Nottingham, (later to be called The Co-op Arts Theatre). Here the Society enjoyed many successful years under the new name (adopted in 1953) of Carlton & Netherfield Amateur Operatic Society, reflecting how the Society had expanded, drawing members from a much wider area. The name was shortened in 1963 to Carlton Operatic Society.

In 1986 the Society moved to Nottingham Playhouse, where its first production was the musical My Fair lady.

Over the years members have also performed concerts and these have now become an annual event, alongside the regular musical show.

During the 50th Anniversary V.E. celebrations, in 1995, a number of concerts were presented combining songs and sketches from the wartime era.

In May 2014, after many years at the Playhouse, we performed our first show at the Nottingham Theatre Royal.

In common with many other amateur societies, Carlton Operatic is a long-standing member of N.O.D.A. - the National Operatic and Dramatic Association. The Society continues to thrive in spite of competition from today's wide variety of interests and is still attracting new members to its ranks.