The First Production

So the 1958 production of “The Gondoliers”, to be staged at Yeadon Town Hall, built its momentum with a young and enthusiastic cast attending the principal rehearsals on Tuesdays and chorus rehearsals on Thursdays. During music rehearsals, which occupied the first two months of rehearsing, Mrs MacKay trained and accompanied the cast. Her strict attention to all aspects of the singing, demanding excellent diction with particular attention to the d’s and t’s at the end of words, ensured a high standard of presentation. All this was to give the Society a sound discipline to this and subsequent shows. For floor rehearsals the music was provided by the Society’s accompanists whose valued work assumed a greater role following Mrs MacKay’s retirement. One feature of the Society, which added significantly to the visual impact of the show, was that all the ladies of the chorus made their own costumes. This may have led to a few individual difficulties, usually solved by our very creative Wardrobe Mistresses, but the brightness and freshness of the ladies’ chorus costumes was always a point of comment. This practice was followed for shows well into the 1980’s.

Most of the arrangements for the 1958 February production went reasonably smoothly, but at the Dress Rehearsal the stage work was far from over and it became obvious that the rehearsal would not be finished before the last bus left. So that rehearsals could be completed, a bus was hired to take members home at approaching midnight, as very few had private transport. Many individual tales could be told about that first production but all remember that the production was well received by enthusiastic audiences. The cast and officials enjoyed a great deal of personal satisfaction. A touch of Italy in Yeadon, February 1958.