BMOS Musical Theatre Company is an award winning theatre organisation. We have been entertaining tens of thousands of people for 134 years and have helped foster many stars of stage and screen including Birmingham’s very own Kathryn Rooney who has headlined many a Hippodrome Panto and most recently starred in Calendar Girls on the London stage. Jon Boydon, recently a lead player in Jersey Boys in the West End, and Margaret Preece who appeared in, and was the singing voice of Carlotta (Minnie Driver) in the film of, The Phantom of the Opera.
After 134 years entertaining audiences throughout the Midlands, BMOS continues to thrive. We look forward to the future and to entertain Birmingham audiences for the next 100 years. In the meantime why not follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or become part of a great Birmingham institution by volunteering!
The Birmingham Opera Society was founded in 1886 and the Midland Opera Society in 1916. In 1927, the two companies merged to become the Birmingham and Midland Operatic Society (BMOS) and the rest, as they say, is history.
In the early years, productions were mainly Gilbert & Sullivan operettas and this continued until 1922 when ‘The Mikado’ was the last Gilbert & Sullivan work to be performed for many years.
In 1899 one of the founding members of the Birmingham Opera Society, Mr Herbert H Monckton, was also one of the pioneers of The National Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Association. Mr Monckton was the first Vice-President and the second to hold the position of President. Some years later the word ‘Amateur’ was dropped from the title and it became The National Operatic and Dramatic Association or N.O.D.A as it has come to be known. In January 1900 our programme for ‘The Mikado’ was the first programme to carry the familiar ‘Affiliated to The National Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Association’.
First performing at the Birmingham Institute, the Birmingham Opera Society performing annually at professional theatres from 1923. ‘Dorothy’ was the first production at Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre and the Society continued to put on musical shows at the original Alexandra Theatre on John Bright Street (rebuilt 1935). The Prince of Wales Theatre (destroyed 1941) and the Theatre Royal on New Street until the advent of the Second World War.
Performers came to an abrupt halt in 1939 and during the Second World War members of BMOS, not in uniform, formed concert parties and entertained troops in barracks and hospitals for the duration.
After the war, the members of BMOS regrouped, but with no funds, shows were performed on a shoe string with homemade scenery and costumes-the first being ‘Scrapbook I’ in 1947. ‘Scrapbook I’ was followed by other productions at the Birmingham and Midland Institute and the Palace Theatre, Redditch. Then in 1955 the Society returned to Birmingham’s famous Theatre Royal presenting ‘The Vagabond King’ to record profits of £900.
In December 1956 the Theatre Royal was demolished to make way for a new Woolworths store and office block and one year later BMOS made the move to the Birmingham Hippodrome continued with a regular annual performances until a major refurbishment in 2000. In 2013, BMOS returned to the stage of the New Alexandra Theatre to perform ‘Carousel’ and we have been delighted to return there every summer. We also continue our relationship with the Crescent Theatre.
Over the three years there have been many many high spots, including the 1985 production of ‘Hans Anderson’ (the lead role being taken by our current chairman- John Spencer) which used London Palladium sets and radio mics for the first time, a Civic Reception at the Council House in 1986 to celebrate our Centenary, the Midlands premier of 42nd Street which sold out five weeks before the show and received rave reviews…
“For the first time in all my reviewing career, I can honestly say that this show would not have been bettered by many professional productions” Gerald Smith- Express and Star.
..the semi professional production of Cavalcade in 1995, the standing room only production of Sound of Music in 1997 and the Hippodrome’s very own Gala Concert to celebrate the Centenary of the theatre in 1999.
We are always committed to raising the profile of amateur theatre in the West Midlands and alongside this we continue in our support of other charities. We have helped raise many thousands of pounds for local charities such as Muscular Dystrophy and a local school’s art foundation whilst forging links to help the British Legion. BMOS is committed to helping worthwhile causes and we particularly value the work that the British Legion do for our brave servicemen and women. It seemed only fitting that during our South Pacific production, based during World War Two, that we supported the wonderful work our service personnel have done for us, but supporting the Royal British Legion.