Port Elizabeth Musical and Dramatic Society

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Port Elizabeth Musical and Dramatic Society or PEMADS

The Port Elizabeth Musical and Dramatic Society was founded in the basement of the Port Elizabeth City Hall in October 1945, when a group of musical theatre enthusiasts decided to present shows away from the Savoy operettas. The name quickly became abbreviated to PEMADS and has been known as such ever since.

In April 1946: PEMADS produced their first play, Peter Blackmore’s The Blue Goose directed by Eve Martin, in the Port Elizabeth City Hall. This was followed by the first musical, The Quaker Girl, directed by Daphne Mann.

By 1970 the Society had more than 3000 members. ***

In 2015 Rose Cowpar, President of the Port Elizabeth Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and Yolande Farrow, newly-elected Chairperson of PEMADS, initiated a closer relationship between the two societies, including joint projects.

PEMADS and the Salters' Cup

From 1957 it hosted the Salters' Cup One-Act Play Festival which celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 1987. The cup itself was awarded for best director and the specific aim of the competition was to encourage new directors., although later acting awards were also introduced. To maintain high standards of productions the awards were not issued during some festivals.

PEMADS Little Theatre

The Little Theatre was originally known as the Loubser Hall and formed part of the Athenaeum Club.

It was owned by the Port Elizabeth Municipality.

Harold Davidson was instrumental in obtaining the use of this hall for rehearsal purposes. After PEMADS members and directors got used to their new home, productions began.

Conditions were primitive. Back-stage storage space was non-existent, lighting was barely adequate, and if you had a large cast, conditions became chaotic.

After the facilities were improved the new dressing rooms were considered "no fun" as the team feeling of doing all that costume changing with just a sheet on a line separating the boys from the girls, was gone.

Also referred to as the Pemads Little Theatre, after the Port Elizabeth Musical and Dramatic Society (PEMADS), the society that built and owns it.

Contains the Noel Morgan Auditorium.

Among the other local groups using it are the Port Elizabeth Afrikaanse Amateur Toneelvereniging (PEAAT).


Gosher, 1988 [JH]

Bob Eveleigh, 2015, "Closer ties for PE theatre societies" ArtsLink, 08/20/2015 08:49:41

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