As always, a new year brings new resolutions, and promises to instil order and purpose in my life. As always, such resolutions have the life-span of an undernourished mayfly, so I might as well abandon them now, at midday on the 1st of January. As a consequence, if you detect any sense of purpose, any consistent theme, any meaningful undercurrent in my blog posts during the coming year, I assure you such things are not intended. With this in mind, let us jump aboard the illogical time machine and visit the theatre.
I acquired this splendid old photograph of a local amateur operatic society from a second hand stall at a local antique fair. On the reverse is pencilled "Brighouse Amateurs, 1924, Flora Dora". There is an excellent little website devoted to the history of amateur theatre groups in the West Yorkshire town on Brighouse, and this includes a complete list of all the productions of the two amateur societies in the town, the Brighouse Light Opera Society (BLOS) and the Brighouse Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (BAODS). Both organisations were formed in 1923 and retained their separate entities until they merged - to form Brighouse Theatre Productions - in 2005. If indeed this is a photograph of the 1924 cast of Flora Dora, that means it is the Light Operatic Society, as the BAODS were performing The Mikado that year.
The real joy of the photograph is the undiluted enthusiasm that fairly radiates from each and every member of the cast. This is local people sharing their talents and entertaining each other in a world far removed from box sets and video streams. In saying this, I am not paddling in the sickly still waters of nostalgia for a time long gone, the Brighouse Theatre Productions website proudly announces that they will be putting on a run of Sleeping Beauty at the local Civic Hall later this month.
I will certainly try to make sure I attend, and perhaps even capture a picture of the complete cast at the end of the performance. Until then I will soak up the energy and enthusiasm from those sepia faces of 94 years ago whilst humming along to one of the greatest hits from Flora Dora, "Tell Me Pretty Maiden".