© Downfield MusicalSociety 2007
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The turn of the century arrived and Society productions increased to four shows per year for most of the decade of the Naughties. DMS also played in five venues in this period which were, The Whitehall Theatre, The Gardyne Theatre, The Caird Hall, The Theatre Royal Waterford, and the Starlight Showroom in Guthrie Street, Dundee.
It was an era of Rogers and Hammerstein shows with “South Pacific” and “Oklahoma” being firsts for the Society, and return productions of “Carousel” and “The King and I”
There was also a re-run of “Jesus Christ Superstar” previously produced in 1984 and once again a tremendous winner with the public, so much so that it was repeated again the following October
There were also another bunch of premiers for the city in “Scrooge - The Musical”, “Hot Mikado” and “Jekyll and Hyde - The Musical” and in 2002 another “Showtime” was presented
2003 was DMS’s 75th anniversary and they celebrated this milestone with a one night Showtime type performance in the Caird Hall, Dundee which they called “Made for Music”. It turned out to be the largest audience, for a single performance, that the Society had achieved to date, with 1757 people filling the venue for the celebration.
To recognise Downfield’s 75 years, Lord Provost John Letford hosted a civic reception in the City Chambers for the members of the Society. I real honour. Celebrations for the 75th also included a Grand Ball in the Invercarse Hotel where invited guests including Dundee Lord Provost and NODA officials enjoyed the sound of a big band and a spectacular firework display.
There were several autumn or summer shows and with the opening of DMS’s own theatrical space in their clubrooms which they named as the Starlight Showroom in 2009 the opportunities to present smaller more intimate shows became apparent.
But in the early part of the decade “The Boy Friend” and “Side By Side By Sondheim” were presented in the Gardyne Theatre, the former by the youth of the Society….. and the latter not!! “Oliver” and “Summer Holiday” were presented in the Whitehall Theatre with “Oliver” playing to an almost 100% attendance.
Downfield has never been afraid of taking a risk by presenting something entirely different and when “Batboy the Musical” became available for amateurs straight from the Shaftesbury Theatre in the London’s West end they grabbed the chance.
It was another production that they transported across the Irish Sea to Waterford and where another award was achieved when they winning the best stage direction by Craig Shearer
An even greater risk was taken when “The Full Monty” was chosen as the autumn show of 2008. It was a massive hit, with an entirely different audience than what was unusual at a DMS show, and once again due to the massive success of the production, the Society repeated it in January the following year.
The inaugural production in the Starlight Showroom was the Broadway hit and another premier for Dundee of “Smokey Joe's Café”. Patrons and cast were delighted with the new venue. It was quickly followed by a DMS favourite when the youth section once again presented “Godspell”
In 2002 Downfield decided to “cut their own album”. It was a great experience and a large number of members took part. Studios and a record producer were booked and the resulting CD called “Made for Music” hit the record shops in 2003 and was on sale at the Caird Hall celebration. It didn’t make top of the pops, but it is a great piece of history for the club and yet another special opportunity for Society members and followers to experience and enjoy
In 2004, and for the third time, DMS were invited to present the Midnight Cabaret at the National Operatic and Dramatic Association’s Scottish Conference at Peebles Hotel Hydro.
Also in 2004 the Society’s Honorary President, Norman Robertson, was announced as Dundee’s Citizen of the Year and In 2006 he was awarded the OBE by the Queen at Holyrood House in Edinburgh.
2006 saw their 21st year in the Guthrie Street premises with a party where Margaret Davidson, DMS’s cleaner for all of these years, was made a patron of the Society.
