Shrewsbury Musical Theatre Company (SMTC), previously known as Shrewsbury Amateur Operatic Society (SAOS), has been a cherished part of our county town’s cultural heritage for the past century. Founded by local singing teacher, Madame Rina Robinson, their first production, Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, featured some of her talented pupils in May 1923.
Shrewsbury Musical Theatre Company, previously known as Shrewsbury Amateur Operatic Society is celebrating its centenary with a special exhibition.
Through the years, except for the disruptions of the Second World War and the Covid lockdown period, SMTC has been enchanting generations of audiences with their performances. The past century has seen performances at the Royal County Theatre, the Granada Cinema and the Music Hall, with traditional productions such as The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado as well as Hollywood-inspired shows like Paint Your Wagon, South Pacific and Oklahoma.
The not-for-profit organisation now stages its award-winning shows at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn, enthralling audiences with unforgettable renditions of popular West-End musicals like Sister Act, Ghost The Musical, and this autumn’s eagerly awaited Shropshire premiere of School of Rock.
Following on from their momentous Centenary concert in June, SMTC members have been working with Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery to create an exhibition of photos, printed programmes and more from the past 100 years. Additionally, visitors can enjoy audio-visual displays with oral-history interviews which share unique spoken memories from both past and current members of the group.
SMTC member and project manager, Karen Muxworthy said “The exhibition is a tribute to the rich artistic contributions of SMTC in Shrewsbury and the captivating display of precious memorabilia on show dates back to our very first production in 1923.” The exhibition and oral-history project have been made possible with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and a Community Grant from Shrewsbury Town Council.
The venue for this extraordinary exhibition couldn’t be more fitting as it takes place in the Museum’s Community Gallery, within the same room which once housed the town’s Music Hall, a former home to the company.
Visitors are invited to delve into SMTC’s vibrant history and witness, first-hand, the magic they have woven into the arts in Shrewsbury over the last century.
The exhibition will run from Friday 8th September to Friday 10th November, 2023.