SLIDESHOW: Raising the roof in song for more than 50 years
Crawley Operatic Society has been entertaining theatre-goers since 1958 and is on song to continue for many years to come.
The Society - originally the Sarah Robinson Opera Group - was founded in 1958 when a showing of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore was held at the Sarah Robinson School in Ifield. The show made a healthy profit of £20.
These pictures, from the Observer archive, were taken between 1986-89 and include Pink Champagne (1989), Baubles, Bangles and Beads (1986) and Oklahoma (undated).
The gent with the dashing moustache was John Spencer.
Charlotte Cosh, of the COS, wrote: “We have to thank Carl Willmott the first headmaster of Sarah Robinson Secondary School in Ifield for getting the entertainment started.
“It was not long after the school came into use in 1956 that Carl produced ‘Trial by Jury’ with pupils as the chorus and teachers as the leads.
“This was such a success that Carl decided to investigate the possibility of staging further concerts, and to this end he invited a cross section of people he thought would be interested.
“His idea was to form a group of people to put on future shows, and from the outcome of a gathering on 27th April 1957, the Sarah Robinson Group was
“It was not until 1964 that the name of the society was changed and this came about after an article in the local press went on to say ‘Crawley now has an Operatic Society to be proud of’. Members gave some thought to this and it was decided to change the name to Crawley Operatic Society.”
La Belle Helene, in 1973, was the last show performed at Sarah Robinson School.
The group performed five further shows at Thomas Bennett School; St Paul’s Hall, Northgate; and Hazelwick School, before settling on Thomas Bennett as its new home from 1977 – 1987.
The society’s proudest moment came in 1988 when it performed at Crawley’s new theatre, The Hawth.
Charlotte added: “We are still going from strength to strength, with many new and young members joining us over the last few years, and we have also ventured into new territories for us, with our third pantomime taking place in January 2013, Sleeping Beauty in the Hawth Studio.
“ We are also very lucky to be the very first company to bring the family favourite show The Sound Of Music to the Hawth in April 2013 and have assembled a great cast for this.”
To contact the COS, call 01293 524186.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Crawley
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North west