Liz Turnbull: “WAOS” is a happy place to be part of telling a story.
Hi all, my name is Liz Turnbull and in the midst of the CV lockdown it has been an opportunity to sort through and organise the many photos and newspaper cuttings I have accumulated over the years since I joined “WAOS”.
I had always been involved in dancing from a very young age, when I was enrolled in the Diana Dixon ( nee Sheather) school of dance.
Singing seems to have always been a part of my life, from church anniversaries to local festivals and school productions, where I also had an opportunity to act.
There was a gap in these interests mid teens to early twenties when education took priority. On returning to Cumbria in 1974 I was persuaded by a friend to Join WAOS which I did in 1975.
My first show was “HMS Pinafore” when I was in the chorus. It took me another two full years to pluck up the courage to apply for a part.
Auditions then were in the Carnegie and rather scary, looking out into the audience with difficulty seeing exactly where the selection committee had seated themselves. Although I do remember vividly seeing one gentleman fast asleep. The only other person on stage was the pianist during singing and the person reading in during the lib. I was over the moon when I was successful and cast as Aline in the “Sorcerer”.
My love of G and S continued to grow over the years and had many an opportunity to let rip both in the chorus and as one of the female leads.
Foot mics only then and backdrops to provide an indication of where we were in the show !
Thank goodness we have come a long way since then. Auditionees can see the selection committee and we have wonderful scenery, sound and special effects.
As the years went by I not only continued to develop a love of G and S but also of musicals, especially comedy and character parts. Two of my favourites being Miss Adelaide in “Guys and Dolls “ and Lena Lamont in “Singing in the Rain”.
The show I recall with the most fantastic costumes was “Camelot” the knights in authentic armour and as Guinevere apart from the long blonde wig I had 13 beautiful gowns and headresses. It certainly kept Joyce Walker who was our Wardrobe Mistress busy.
Over the years WAOS has moved from engaging professional visiting directors to our own brilliant homegrown ones. Such a good move and the opportunity to showcase one of WAOS members many talents.
Being a member of management and secretary of the selection sub-committee and more recently “WAOS” Chair, I continue to be committed to a society that has brought me much joy.
WAOS has brought many opportunities to members over the years, not only those who have made theatre their career, but also in providing a community backdrop for meeting like minded people, which facilitates expression and allows growth and the ability to communicate more efficiently, bringing creativity, patience and confidence into personal life.
“WAOS” is a happy place to be part of telling a story.
Much Love to you all
Ed's WAOS History
I joined the Society rather reluctantly in 1965 for the 1966 Diamond Jubilee production of Patience. There was a shortage of males, and I became a Heavy Dragoon. I enjoyed the show so much that the society became a very big part of my life. I appeared in every production until 1970, when I went to live in Whitehaven, and during that period I was a founder member of ‘The Whitehaven Theatre Group.
I came back to live in Workington in 1980, and appeared again in the WAOS production of The Merry Widow. I appeared in most of the 1980’s productions, and the highlights for me were playing The Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, and Nathan Detroit in Guys & Dolls. During this period in the eighties, my sons John and Tony were born, and my wife Phyllis and I tended to take turns at appearing in productions. It was also during this period that the Juniors was started by Geoffrey Hubbard, Linda Adams and myself. We met every two weeks, on Saturday morning, taught theatre skills and played games all for the princely sum pf 50 pence.
My first directorial experience came in 1997, with’ Singin in the Rain’, it was due to be directed by David Marcus. My first dilemma with the show was organising a ‘wet set’, for the famous rain scene. We managed to pull it off, and the leading man got a good soaking every performance. I was fortunate enough to direct the next twenty-one shows for the society, including three Andrew Lloyd Webber blockbusters and other new shows released for Amateur Societies during this period.
I was elected as NODA Representative for Cumbria in 2006, a post which I still enjoy, especially being invited to member societies. The Society has played a major part in mine and my family’s life, and I wouldn’t change that time in my life for anything else.
"We will be back on stage again soon"
I'm Bethany Goodall and I have been a member of WAOS since 2013 when I joined the Junior section for the 2014 musical, Joseph and his Amazing Technicoloured Dream coat. I played Issachar, one of the brother’s and it is still one of my favourite shows to date.
