Waveney Light Opera Group
Aims and Objects
Our purpose is "to educate the public in the operatic, dramatic and light choral arts; to further the development of public appreciation and taste in said arts, and to encourage local talent in the performance of said arts." In other words, we put on musical shows so that everyone might realise just how good this form of entertainment is, and we help local singers, actors & stage people develop their skills in musical theatre.
Drawing its support from a group of singers at the Beccles Modern School & Evening Institute who began to put on productions in 1954, Waveney Light Opera Group was constituted in its present form in 1965 by singers in and around the market town of Beccles, which lies on the River Waveney (hence the Group's name) on the border between the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. The Society has gone from strength to strength since its inception and is now one of the premier entertainment societies in its area, drawing audiences from far and wide. The Group is purely amateur, but always aims to present a professional approach in all it does: this has resulted in the production of shows which are known for their high quality and artistic excellence.
Until 1978, productions were taken solely from the works of Gilbert & Sullivan but since then all forms of light opera have been attempted, ranging from classical favourites to modern comedies. A further advance was made in 1992, when we began to present a show in the spring as well as our main production in the autumn. Until quite recently this programme comprised a revue-style concert in April and a fully-staged main show in October but in the last few years we have looked to attract "younger performers" (i.e. anyone under 40!) by presenting a spring production specifically slanted towards this age-group. We tested the water in 2004 with a very successful production of 'The Corporate Mikado', and have not really looked back since! Productions have ranged across all dramatic styles, recent examples being 'Little Shop of Horrors'; 'Disco Inferno'; 'Return to the Forbidden Planet' and 'Billy'. We also sometimes participate in local music-making, with smaller concerts in local churches and village halls.
Our most recent endeavour was the establishment in 2010 of a "youth section", known as WLOG Rising Stars, devoted to developing the talents of performers up to the age of 19yrs. Rising Stars began with a very successful production, 'It's A Celebration!', which drew its inspiration from the range of shows presented by the main Society over the years. They then moved on to a version of 'The Wiz', which also attracted appreciative audiences, and hope to continue in a similar vein for many years to come.
Rehearsals for the main Society are held on Monday and Wednesday evenings in Quaker Hall or Friends' Meeting House, Smallgate, Beccles. These sessions are friendly but intensive as there's often a surprising amount of music to learn! Detailed musical knowledge is not expected though, as all parts are gone through note by note by the Musical Director for each show. Rehearsals for Rising Stars are held on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons, in the St John Ambulance Hall, Blyburgate, Beccles. For further information about Rising Stars, visit their website at http://www.wlogrisingstars.co.uk/
Full membership of WLOG is open to anyone over 14yrs of age who is willing to support the aims and objects of the Group, and there is also a Junior Membership available for "up-and-coming" singers. There are two types of membership: Performing and Non-performing. Performing members are those who actually do the singing, acting and dancing, while those more interested in back-stage work (equally important!) tend to be Non-performing members. We also have Friends of the Group, for those expressing a slightly more passive interest, and Business Patrons drawn from local and national companies.
After attending a few rehearsals to see what working with us would entail, candidates for Performing membership are asked to demonstrate to us that they have the appropriate skills for the type of membership for which they are applying i.e. do a short audition. Then, as long as the Committee have no objections, all they have to do is pay the annual subscription and they are in! The full annual subscription is currently £25 but there are various concessions for students, families etc.
Membership of WLOG Rising Stars is entirely separate from membership of "the main Society", but eligible young people can be a member of each section if they wish (and so appear in two lots of shows!). The membership subscription for Rising Stars is purely nominal, as they work on a "show fee" basis because their performing membership tends to be more fluid due to the demands of school and family commitments. Their membership auditions are also rather more informal, as the major aim of Rising Stars is to encourage younger performers to develop their skills in a supportive and friendly environment - and it works!
© Copyright Waveney Light Opera Group 2019 - Registered Charity No. 1134328
Affiliated to NODA, the National Operatic & Dramatic Association