Society marks 90 years

Mystery solved

Members of the cast of Acton Amateur Operatic Society's production of "Veronique".

ACTON Amateur Operatic Society (AOS) has been entertaining local operetta fans for 90 years (in February 2010).  Despite their name placing them in the village a couple of miles from Nantwich - and the fact that they rehearse in the village hall - I have always thought of them as a Nantwich society.

   True, they hire the Lyceum Theatre, Crewe, for their lavish productions and a scan of the membership list would possibly put members as coming from many places as well as Nantwich.  

   They were the second amateur society that I worked backstage for (after Nantwich Players) recruited through my membership of the amateur dramatics group.

   The AOS marked their 90th anniversary with an evening of nostalgia, performed on two evenings, recalling their past music. (Read more on www.acton-aos.co.uk).

   The longest serving current member is Peter Usher, now their President, who - with his wife, Eva - helped Nantwich historian Andrew Lamberton to name the members in the three pictures on this page. Andrew sent me the pictures which belonged to his mother.    


VERONIQUE (1951) Nantwich Civic Hall (top of page).

Back row: Harry Simpson, Brian Boyer, Eric Holland, Ken Hockenhull, Phyllis Lamberton, Peter Usher, Louise Bedson, Marjorie Geoghan, Len Boyer, Winnie Hiscock, Sid Simpson (Harry's father), Roy Hughes, Tom Wright and Lewis Goodrich.

Front row: Madeline Basford, Betty Swindells, Barbara Davies, Edie Capper, Moira Blakemore, Marion Day, Ada Darlington, Alma Sutton, Freda Gregory, unknown lady, Annie Climo, Alice Bourne, Marie Boffey and Eva Usher.








Emmie Farrington, Jack Bratby, Phyllis Lamberton, Wilf Blud, Annie Climo, Sid Simpson, Gladys Boyer, Len Boyer, Frances Thompson and Peter Usher.
















Back row: Gladys Lyon, Phyllis Lamberton, unknown man, Winnie Hiscock, Mr Chechevski, David Lloyd, Gladys Schofield, Fred Rowley, Len Leggett and Dorothy Halliday.

Front row: Barbara Davies, Alma Sutton, unknown man and Joyce Hole.








WHEN the Veronique picture was first posted it was a version that had been cropped in the copying process and as a result some of the singers had been lost. Only half of the man on the extreme right of the back row originally appeared and so he couldn't be identified.

   Andrew later obtained another copy of the photograph which, although damaged, showed all the cast. (The damage has been edited out here). He also received an e-mail from the mystery man.

   Lewis Goodrich sent this message to Andrew: "Browsing through A Dabber's Nantwich, I noticed the picture of Acton Amateur Operatic Society's 1951 production of "Veronique" and read that the man on the extreme right couldn't be identified.  That guy was, in fact, me . . .  a 17-year-old youth appearing in my first show as a member of the society.  I also have the original photo.  My wife and I are still involved with the society, as non-acting members."

   And he had a further point of interest to divulge: "On another tack altogether, you may well know that the virtuoso pianist and composer Franz Liszt (1811-1886) is said to have stayed the night at the Crown Hotel en route to a concert in Chester.  He was presumably travelling by coach and horses."

   Lewis later identified the lady on the extreme left of the front row as Madeline Basford.

   Unfortunately, we still don't know the name of the lady fifth from the right on the front row.


Andrew replied:

"Lewis, Many thanks for your e-mail. I didn't realise that you were in the cast in Acton A.O.S. as I remember you better as a fellow musician in the orchestra with the society. I was also interested to learn about the connection with Franz Liszt and the Crown Hotel."

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