Who We AreAbout AXMT


Axminster Operatic Society was formed in 1926 and their first production was HMS Pinafore. Dr W Langran was appointed President with Mrs F G Swan being both Hon producer and Stage Manager. The Musical Director was Mr W C Walton. Performances took place the The Drill Hall, now The Thomas Whitty Centre and it appears from the early programmes that the Society travelled to Chard, Lyme Regis and Seaton for one night at each venue to put on the same show. Back then 'show week' was in May and moved to November in 1954 where it has been ever since. Shows moved to The Guildhall in 1935.

The Society flourished in the pre war years with many Axminster worthies taking part on stage and behind the scenes. Some of you will remember the names of Tom Mayo, Emmie Sheppard, Lewis and Normal Cawley, Harold Trott, Don and Phyllis Mc Neil, Scott & Kath Rowe, Margaret Pike, E. G. Kirby and Marjorie Rowe who were there from the start and mentioned in the programme of 1939. But in 1939 war prevented further productions. A few enthusiastic members made brave attempts to revive the Society. The obstacles were many and it was not until 1954 that they were rewarded and the Society performed 'The Quaker Girl' in November at The Guildhall. The President then was Emmie Sheppard with John Kent as Chairman, The Producer was Scott Rowe and Harold Mearing, Musical Director, and Margaret Trott was Hon. Secretary. In 1956, Leonard Crump travelled from Exeter by train to be producer and continued from then until 1983, a very happy association for the Society and his wife Edythe was choreographer.

There was a short break between 1961 until 1965 when the Society did not perform due to The Guildhall going under major refurbishments. Since then there have been productions at The Guildhall every year and a happy time has been had by many people.

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