About Us

The Urmston Musical Theatre was formed on the 1st March 1911 as the Urmston and District Operatic Society. In 1947, the name was changed to the Urmston Amateur Operatic Society which remained until it assumed the current name in 1997. Among its founder members were Fred Millington, Tom Teare, Fred Clark and Arthur Dyson. The first production, ‘H.M.S. Pinafore’ was in January 1912 at the Urmston Public Hall and the annual subscription was 7s 6d (37 1/2 pence).

Two years later came World War One and with it the impossibility of carrying on with regular productions. Whilst many members fought for their country, others helped the staffing and maintenance of the B.R.C.S. Wibbersley Auxiliary Hospital. Over £2000 (a great deal of money in those days) was raised by Concerts, Carnivals, Fetes, Garden Parties etc. In 1919 following the end of the war the Society resumed its normal productions starting once again with ‘H.M.S. Pinafore’.

Unfortunately by 1930, due to a series of losses, the Society was in serious financial trouble with only £3 left in its account. A strong move was made to close down, but members Doris Teare and Sidney Axon spoke up and won the case to continue. Members Maurice Herd, Tim Healey and Fred Colbourn produced several shows without fee. Successful efforts were also made to encourage younger people to join.

Several well-known personalities have been connected with the society, notably the current President, Matthew Kelly who appeared in the society’s 1963 production of The King and I along with Peter Pennington, who became a featured soloist with the Black and White Minstrels. Others include Brian Trueman who appeared in the group’s production of Merrie England in 1951,the late Lord Winstanley and Winston Churchill MP,grandson of the wartime leader and son of Randolph Churchill MBE.

The Urmston Amateur Operatic Society circa 1911

In 1958, 1959 and 1960, the society won the Manchester Evening News Prompter’s Palm award for their productions of CarouselOklahoma!and Magyar Melody respectively. The society has also been nominated in the Manchester Musical Awards on a number of occasions for both overall and individual performances. In 1995, they won the “Best Musical” award for their production of Camelot.

My Fair Lady Programme Cover 2009

Junior members aged between 8 years and 18 years, in addition to being involved in some of the main shows and pantomimes, have presented a variety of musicals in their own right since 1993 including The Wizard of Oz, Bugsy MaloneAndy Capp, Copperfield, and Dazzle.In the early 1930s, the theatre almost closed when reserves fell to £3, but for the enthusiasm and dedication of its members and patrons.

To become a member you must pass a singing audition which is normally held within the first few rehearsals that you attend. There is a membership fee and also a show fee to off-set the cost of room hire, costumes and insurances. We rehearse at the Urmston Cricket Club on Moorside Road, Urmston. Chorus rehearsals are mainly Mondays with Principal rehearsals on Wednesdays. As the show gets closer then the rehearsals are combined and a few Sundays thrown in as well.

Buttons and Cinderella 2009 Panto

We perform a main show in October, a pantomime in February, both at the Poolside Theatre inside Urmston Leisure Centre and we have a kid’s show which is performed in May or June at St Antony’s Catholic College, Bradfield Road, Urmston. There is also information posted on our main website at http://www.umt.org.uk or we can be emailed at secretary@umt.org.uk.


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