©Copyright Downfield Musical Society 2015  DMS 2015 (c)

© Downfield MusicalSociety 2007

90 YEARS BANNER 1956 1 bless the bride2 1955 1 land of smiles stage f4dd4j4 1956 1 bless the bride3 1956 1 bless the bridec7 1956 1 bless the bride11 1959 2 2 cvindereall ion palace dug 1 1959 1 3showboat showboat principals on stage lo 1959 1 3showboat1951111 1959 1 1showboatB&W1

SEE PHOTOGRAPHS BELOW

 

1950 saw the return of DMS shows in the city with a revival of “The Quaker Girl” on a new stage in the Training College, Park Place Dundee. DMS performed for four years in the college but as the Society grew it became evident that the venue was just not big enough for the productions that DMS wanted to produce so it was decided that they should move to a bigger hall.

 

The Palace Theatre in Dundee at that time was a full time variety show venue and they were not prepared to allow Amateur Clubs to use it; there was also the Kings Theatre but the rental cost was prohibitive so… there was only one bigger alternative; the largest hall in the city; the 2150 seated Caird Hall. In 1954 and 1955 DMS presented “The New Moon “ and “ The Land of Smiles” in a custom built (by DMS volunteers) theatre within the hall including a stage extension; a false ceiling; a temporary proscenium;  and a large dividing curtain to create an auditorium for 800 people. It took the volunteers 3 nights and 3 days, but it was ready for the Sunday dress rehearsal. So in fact DMS were probably the first to build a theatre within this vast arena, and it was a great success. At that time it was hoped that their efforts would have persuaded the City Council to see the opportunities of adapting the Caird hall for large scale theatrical productions but at that time they didn’t (60 years later a similar stage is being built for shows like “Blood Brothers” “Buddy” etc... It just takes time!!!)

 

In 1955 the curse of “The Land of Smiles” hit DMS when President William Dickson collapsed and died on stage whilst making the final night speech.

 

Whilst the Caird Hall adventure was a great success the work involved in creating the stage for a week’s run was just too much for a third year and DMS reverted to the Training College for their 1956 production of “Bless the bride” and “Waltz Time” in 1957.

 

1956 also saw the Society’s first review show “Moon and Stars”  in the old YMCA in Dundee’s Constitution Street and this a was the precursor to DMS’s first Pantomime in 1958

 

In 1958 the Palace Theatre revised its rules on amateur usage and DMS moved there with “White Horse Inn” It was the start of a long connection with this theatre, which had a capacity of 1250 seats and was a joy to perform in.

 

After the first panto in the YMCA in ’58, pantomime productions were also transferred to the Palace. The two (at least) shows per year format had started!

 

The 50’s was a fabulous decade for DMS

1959 1 1showboat showboat ladies on stage lo 1959 1 1showboat showboat ladies on stage loh 1959 1 1showboat1959-1 men d3 1959 1 3showboat1959-1 principals d3 1959 1 4showboat0 showboat outside the palace f1 1959 2 1cinders ymca group j1 1959 1 3showboat showboat principals on stage lop 1959 2 2cinders 59 dug 2

Dougie Cunningham and Robert Chaplain as the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella 1959

Male chorus group of Cinderella 1959

Kinnear Baxter and Pat Mathew as Gaylord Ravenala  as Magnolia Hawkes in "Showboat" 1959

Bill Forrester as Captain Andy Hawkes in "Showboat" 1959

Cast groups in "Showboat" 1959

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Downfield's very first Pantomime "Aladdin"  in the YMCA Dundee in 1958 the forerunner of over 50 years of panto's

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Shiela Thomson as Cenci and James Simpson as Stefan in Waltz Time in 1957

1956 3 mmoon starep with kilts cc 60s 1956 3 moon stars 5 1956 3 moon stars2

(Above, left and below) Chorus groups of the forerunner to the DMS Panto in "Moon and Stars" 1956

1956 1 bless the bride4n bless bride 1956 1 bless the brideic1

Chorus groups  and (right) Gordon Angus as Augustus Willow from Bless the Bride in 1956

1953 1  a country girl group1 1952 1arcadians ss3

Principal group from the Arcadians in 1952

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The Training College, Park Place, Dundee, production venue for shows from 1950 to 1953

On stage on the Caird Hall Dundee with "The Land of Smiles" 1955

The ladies of the chorus of "A Country Girl" in the Training Collage 1953

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The Caird Hall, Dundee, where "The New Moon" and "The Land of Smiles " were presented in 1954 and 1955

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The Palace Theatre, Dundee  where DMS started presenting shows in 1958 with "White Horse Inn"

The YMCA in Dundee where Downfield presented "Moon and Stars" and their first Pantomime "Aladdin" in 1958