I loved every minute of being a junior and found friends for like while there. I’ve been in some wonderful shows such as Grease, Les Misérables and Starlight Express with small roles in each one. I played a pink lady in Grease but had no lines, I was the old lady in Les Mis and Hip Hopper 3 in Starlight express. While in the juniors I also had the opportunity to perform in the concert Music was my first love at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick which was a fab experience and we also performed at the 110th Anniversary of WAOS where I was one of the three little maids from school. I think one of my favourite shows while in the juniors would have to be Les Mis, just for the feeling that we all shared at the end of each show when the audience were out of their seats applauding us. I felt proud to be part of it. That was then followed on when we won the NODA for best ensemble and best staging! One of the best nights ever. I left the juniors in 2017 with Starlight being my last show and after all the hard work that went into that show, I can honestly say, I left on a high point.
I have also been a member of the adult section since 2015 when I was in Evita. I have also been in other adult shows such as Hairspray and White Christmas. White Christmas being my last show with WAOS before heading to University of Cumbria to do my BA (hons) degree in Musical Theatre. I enjoyed performing all the time as part of my course and learning new things but I know that it was better performing amongst friends as part of WAOS, the best hobby in the world. I have now finished my course and have moved back home so I can come back and perform alongside the amazing people I’ve known for the best part of 6 years.
As soon as all of the uncertainty in the world is over and everything goes back to normal, we will all be on stage again soon!
A faithful member,
Hi my name is Geoff Hubbard, although I have been involved in Amateurs since 1968, I have been a member of Workington Amateur Operatic Society since 1972, that’s 48 glorious years.
Amateurs is a great hobby to be in because you can be as involved with it as much or as little as you like.
Over my time I have been as involved as much as I possibly could, including performing in some 41 shows, plus one as call boy and co-directing 4 Junior productions. I have also performed in Society concerts, writing and directing one, and designed scenery for two shows.
I have also been a member of Management and Publicity committees.
Since 2006 I have been working with the Society Archivist on maintaining and updating Society history.
One of the best thinks about being in the Society is all the friends and acquaintances that you make. Over the years there have been a lot, the older ones, mostly not with us anymore, whose performances gave me the techniques to make better my performances, and those like my late friend Tony Murray, who would mentor me, keeping me right, and correct me if I got it wrong.
Just over 30 years ago, after a production of Oliver, the Management Committee the Management Committee decided to create a Junior Section, to keep those Oliver children in our Society and possibly have them develop their love of theatre and become future adult members. I volunteered, and with what became our Junior Committee, had fortnightly meetings teaching them theatre skills that we had gained through our membership. I co-directed four of these along with Ed McGee, and 30 years later I am pleased to say that the plan has more than paid off, as the Juniors are now run by former Junior members. I think that is one of the things that I am most proud.
To think of it, at one time I was Ticket Secretary, member of Management and Publicity, playing a part and holding down a full time job!
Those were the days.
To pick out a favourite show is difficult. I think a good contender would Hello Dolly, I played Barnaby Tucker and other members of the cast included Marjorie Musgrave, Norman Brayton, Tom Walker, Pat Nicholson and Phyllis McGee. It was the Societys Platinum Anniversary production, and it just had everything. It is a real feel good show with great words and music and fun to be in. I would recommend it to any Society, but you have to have a great Dolly, we did.
Yeah, a lot of happy memories.
"What seems like a ‘Hard Knock Life’ right now will soon become a ‘Fine Life’ once again" Chloe Steadman
"What seems like a ‘Hard Knock Life’ right now
Hello, my name is Chloe and I have been a member of Workington Amateur Operatic Society for 10 years. I joined the Junior section of the society in 2010 when I was 11 years old and have not looked back since! My first memories of the Juniors would have to be singing ‘Rule the World’ by Take That repeatedly and complaining to others about how sore our necks were whilst bowing our heads during the opening of the Les Mis medley. I was lucky enough to perform in several hit shows with the Juniors, my very first being Mulan to my last being Starlight Express in 2017. I was so sad to leave the Juniors behind, however little did I know this was not the end of my time with them. When I was asked to join the Junior Committee in 2017, the answer was a definite yes! Since being a part of the committee, I have helped with several productions and concerts, ran workshops and most importantly, had fun. It really is rewarding working directly with the Juniors, especially when all the hard work and effort results in performances from them that are just fab. I can’t wait to see what the Juniors do in the coming years. I then joined the adult section of the society in 2017. I have taken part in 3 productions and met so many new people, some of which have become my best friends.