Napier Operatic Society

Napier Operatic Society (often abbreviated as NOS) is an amateur theatre society based in Napier, New Zealand. Established in 1887,[2] Napier Operatic Society is the second oldest-existing theatrical society in New Zealand,[3][4][5] and is nationally renowned for its critically acclaimed professional-quality productions.[6][7][8]

Napier Operatic Society
Napier Operatic Society Logo.png
The Tabard Theatre at Night.JPG
The Tabard Theatre at night.
Legal statusIncorporated Society[1]
  • Napier, New Zealand
Hawkes Bay
Peter Cox O.B.E.
Ali Oldershaw

The society is based at The Tabard Theatre, which underwent extensive renovations completed in April 1994 – an extended rehearsal room, wardrobe hire, workshop, and restaurant-theatre complex were completed during the 5-year project.[9] The Napier Operatic Society produces multiple productions a year, and has done a major stage-show every year since 1887, with the exception of several years throughout the 20th century during overseas conflict and the aftermath of natural disaster.


The earliest known theatre company in Napier was the Napier Theatre Co., which in 1883, along with the Napier Musical Society and the Napier Amateur Drama Club combined to create the Theatre Royal. The Theatre Royal made its debut with the musical Trial by Jury, and out of this the Napier Operatic Society was born.

Most of the early productions were Gilbert and Sullivan plays, with the first production at the new Napier Municipal Theatre being A Greek Slave in 1912. The 1800 capacity of the Napier Municipal Theatre was noted to have been "frequently taxed to the uttermost", especially by people who drive in from the country areas.[10] Due to the onset of World War I, The Blue Moon was the last production by Napier Operatic Society until 1921.

Beauty and the Beast, 2007. Photo by Clive Ralph

The 1931 Napier earthquake caused significant damage to the Napier Municipal Theatre, contributing to Napier Operatic's hiatus until 1937. A Special General Meeting was held on 14 October 1937 where it was unanimously decided to revive the society. The first production in over 7 years, Rio Rita, was performed at the newly built Napier Municipal Theatre. Since then, with the exception of during World War II until 1953, there has been at least one production put on by Napier Operatic Society every year.

Mamma Mia!, 2014.

Napier Operatic Society has staged many hit musicals in recent years, including Les Misérables, 42nd Street, Chicago, Cats, Beauty and the Beast, Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia!,[11] and Evita.[12] Napier Operatic Society have since begun staging larger productions that typically would be seen at the Napier Municipal Theatre at the Tabard Theatre, such as Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Blood Brothers.[13]

Blood Brothers, 2017. Photo by Paul Taylor

Productions: 1887 - Present DayEdit

1887 The Sorcerer 1888 No production. 1889 The Mikado
1890 Rip Van Winkle
1891 The Mikado
Madame Favart
1892 No production. 1893 Rip Van Winkle
Les Cloches de Cornville
1894-1907 No productions.
1908 The Gondoliers 1909 The Mikado 1910 The Geisha 1911 The Runaway Girl
1912 A Greek Slave 1913 Toreador 1914 Miss Hook of Holland 1915 The Blue Moon
1916-1920 No productions. 1921 The Geisha 1922 No production. 1923 A Country Girl
1924 Florodora 1925-1927 No productions. 1928 The Arcadians 1929 The Sunshine Girl
1930 Our Miss Gibbs 1931-1937 No productions. 1938 Rio Rita 1939 The Belle of New York
1940 Boots and All 1941-1953 No productions. 1954 Chu Chin Chow 1955 Desert Song
1956 The New Moon 1957 Oklahoma! 1958 Love from Judy 1959 The Vegabond King
1960 White Horse Inn 1961 Kismet 1962 The Music Man 1963 Where's Charley
The Merry Widow
1964 The Maid of the Mountains 1965 Annie Get Your Gun 1966 Amahal and the Night Visitors 1967 Little Mary Sunshine
1968 The Sound of Music 1969 Camelot 1970 Pink Champagne 1971 South Pacific
1972 Oliver! 1973 Fiddler on the Roof 1974 My Fair Lady 1975 Man of La Mancha
1976 Pirates of Penzance
Music Hall
1977 Oops Titipu
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
1978 Oh, What a Lovely War! 1979 The Great Waltz
1980 Jesus Christ Superstar 1981 HMS Pinafore
Hans Christian Andersen
1982 Cabaret
1983 Annie
1984 Man of La Mancha 1985 The Gingerbread Man
1986 Mack and Mabel 1987 The Sorcerer
1988 Oliver!
An Evening with Gershwin
1989 Grease 1990 The Fantastiks
1991 Tom Jones
Me and My Girl
1992 Jerome Kern
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
1993 Nunsense
West Side Story
A Place on Earth
1994 Canterbury Tales
1995 Les Misérables
A Slice of Saturday Night
1996 Stepping Out
Love off the Shelf
1997 42nd Street 1998 The Pirates of Penzance
Dirty Weekends
1999 The Mikado
Jesus Christ Superstar
2000 HMS Pinafore
West End to Broadway
2001 Sweeny Todd
Return to the Forbidden Planet
Moby Dick
2002 Blood Brothers
Les Misérables
Some Enchanted Evening
2003 Buddy
Little Shop of Horrors
2004 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
The Odd Couple
2005 My Fair Lady
The Full Monty
2006 The Threepenny Opera
The Boy Friend
Back to the 80's
2007 Beauty and the Beast
2008 The Producers
Thoroughly Modern Millie
2009 Dinner with the Duke
If You're Irish
An ANZAC Tribute
Miss Saigon
2010 The Wedding Singer
Bad Girls
2011 42nd Street
2012 Spamalot
2013 Hairspray[14]
The Phantom of the Opera
2014 Young Frankenstein
Mamma Mia!
2015 Evita
The Addams Family
Forbidden Broadway
2016 Jesus Christ Superstar
2017 Mary Poppins[15]
Blood Brothers
A Great Face for Radio

