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ELODS and The King and I

Wyllyotts Theatre

ELODS Celebrate 65 years

ELODS is a leading amateur musical theatre group that has been performing musicals in the locality for the last 65 years.

The origins of the society was in 1951, when a local group called the Wheatsheaf Players came together and was sponsored by the Enfield Highway Co-operative Society to perform a Gilbert and Sullivan Opera every 12 months.

Two years later, in 1953, the name was changed to Enfield Light Operatic Society; ELOS and was then run in connection with the Enfield Evening Institute, under the auspices of the Middlesex Education Committee.  And so started the beginning of the society’s 65 year history.

The oldest known surviving programme is from a production of Iolanthe which was performed at the Chase Secondary Modern Boys School in April 1962. The programme was 6d (2 ½ pence in modern money).  A leaflet inside offers membership for one guinea entitling you to two 6/- tickets for the annual performance.

By the start of the 1970’s the society began to regularly perform two shows a year and widened its repertoire to modern musicals. In April 1970 they staged their last show at Enfield Grammar school with a performance of Merrie England, moving to The Intimate Theatre in Palmers Green, Green Lanes in the autumn as a result of caretaker’s strike who refused to put out the chairs for the show. The move to the Intimate was the first time ELODS had performed in a ‘proper’ theatre and they never looked back. That first show at the Intimate was Me and My Girl. Top price tickets were 10/- (50p)!

ELODS performed at the Intimate throughout the 70’s and 80’s but by 1989 ELODS had moved venue again – this time to The Millfield Theatre – billed as North London’s New Theatre and kicked off their stay there with a production of Chicago. Many of the people and production team involved in that show are still part of the society.

ELODS played at the Millfield Theatre for another 16 years until 2005 when they switched to their present venue, The Wyllyotts Theatre Potters Bar where they are very happy. The Wyllyotts is a professional theatre venue with 329 seats, an extensive bar and plenty of car parking.

Chairman Mark Shaw has been associated with ELODS since 2006 and recalls many memorable shows with some of his favourites being Oliver!, Annie, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Wizard of Oz and many more.

ELODS has been the regular recipient of regular awards for their productions including the last two shows which were Parade and The Drowsy Chaparone.

Their recent production was The King & I, a Rogers and Hammerstein classic set in 1860’s Bangkok. It tells the moving story of the experiences of Anna, a British school teacher hired as a governess as part of the King of Siam’s idea to modernise his country. Famous songs include Getting to Know You, I whistle a Happy Tune, Hello Young Lovers and many more. The cast were joined on stage by 17 local children aged from 6 upwards.

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