On 29th July 1909, a group of enthusiastic amateurs met and Coventry Musical Theatre Society was born, but originally named Coventry Amateur Operatic Society.
The first production, Iolanthe, opened on 9th May 1910 at the Coventry Hippodrome. This was then followed by HMS Pinafore, Patience, The Gondoliers and Princess Ida. The Great War meant very restricted activities, and HMS Pinafore was performed in 1916 at the Baths Assembly Hall. In 1918 we revived Iolanthe at the Empire Theatre. During WWII activities were suspended until 1945 when The Arcadians was performed. From that point on we went from strength to strength. In 1982 we dropped ‘Amateur’ from our name and performed Kiss me, Kate at the College Theatre due to the demise of the Coventry Theatre- formerly known as the Hippodrome.
We have always tried to produce ‘firsts‘ – Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Witches of Eastwick. It has always been our aim to encourage young people to join the society and some have gone on to make a successful life in professional theatre e.g. Dave Willetts and Nikki Ankara (the Phantom and Christine) in the West End and Richard Armitage, who has become a well-known TV actor, to name but a few.
In Nov 2005 we performed Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. This was followed by the highly successful The Scarlet Pimpernel in Nov 2006. Then we performed Bob Carlton’s Return to the Forbidden Planet in April 2007 with musician actors and singers combined on stage. We then performed a musical concert called Aspects of Life in Nov 2007 before staging the musical comedy The Witches of Eastwick in June 2008. In Nov 2009 we performed our last show at the College Theatre, the Butts titled Step into Christmas.
We have a versatile and talented membership, which has been shown in the great variety of shows and concerts performed by the society over many years. In our centenary year, we moved ‘home’ again – this time to the Belgrade Theatre. What a splendid way to celebrate our centenary!
In 2009 we performed Copacabana at the Belgrade Theatre. Then in 2010 we performed Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the same venue. We had a very successful run of the”loverly” musical “My Fair Lady” in June 2011 and in June 2012 we performed the classic musical comedy “Guys and Dolls”. In June 2013 we staged a full scale production of “Oklahoma” at the Belgrade Theatre.
In Nov 2013, we performed a Musical Variety Performance at the newly named Albany Theatre (formerly the Butts theatre) before heading back to the Belgrade Theatre in 2014 to stage the Gershwin smash hit “Crazy for You”.
In May 2015 we staged Lionel Bart’s masterpiece “Oliver” at the Belgrade Theatre starring two teams of 40 kids! We played to 4,500 people over 6 performances (full houses)
We then staged the tap musical “42nd Street” at the Belgrade Theatre in June 2016. Followed by the Eric Idle musical – Monty Python’s Spamalot in May 2017.
Our biggest production to date was “Annie” with a total cast of 150 kids and adults combined, taking place at the Belgrade Theatre in May 2018. We played to 6500 people over 8 performances (full houses)
Shrek the Musical was another smash hit and we once again played to full houses at the Belgrade in May 2019.
It was with great sadness that Anything Goes was cancelled in May 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the temporary closure of the Belgrade Theatre. We were hoping to stage Kinky Boots in May 2021, but the health and safety of our cast and crew was more important during this difficult year.
We are yet to announce our 2022 production.
Let the passion for theatre continue…
How to Join Us
If you would like to join the society for future productions, please complete the form on the contact us page. A short singing audition to become a member is required. New Member auditions will be taking place in September/ October 2021. The annual subscription to be part of the society is currently £30 per year for adults with reduced rates for students. We also require your contribution towards the rehearsal rooms and costume fees. We usually rehearse on Monday and Tuesday evenings with some extra rehearsals on Sundays closer to the show.