Theatre School Productions: 2000 - Present DayEdit

2000 Establishment of Theatre School. 2001 Little Red Rockin' Hood 2002 The Halfmen of O 2003 Peter Pan - The Crock Rock Musical
2004 The Snow Queen 2005 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat 2006 The Wonderful Wiz of Oz 2007 Aladdin Jr.
2008 Mulan Jr. 2009 Puss'n'Kiwiboots 2010 A Midsummer Night's Dream 2011 High School Musical Jr.
Cinders in the 60's
2012 No production. 2013 Bugsy Malone 2014 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat 2015 The Wizard of Oz
2016 Annie Jr. 2017 Beauty and the Beast Jr.

Society Presidents: 1890 - Present DayEdit

1890 J. D. Ormand 1893 J. W. Carlile 1910 W. Simm 1924-1929 Dr. R. I. Sutton 1930-1938 J. W. Cargill
1939-1954 J. Harris 1955 K. Douglas 1956 A. E. Herniman 1957-1958 J. S. Henney 1959-1961 E. A. G. Collier
1962-1966 P. Cox 1967 R. A. Clement 1968-1970 W. Tolhurst 1971 H. N. Unsworth 1972-1973 J. Collier
1974 H. Unsworth 1975-1983 W. O. Beckett 1984-1987 Mr. F.T. Twyford 1988-1991 Mr. P. F. Shepherd 1992-1995 Mr. J. A. Briggs
1996-1999 Mr. N.L. Page 2000-2005 Mrs. L.F. Reid 2006-2009 Mrs. L.D. Reid 2010-2012 Mrs. S.R. Pardoe 2012-2016 Mr. M. Collier
2017-2018 Mrs. T. Brown 2019- Mrs. A. Oldershaw

Honorary Life MembersEdit

Mr. C.W. White* Mr. P. Sorrell* Mrs. M. Sorrell* Mr. E.C. Collier*
Mrs. H. Collier* Mr. R.B. Wright* Mrs. W. Quarry* Mr. R. Houston*
Mr. J. Collier* Mr. C. Pritchard* Mrs. D. Unsworth Mr. A. Jones
Mr. D. Hurley Mr. F. Twyford Mr. B. Browne Mrs. L. Browne
Mrs. R. van de Ven* Mr. L. Robertson Mr. C. Allen Mr. B. Nathan
Mr. I. Reid Mr. P. Shepherd Mr. G. Ace* Mr. J. Briggs
Miss G. Davies QSM Mrs. L. Reefman Mr. P. Eade Mr. J. Matthews
Mr. J. Morgan Mrs. L. Reid Mrs. L. Jones Mrs. A. L. Davies

"*" denotes deceased


  1. ^ "Certificate of Incorporation".
  2. ^ "Campaign: Clive Ralph – Napier Operatic Society". Archived from the original on 9 July 2014.
  3. ^ "Amateur Theatre and Operatic Societies".
  4. ^ "Blenheim Musical Theatre - History".
  5. ^ "Hamilton Operatic".
  6. ^ "Beauty & a Feast for the Eyes" (PDF).
  7. ^ "Phantom casts spell over audiences".
  8. ^ "Operatic Society celebrates a century of performances at the Napier Municipal Theatre". Australasian Leisure.
  9. ^ Briggs, John. "Briggs Builders".
  10. ^ Wakely, Helen (1987). A Century of Shows. Dannevirke Publishing Co. Ltd. p. 20.
  11. ^ "Mamma Mia! Next for New Zealand Consortium". Stage Whispers.
  12. ^ "Napier Operatic Society Twitter".
  13. ^ "Blood Brothers comes to stage in Bay". Press Reader. Napier Mail. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Napier Operatic Society Photo Exhibition". Event Finder.
  15. ^ "Mary Poppins New Zealand Consortium".

External linksEdit