Johannesburg Operatic and Dramatic Society

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Popularly used acronym is JODS. It also advertised under this acronym for the hiring out of costumes, drapes, props, scores and scripts and rehearsal studios, also after its demise as a society.



Founded in 1919, this society specialised mostly in musical theatre, but also presented dramas during the Second World War. *** It frequently appeared in the Johannesburg Civic Theatre/Playhouse (* “Johannesburgse Stadsskouburg” – trans. ?*) Their productions included Rose-Marie (Standard Theatre, 1939), Monsieur Beaucaire (1940), The Gondoliers (1940), The Pirates of Penzance (1940), Lilac Domino (1941), Ruddigore (1941), an exotic production of Chu Cin Chow (Empire Theatre, 1942), Bitter Sweet (Technical College Hall, 1950).. Later owned its own theatre in ** , the ***, which was sold to Pieter Toerien in 19**. Johannesburg Operatic and Dramatic Society (JODS): Performed Rose Marie by **** at the Standard Theatre 1939. Also: Monsieur Beaucaire 1939. The Gondoliers by Gilbert and Sullivan in 1940. The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan. Performed in 1940. Lilac Domino by ****. Operette performed in 1941. Ruddigore by ****. Operette performed in 1941. Chu Chin Chow by **** , a musical performed in 1942 at the Empire Theatre. JODS produced The Count of Luxembourg and Little Nellie Kelly in 1948. It was staged at the Technical College Hall in Eloff Street which was a inadequate venue. They staged Lilac Domino and Noël Coward’s Bitter Sweet at the Technical College Hall in 1950. Presented a revival of Romberg’s The Desert Song at the Reps in 1952. They produced Johann Strauss’ The Gypsy Baron, starring Rita Roseman and Sergio Galli in 1953. Pat Bray was the secretary of JODS circa 1960. Anthony Farmer directed Ivor Novello’s The Dancing Years and Naughty Marietta for the JODS in 1961. They staged Frank Loesser’s Broadway musical The Most Happy Fella which Anthony Farmer directed and designed décor and costumes for was staged at the Civic Theatre in 1962. It starred Edwin Steffe. They staged Show Boat, starring New Zealand baritone Inia te Wiata, Ronnie Shelton, Marie Van Zyl, Olive King, Shirley Arden and the Capedium Choir at the Civic Theatre in 1963. Anthony Farmer directed and did the designed for the production which, due to popular demand, played at the Civic again in 1964, and JODS took it to African Theatre’s Cape Town venue, the Alhambra, where the Eoan group replaced the Capedium Choir. Ricky Arden directed Little Mary Sunshine at the Alexander for JODS circa 1965. They staged Frank Loesser’s musical Guys and Dolls which was based on the writings of Damon Runyon at the Civic in 1965. Anthony Farmer directed and did the design for this musical which starred Diane Todd, Michael McGovern, Charles Stodel, Patricia Langford and Bradley Harris. It returned for another sell out season at the Civic the following year. Pat Bray and Tom Arnold secured the rights to Around the World in 80 Days for JODS in 1966. Anthony Farmer staged the production at the Civic, with choreography by Wendy de la Harpe and music conducted by Bob Adams. Aubrey Louw assisted this show starring John Boulter and English actor Jack Tripp. They staged Cole Porter’s musical Kiss Me, Kate at the Civic in March/April of 1967. They staged Man of La Mancha, which Geoffrey Sutherland directed and choreographed, 1967. They staged Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel in 1967. The JODS production of South Pacific at the Civic was staged by Brickhill-Burke in 1969. There were designs by Keith Anderson and it starred Inia te Wiata, June Hern, Jean Dell and James White. They staged Canterbury Tales at the Civic Theatre, directed by Geoffrey Sutherland in 1970. They staged Applause, starring Janis Paige and Gay Lambert, at the Civic in 1971. Anthony Farmer designed the set, Otto Pirchner directed, and choreography was taken over from Geoffrey Sutherland by Wendy de la Harpe after dissatisfaction from the director. This proved to be their last production at the Civic. They now owned the Alhambra Theatre and opened it on 17 April 1977 with A Night to Remember, directed by Anthony Farmer. They staged New Faces of 1978, directed by Anthony Farmer with choreography by Wendy de la Harpe at the Alhambra in 1978. They also staged an unsuccessful production of George and Ira Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess, directed by Taubie Kushlick and starring Ben Masinga and Betty Mthombeni at the Alhambra in November 1978. It re-opened, just to close again by the end of January 1979 and so saw the end of sixty years of JODS productions **** (See ***, ) [TH, JH] Also served as Hiring company for costumes, drapes, props, scores and scripts and rehearsal studios. Something they continued after selling the Alhambra to Pieter Toerien?* Johannesburg.


Du Toit, 1988; Tucker, 1997; SACD 1974

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