©Copyright Downfield Musical Society 2015  DMS 2015 (c)

© Downfield MusicalSociety 2007

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The 1960's DMS present many favourite shows of the day and for the two years  of 1964 and 1965 the Society performed 3 shows each year  with the  summer shows of “The Boy Friend” and “Free as Air” but reverted to two shows each year for the remainder of the 60's


Pantomime became a regular annual show and started to become a main fundraiser for DMS, The panto’s had moved to the 1250 seat Palace Theatre and enjoyed tremendous business, but in 1963 the future of the Palace Theatre was in doubt and they had to move back to the YMCA. That presented a significant challenge as the stage size of the YMCA was substantially smaller that the Palace. In these days sets were hired and were built to fit large theatres,  so that  the sets for the 1963 panto “Babes in the Wood” were built by the Producer and his wife maybe the start of set building which DMS still do today.


Also 1963 saw the first tour of a DMS show when they took the Panto (for a one night stand) to the Village Hall in St Monance in the East Neuk of Fife an event that the late Magnus Magnusson wrote about in the Scotsman


So as the 60’s moved on DMS’s reputation went from strength to strength and the Society continued to attract wonderful reviews from the local press.

With shows like  “No, No Nanette “Naughty Marietta” “The Merry Widow” “Love from Judy” “The New Moon” “The King and I” “The White Horse Inn” “Annie Get Your Gun” “Bless the Bride” and  “Kismet” ticket sales were booming


In 1969, The Palace Theatre, which changed its name to The Theatre Royal in the Mid 60's closed, and the former State Cinema formerly known as the Alhambra Theatre (originally opened in 1928)  in Bellfield Street, Dundee, was re-opened by the City Council as the Whitehall Theatre and became a new civic theatre.  DMS's first show in the new venue was their 1969 pantomime “Puss in Boots” and the Whitehall has been their main venue ever since.


The 60’s were also the years when DMS Members appeared who would later appear in the West end and on TV

In “The King and I” (1965)  Prince Chulalongkorn was played by Hilton McRae. Hilton stayed with DMS until 1968 appearing in 8 shows including panto. He later moved on to playing such major parts as the Engineer in “Miss Saigon” on the stage of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane,  London  he also starred in the film “The French Lieutenant's Woman” and more recently in “The Execution of Gary Glitter” and on TV in Lewis and  Silent Witness.


Also in “Annie Get Your Gun”, Annie Oakley was played by Jill Keith who later became Jill Gascoine. Jill’s first appearance for DMS was the previous year as Dandini in “Cinderella”. Jill went on to play Detective Inspector Maggie Forbes in the 1980s television series The Gentle Touch and its spin-off series C.A.T.S. Eyes. In the 1990s, she also became a novelist and has published three books. She has made many stage appearances in the UK and her now home town of LA and she too played Drury Lane in “42nd Street” in 1988.

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Dougie Cunningham as the Dame in Mother Goose 1960

The Company in "No No Nanette" in the Palace Theatre in  1960

The Palace Theatre Dundee

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(Above) Roger Buist (Left) Douggie Cunningham as Captain Dick Warrington and the company in "Naughty Marietta" in 1961

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(Left and Below) The Company  and  (Right) Enid High as Anna  in "The Merry Widow" in 1962

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(Below) Norma Hoskins as Judy and Roger Buist as Jimmy McBride in "Love From Judy" in 1963

Norma Hoskins as Judy on top of the town before opening in "Love From Judy" in 1963

The Company  in "Love From Judy" in 1963

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The Company  in "The New Moon" in the Palace Theatre in 1964

The Company  in "The New Moon" in the Palace Theatre in 1964

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(Above) George Duffus in a promotional Photo for " The Boyfriend" in  1964 (Below) more promo photos in the City Square Dundee

(Above) Roger Buist Bill Craik and harry Devime in the  "The Boyfriend" in  1964