In 2008 the society returned to the Caird Hall to celebrate their 80th Birthday with a show called “Happy Birthday Downfield”, this time for two performances and in the same year Downfield were once again honoured at a civic reception once again in the city Chambers to recognise their contribution to entertainment the City of Dundee
Many cabarets were presented in this decade including the usual visits to Peebles and also the wonderful St Andrews Bay Hotel in Fife, with several Tayside hotels including, The Hilton Hotel, The Invercarse Hotel, and The Apex Hotel, and also The MacDonald Hotel in Edinburgh
The starlight showroom opened in 2009. The decision to refurbish the premises to house a small intimate theatrical space came from the need to find a venue to present musicals and plays that could not be financially viable in other venues in the city or would be more suitable for smaller audiences. Designs were submitted and approved and work was completed in a very short time, and resulted in a venue that can hold around 175 depending upon the stage or auditorium layout which can be varied. Other groups can, and have been using the “Starlight” and feedback has been tremendous. Since it opened there have been around ten productions and the excellent reputation is building. The society looks forward to many more successful productions in the Starlight Showroom
(Above Left) Ewan Campbell as Herod with his followers (Above) The Crucifixion (Above Right) Alex Watt as Jesus with Soldiers Craig Simpson and Craig Shearer in the repeat of "Jesus Christ Superstar" in 2003
(Above Left) Ewan McDyer as Benny Bampot with the company (Left) Marlowe Simpson as Dick Whittington with Cara McDyer as Tommy The Cat (Above) Marcus Wylie as Alderman Fitzwarren in "Dick Whittington" kin 2003
(Above Left) Graeme Neil Smith as Mr Bumble with Drew Fox as Oliver (Above Right) Sinclair Ross as fagin with his gang (Below Left) Marie McGarrell as Bet and Errol Farnan (Bottom Right) Chris Wylies as Bill Sykes in "Oliver" in 2004
(Above) Lynn MacFarlane as Bloody Mary and the Sailors (Right) Carol Knight as Ensign Nellie Forbush and Ewan McDyer as Emile De Becque. (Below Right) Marcus Wylie as Lieutenant Joseph Cable and Marlowe Simpson as Liat in "South Pacific" in 2004
(Above Left) Roger Buist as with Jen Shearer as Priscilla the Goose (Above) Danny Adams as Ivor Lottacash , Ewan McDyer as Eggie and Gillian Brown as Jessie. (Left) Graeme Neil Smith as Fairy Tinklebell, Alexandra Handy-Ferrie, Alison Wylie as Jennie, and Marlowe Simpson as Jamie in Mother Goose in 2004
(Above Top ) Danny Adams as Don (Above) The Summer holiday Principals (Left) Lynsay Morrison as Mimsie Elaine Thomson as Angie, and Alison Wylie as Alma in "Summer Holiday" in 2004
(Above Left) Alex Watt as Curly Marlowe Simpson as Laurey (Above) Lynn MacFarlane as Aunt Eller (Left) Poor Jud (Chris Wylie) is dead in "Oklahoma" in 2005
(Left) Roger Buist as Dandelion and Ewan Campbewll as Daisee (Above) Merlowe Simpson as Prince Charming and Jen Shearer as Dandini in "Cinderella" in 2005
(Above Far Top) Graeme Neil Smith as Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde (Above Top) Chris Wylie as the Newsreader with the company (Right) Graeme Neil Smith as Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde withj Laura Ferrie as Lucy Harris (Above) Melanie Doig as Emma Carew in Jekyll and Hyde - The Musical in 1986
(Left) Alex Watt as Batboy in "Batboy the Musical" in 2006
(Left) Alex Watt as Batboy in "Batboy and Gillian Brown as Meredith Parker in "Batboy the Musical" in 2006
(Left) Brian Lynch as Ron Taylor, Chris Wylie as Mrs Taylor, Ewan McDyer as Dr. Thomas Parker, trying to "revive" Marcus Wylie as Rick Taylor in "Batboy the Musical" in 2006
(Left) Ewan Campbell as Widow Twankie in "Aladdin" 2006
(Above ) Marlowe Simpson as Aladdin, Alexandra Handy-Ferrie as Princess Pritilee, Marley Laurie as Fiery Fred, Ewan McDyer as Wishee Washee in "Aladdin" in 2006