Lyric Musical Society

Ensemble type
Musical Theatre/Opera


In 1952, the Aberdeen New Light Opera Company, which had produced three Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, found themselves unable to continue, partly because the Aberdeen Opera Company were already too well established in the Gilbert and Sullivan market. However, one of its members, the young lawyer Frank Connon, and three friends, called a public meeting to consider setting up a new company to perform a wider range of shows, and on the 17th of June 1952 the Lyric Musical Society of Aberdeen was formed with Mr Connon as its first secretary. The first show, produced in May 1953 at Powis School theatre, was "Merrie England", to celebrate Coronation Year, followed in 1954 by "The Bartered Bride" in the High School Assembly Hall. 

After the success of the first two shows in School halls, the Society decided to take the considerable financial risk of moving to His Majesty's Theatre for the 1955 production of "Pink Champagne", a move which was justified by 'House Full' signs on the closing night. For several years, light opera was the theme of the Society's productions, until 1964, when the production of "Showboat" heralded a change of emphasis to more modern musicals, which are now the mainstay of the Society. Among the early shows, major highlights were "The Merry Widow" in 1959 and "Tales of Hoffman " in 1965, and the Society reverted to operetta once more when they celebrated their Silver Jubilee in 1977 with "The Great Waltz". 

The three years leading up to the Silver Jubilee of the Society were a particularly exciting period in the Lyric's history. In 1973, "The Sound of Music" was proposed as the annual production, but because of the lack of male participation in this show, it was decided to perform a second show in the same season, and "South Pacific" was chosen. At the same time, the possibility of taking part in the International Festival of Light Opera in Waterford, Eire was being investigated, and two years later, the Lyric entered not one, but two shows in the Festival, the choice being "The Sound of Music" and "South Pacific". After an amazing amount of hard work, both the Festival entries were very successful - the Lyric returned with first prizes for stage management, musical direction and choreography, as well as runners-up certificates for individual performances. 

In recent years, the Lyric was fortunate in being the first amateur company to perform several newly released shows, for example "High Society" in 1992, and "Barnum" in 1994. Unfortunately, the choice of show is not always so easy, financial restraints making box office appeal a major factor, regardless of novelty or company satisfaction. As a result, some of our best shows have had to be repeated after a suitable interval: "Showboat" in 1964 and 1979, "Brigadoon" in 1966 and 1980, "The Music Man" in 1968 and 1990, "My Fair Lady" in 1970 and 1983, "Hello Dolly!" in 1972 and 1986, "South Pacific" in 1974 and 1999 and "Carousel" in 1976, 1987 and 1996. In 2001, "Fiddler on the Roof", which was first produced in 1978, was the main production, this time in Aberdeen Arts Centre. A recent venture was the North East premiere of "The Melody Lingers On", in Aberdeen Arts Centre, a show celebrating the life and music of Irving Berlin, while our Golden Jubilee show in March 2002 was "Hello Dolly" once again. This was followed by a Golden Jubilee Concert in the Music Hall, and our Jubilee celebrations were rounded off by a Civic Reception in the Town House. 

The next 50 years began with a highly successful production of Barry Manilow's Copacabana in His Majesty's Theatre in March 2003, followed by 'Sweet Charity' in Aberdeen Arts Centre in March 2005. The Lyric's reputation for innovation was enhanced by their productions thereafter: "The Full Monty", "Buddy Holly", The Witches of Eastwick", "Mack & Mabel", "Red, Hot & Cole" and "The Producers" to name just a few.

Getting involved

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Membership criteria
Welcomed ability Intermediate
Ages School, Students, Adults
Auditioned Yes