History of DOS
The history of Dinnington Operatic Society begins on April 23rd 1922 with the formation of the Choral Society by a Mr Pressley of Anston who was the first Musical Director. Rehearsals took place at the Colliery Institute in a small upstairs room. The first production was Handel's "Messiah" followed by the first musical called "The Dogs of War" which was performed at the Lyric Theatre.
Some time after its birth the Operatic Society changed its name to Dinnington and District Amateur Operatic Society - quite a mouthful - and kept that name until only a few years ago, and it continued to stage more musical productions, including "Merrie England", "Our Miss Gibbs", "The Geisha Girls" and "Floradora".
Little is known about the Society's activities from 1927 to 1937 but it is believed that the Lyric Theatre was closed for an extended period for repairs so the Society also took a break from performing musicals on stage, although it is believed they continued to regularly meet, rehearse and sing in public. It was not until 1938 that a Mr Francis Davies re-started the Operatic Society's Lyric performances with a series of Gilbert and Sullivan productions, beginning with "The Gondoliers".
The shows continued without a break during World War II, and one performance (believed to be of "The Yeoman of the Guard" in 1939) still carried on in true theatre tradition when the air raid siren was sounded one night, although the willingness of both audience and cast to ignore the siren was no doubt due to the fact that they knew it was a false alarm or test as there hadn't been any German air raids on the Sheffield area at that point and they didn't start until December 1940.
In 1942 the Society was invited by the Principal, Mr H. Ralph, to use the Hall of the Chelmsford Mining and Technical Institute in a bid to help finances and improve working conditions and facilities so productions moved there from the Lyric. "The Gondoliers" was repeated and was followed by "Katinka". The Producer at this time was Kathleen Cadman, with Edna Rogers as Musical Director.
New ownership of the Lyric in 1962 created better facilities and the Parish Council invited the Society to return to the Lyric, which they duly did, and productions continued with shows such as "Oklahoma!" and "The Student Prince". The Society Chairman was a Mr Harry Randall and the Musical Director was still Edna Rogers.
The Society's first pantomime was "Babes in the Wood," performed in 1967, and for a while the Society alternated its annual performances between pantomimes and musicals until 1975 when they first began putting on two productions each year, starting with "Showboat" and "Humpty Dumpty". During this period, Arthur Plant was the Producer with Cyril Walton as MD and Pat Bellamy as Choreographer.
Through a number of financially lean years that followed, the Society staged various revue shows to raise the necessary funds to be able to put on their musical productions the following year, the first of which, "Come Fly With Us Down Memory Lane," was performed at the Lyric Theatre in October 1978.
Finances again guided the Society's next change, this time to move performances from the Lyric to Dinnington Comprehensive School's Main Hall and from February 1994 productions began there with the pantomime "Sleeping Beauty". With this move came a new name as the Society dropped the word Amateur from its title, becoming affectionately known as D.A.D.O.S. (Dinnington And District Operatic Society) before this was changed again - to Dinnington Operatic Society (DOS) - in October 1997 and so 'The DOSsers' were born!
During the 90's the Producer was Jeff Foley (who was also the Society's Chair, until he sadly passed in 1998), with Lesley Kirkpatrick, Nigel Gyte, Geoff Thomas or Gail Cobb as MDs and Adelle Rose-White as the company Choreographer.
In its 80th year, the Society had to quickly find new lodgings (Fagin, eat your heart out!) as major refurbishments at Dinnington school meant a new venue was needed for productions, so shows returned to the Society's old haunt at the Lyric Theatre, and DOS has remained there ever since.
During the early 2000s, the Society briefly introduced a third production into the calendar, staging the 'May Madness' revue show in 2005 and Company in 2006, but this option was dropped from the schedule due to time, show, cost and cast availability issues.
Although Andy Collis was the Society's MD during the first decade or so after the Millennium, the rest of the production team changed fairly often with Trish Probert, Russ Thornton, Ian Probert, Sam Smedley, Dave Egan and Kirstie Turnbull (nee Probert) all Directing, and Sue Benson, Michelle Holland, Olivia Egan and Kirstie Turnbull taking the Choreographer role during this period.
DOS moved back to three productions a year after the creation of the Student Academy in 2014 which - after a relatively slow and gradual start - now helps a substantial number of 7-16 year-olds to develop their confidence and performing skills as part of their annual productions every March, under the guidance of Mark & Anna Maltby as Directors, Josh Raymond as MD, Catherine Enos as Choreographer and with support from Richard Concannon.
Despite a 19 month hiatus between March 2020 and October 2021 because of the Covid pandemic, DOS continues to stage main shows every October and fantastic pantomimes every January (Oh yes we do!) with Jonathan Wilby as MD and an extremely talented pool of people taking turns as Director or Choreographer, including Ashley Booker, Louise Selden, Kirstie Turnbull, Fiona Saunders, Sam Smedley, Mark Maltby and Gail Cobb, with new talent being encouraged and helped to step up into these roles all the time.
The Society's current President is Iain St.John and Chair is Mark Wareing, Who Took over from Steve Ball in 2022.
DOS is currently in its 100th year and looking forward to celebrating its centenary later in 2022 - party preparations are already under way!.
The history of the Society continues and we look forward to future generations reading this - and all the updates and additions that will follow - as they plan the party for the DOS's 150th anniversary!