Society marks 90 years on the stage

Ponteland Repertory Society's 90th showcase
Ponteland Repertory Society's 90th showcase
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Nine decades of performance were celebrated in a special showcase by an amateur dramatics group.

Ponteland Repertory Society marked its 90th anniversary with a trio of superb performances.

Betty Nesbit who is celebrating her 90th birthday this year

Betty Nesbit who is celebrating her 90th birthday this year

Its 90th anniversary celebration saw three nights of full houses, who enjoyed a wide programme of music and comedy covering the 90 years of performances.

The showcase was called Around the World in 90 Years and covered shows that have been performed by the society over the decades.

Lesley Eltringham, Publicity Secretary, said: “It is difficult to mention everyone involved as it takes a big group of people to mount such a production.

“Deborah Barry, our Musical Director, is to be congratulated for her choice of music and her excellent direction of our soloists and chorus.

Ponteland Repertory Society's 90th showcase

Ponteland Repertory Society's 90th showcase

“We had tastes from My Fair Lady, Oklahoma, South Pacific and a touch of Gilbert and Sullivan, to mention but a few.

“Our pianist, Kyle Richardson, gave us a superb rendition of Some Enchanted Evening — you could have heard a pin drop and it was followed by a huge ovation.”

The showcase also involved the group’s youth theatre section, The Preppies.

Lesley added: “Our youth theatre, Preppies, made the first half of the show delightful. They gave us songs from Annie and the Sound of Music. Lucy Walton led them as Maria in Do-Re-Mi with her lovely voice.

Ponteland Repertory Society's 90th showcase

Ponteland Repertory Society's 90th showcase

“Our audiences were, as always, enthusiastic and appreciative, giving us lots of applause. Their loyal support is much appreciated by the Rep and keeps our community society alive and looking to the future.

“Our next show, in the autumn, is The King and I. We look forward to welcoming our audiences once again.”

And the show wasn’t just marking the society’s 90th.

President Betty Nesbit also turns 90 next month and has been a member of the society for 50 years.

She helped out at first and then joined the back row of the chorus in Pink Champagne in the 1969/70 season. Betty had her first leading role in Oklahoma in 1972.

She has taken a full part in the repertory society throughout all of these years and is still a lively, committed member as its president.

Betty’s late husband John was also a stalwart of the Rep. However, she doesn’t only look back.

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.

She added: “New members are always welcome, either to help or take part. You never know what you can do until you try. 

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