About Us

Bishop’s Stortford Musical Theatre Company brings entertainment, enjoyment and relaxation to the people of the town and surrounding villages. The Company puts on two shows each year and consistently achieves an extremely high standard; our orchestra is West End quality – as are our sets and the costumes worn by our cast. For musical talent and spectacle, you cannot find a higher standard locally. Our 2013 Production of Carousel won best musical in the NODA east awards for District 7, and our 2014 production of Jesus Christ Superstar has also been nominated for this prestigious award, yet to be decided.

LSH 1

Until 2005 the Company was known as the Bishop’s Stortford Amateur Operatic Society, the original Society being formed in 1913. In that year the Society performed The Duchess of Dantzic in the Great Hall in South Street. Such was the demand for tickets that, although planned for only three nights, a fourth was arranged at 24 hours notice and the hall, which seated 600, was filled to capacity for all performances.

AG 2

After the First World War the Society was revived and their first production was a concert performance of Merrie England. There followed a number of Gilbert & Sullivan operas. In 1929 The Mikado was performed, Followed by Miss Hook of Holland, Dorothy, which included a full pack of hounds on the stage, and the noteworthy occasion when Romany Maid, written and produced by a member of the Society, was performed. These shows provided immense interest in the town, apart from raising many hundreds of pounds for charity. The Society, however, had to disband when the Great Hall was pulled down in the mid 1930’s, robbing the Town of its only realistic performance venue.

AG 1

It was at Stortford College theatre in 1961 that the then Chairman of the Bishop’s Stortford Urban District Council, Col. John Venn, announced, following a production by Harlow Operatic Society, that he had that day completed arrangements to build a new hall on to the existing Cecil Rhodes Museum. He suggested that the Harlow Society could open the new stage. There had already been talk of re-forming the old Bishop’s Stortford Operatic Society so this was the trigger to call a meeting, which 105 people attended at the Swan restaurant and, within weeks, the Bishop’s Stortford Society had been reborn. It was decided that Merrie England would be a suitable first production and rehearsals commenced in 1962 for the performance in the autumn of 1963. The Society had never had a purpose built hall with a stage in Bishop’s Stortford; Stortfordians had not been able to see a full-scale light opera in the town for 28 years and they supported the new Society magnificently.
During the following years the “Full House” board was much in evidence even on the first night. Over the years there have been many outstanding productions. Our singing has been consistently good and the standard of our dancers and orchestra have improved dramatically.

GnD

In October 2003, due to the temporary closure of the Rhodes Centre for refurbishment, we had to seek an alternative venue and performed for the first time in a professional theatre – the Harlow Playhouse – a great experience for cast, orchestra and audience alike. In 2009 we returned to our or original home of 1963 at the refurbished Rhodes Arts Complex. We are thrilled to have returned as so many members have happy memories of performing there in years gone by.