As part of Southend Arts Festival Leigh Operatic & Dramatic Society will perform at Priory Park Bandstand.
The Society was formed in 1915 as a result of a concert party organised during the First World War, and was originally known as the West Leigh Operatic & Dramatic Society.
The Society expanded and in 1917 became known as the Leigh Operatic & Dramatic Society. Within two years the Society’s success and increased membership made it necessary to move from the original Clarke’s College in London Road to more commodious premises at Elm Hall.
In 1922, after many sleepless nights and committee meetings, LODS decided to take the ambitious move to the Ambassador’s Theatre in Tylers Avenue, opening with Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers”.
In 1932 a move to the first-class facilities at the Southend Hippodrome led to the production of “The New Moon” in 1934. That magnificent show was generally acknowledged as the finest amateur production ever given in the town and created a sensation upon its initial performance. The advent of the “talkies” necessitated a move to the New Palace Theatre, then back to the Ambassador’s in 1936, but returning again to the Palace in 1938. Over the Second World War the Society had to scale down its productions but continued on by regularly giving first-rate revue type entertainment to the troops around the county.
The first post-war production was “Wild Violets” at the Palace in 1946. Ours is a record of which we feel justly proud. We have presented shows ranging from grand opera to the avant-garde (including three world amateur premieres) as well as countless entertainments for charitable organisations.
Today LODS continues this tradition, always ready to take a risk to offer something new, something exciting, but above all something entertaining.