In April 1900 a concert in aid of the Frome Nurses’ Home was given by a group calling themselves ‘The Magpies’ who described themselves as “An amateur Pierrot banjo and mandolin troupe”. The Magpies performed over the next few years in Frome and surrounding area and by 1905 formed the Frome Amateur Operatic Society. On 26th April 1906, FAOS performed Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial by Jury at the Market Hall Frome. They continued to perform each year with a break for World War 1.
FAOS performed G&S each year throughout the 1920s and in the 1930s started to do musicals, the first being Merrie England in 1930. In 1939 they were again stopped in their tracks by war. A group of male members from FAOS, who were too old to serve in WW2, together with a few women, formed the “Brightlights” and entertained the troops at camps in and around Frome throughout the war. Those same members, together with returning servicemen & women, re-started FAOS in 1947 with Belle of New York. They continued to produce a musical each spring.
In 1967 FAOS formed “The Opera Group” and their concerts became part of the Society’s annual calendar. Their first concert was Carmen. In the early years, high opera like Aida was performed and often professionals were hired to lead their performances. The Opera Group has evolved and changing its name to “Showstoppers” in 2009 now sings selections from popular operetta and musicals.
In 1979 a third production ‘pantomime’ was introduced to the annual calendar, the first one being Jack and the Beanstalk. Since then FAOS has performed a traditional pantomime each December, they have become hugely popular attracting sell-out audiences.
1989 brought the introduction of a youth group. “Spellbound” was conceived to enable children aged 8 to 16 experience being in a full scale theatre production. Their first show was Godspell and was performed in Frome’s Merlin Theatre. Spellbound subsequently continued to perform in the Memorial Theatre.
The Society decided to create a further group to perform more contemporary musicals and encourage another generation of performers. Its first performance, in 2008, was Little Shop of Horrors. The Autumn Show continued until 2014, although artistically a huge success, financially it was not sustainable.
In 2006, the Frome Amateur Operatic Society celebrated its centenary. There were celebratory events during that year and the Society published a book “Something to Make a Song and Dance About”, authored by Society President, Bob Stannard.
The latest chapter in this proud history was the change of name to the Frome Musical Theatre Company in 2013, to continue the pursuit of excellence in the performance of musical theatre for the enjoyment of Frome audiences and satisfaction of the dedicated, enthusiastic and talented group members.
You can find a list of past shows here and view some of the images by visiting our past shows page here. We are enormously proud of our history and look forward to entertaining audiences from Frome and beyond for years to come.