Titanic show leaves Denmead Operatic Society with sinking feeling

MAKING WAVES Denmead Operatic Society's production of Titanic the Musical
MAKING WAVES Denmead Operatic Society's production of Titanic the Musical
The Highfield Campus at the University of Southampton, which is home to the George Thomas Building. Picture: Geograph

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ONE of the area’s most established amateur dramatic groups is weighing up its future – just weeks after one of the most successful productions in its 79-year history.

And it was a performance of Titanic that has given Denmead Operatic Society that sinking feeling.

As reported in The News, the society was one of the few amateur groups in the country to receive a licence to perform Titanic the Musical, 100 years after the ‘unsinkable’ ship went down in its maiden voyage.

It was a bold production to undertake – but very successful.

Will Donnelly, the group’s business manager, said: ‘The show was critically acclaimed – it was one of the most successful and ambitious we have ever done.

‘But it was very expensive to put on.

‘We had to pay performing rights – which is a flat fee plus a percentage of our takings – we had a live professional band, there was the hire of the hall, and the cost of costumes for one of the biggest casts of any show we have put on.

‘There were 44 named roles in the production – so many that we had to recruit more members and more actors to put it on.

‘We normally budget to make a loss with our big shows, and we fundraise the rest of the year and put on other productions and murder-mystery evenings to help make up the deficit.

‘But Titanic was far more costly than we expected, and it ended up costing us £12,500 to put on. We suffered a major loss and we almost went out of business because of it.

‘We were right to put on the show – it’s productions like that which the actors love putting on, as it really stretches them, and we received excellent feedback from everyone who saw it. It was a very good show – but financially it was a bit of a disaster.

‘As things stand now I don’t think we’ll actually go under and have to fold, but it means the next production we put on is vital – we really need it to make money to secure our future.’

That show is Hi De Hi, a stage production of the popular BBC comedy series, and performances take place at Horndean Junior School on September 14 and 15, and Portchester Community Centre on September 21 and 22.

Tickets cost £9 and are available by phoning Ann Dent Smith on 01329 310849.

Mr Donnelly added: ‘We really hope the public will support us.

‘We performed ’Allo ’Allo two years ago and it was a lot of fun, and raised good money for us.

‘If this show isn’t a huge success for us, then we will have to look hard at our future which will be very sad as we prepare to celebrate the society’s 80th anniversary. However, we can promise our audience a super show with lots of entertainment and laughs. Please come along and support us.’