St Albans Operatic Society present The King and I

PUBLISHED: 19:06 14 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:09 20 February 2013

The St Albans Operatic Society bring the magic of The King and I to the stage of the Alban Arena from May 18.

FOR 60 years, St Albans Operatic Society hasbeenperforming to delighted crowds.Most recent shows include West Side Story, The Wizard of Oz, and Sweeney Todd, and from May 18 to 22 The King and I joins the ranks of its lavish productions.

As early at 1912, the St Albans Amateur Operatic Society was entertaining the county with Yeoman of the Guard, but then it was stop and go between both the two world wars and the depression, until finally the present society was newly formed in 1950.

In the last 60 years, with two shows a year, you name it, they have produced it, from My Fair Lady to I Pagliacci. Definitely a survivor, the society has overcome all sorts of setbacks. The Anything Goes set was burnt down two days before first night; and a chorus member took five hours to learn the part and took over the lead when the original lead lost her voice in Carousel.

This month the society presents a firm favourite in The King and I which needs, above all, superb principals, stunning choreography and a bunch or adorable children.

Julia Rufey directs the show. She, with all her years of experience, chose to direct it for the challenge of creating it from scratch. So watch out for the innovative set created with drapes and lighting. Philip Joslin is Musical Director following straight on from his direction of Sweeney Todd for the society. Joyce Smith, choreographer, has created a lovely oriental feel to the whole show.

But you cant put on The King and I without the film in your mind. Wonderfully, the society has discovered Jamie Ross who, until recently, avoided amateur dramatics like the plague, but partly through contact with his leading lady to be, was found to be the ideal King of Siam, and its his first principal role, so watch this space.

Anna is played by Emma Stratton, who has at least 50 shows to her name. As she teaches singing, dancing and small children, the role of Anna fits her well.

People who belong to the society enjoy the family feel of it. They rehearse together, socialise together and perform together. We have only recently said goodbye to several members in their 70s to whom the society has been a rich part of their life for maybe 50 years or more, while at the same time welcoming many more younger members.

The King and I runs from May 18-22 7.30pm: Saturday matinee 2pm. Contact Alban Arena Box Office 01727 844488. Find our more about St Albans Operatic Society at

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