Society celebrates double 90th

Betty Nesbit who is celebrating her 90th birthday this year
Betty Nesbit who is celebrating her 90th birthday this year

An amateur dramatics group will be presenting a special show this spring to mark two momentous occasions.

Ponteland Repertory Society is presenting performances of music, comedy and entertainment covering nine decades to celebrate its 90th anniversary.

Oklahoma by Ponteland Repertory Society in which Betty Nesbit had a part.

Oklahoma by Ponteland Repertory Society in which Betty Nesbit had a part.

And the event will also mark the 90th birthday of the society’s President Betty Nesbit.

Mrs Nesbit has been a member of the society for 50 of her 90 years.

She helped out at first, then joined the back row of the chorus in Pink Champagne in the 1969/70 season.

The amateur star had her first leading role in Oklahoma in 1972. She has played a full part in the repertory society ever since, and is still a lively, committed member as President.

Ponteland Repertory Society perform Dick Whittington.

Ponteland Repertory Society perform Dick Whittington.

Her late husband John was also a stalwart of the group.

However, Mrs Nesbit does not only look back to the history of the society, but also looks forward.

She said: “Our society has always been forward thinking, looking to do new things.

“Today I am exceedingly proud of our youth theatre, the Preppies. Our young members are learning the art of performing on stage with our very experienced actors. They are a joy to watch in our productions.”

She also encourages others to participate.

“New members are always welcome, either to help or take part, you never know what you can do until you try,” she said.

“It is a very good way to make new friends too.”

The first performance by Ponteland Repertory Society was The Mandarin. This was followed by Tilly of Bloomsbury and HMS Pinafore the following year.

Throughout the years, the society has produced hundreds of shows across a range of genres, with pantomimes added to the repertoire in 1996.

The anniversary show will take place on Thursday, March 30 and Friday, March 31, at 7pm, and on Saturday, April 1, at 3pm, at the Memorial Hall in Ponteland.

Audiences will hear songs from the mountains of Austria and the wide prairies of the United States, listen to young ladies from Japan and servicemen in the South Pacific, and feel the excitement of the race track at Ascot.

They will also meet some of the young residents and shady characters of New York, and enjoy a knees-up in old London town, all in one show.

Musical Director Deborah Barry has chosen pieces from such shows as Annie, The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, The Mikado, My Fair Lady, Me and My Girl, Fiddler on the Roof, Showboat, South Pacific, Oklahoma, and others.

Meanwhile, the Preppies youth theatre will also be entertaining audiences, including songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Tickets are priced £8 adults, £6 children.

They are available online at www.pontelandrep.co.uk