Where it all began

St Paul's (Astley Bridge)AOS began in a modest way when a number of members of the 'Musical and Dramatic Society' (established just after WORLD WAR ONE) became dissatisfied with their existing group as it began to produce only straight plays.

In 1930 John Leyland produced the pantomime 'Robinson Crusoe'. It was staged for two performances as were the following shows in the succeeding years: 'Dick Whittington', 'Cinderella' and 'Queen of Hearts'.

The total income for a show in those days never exceeded £48.00 and out of that the society had to pay fees, royalties, script charges, costume hire, scenery and stage costs etc.

After 'Queen of Hearts' our bank balance was at £3.00 - a handsome sum when you think about the fact that tickets cost 1/6d (7.5 new pence)!

The 1934/35 season saw St Paul's deliver its first true musical: 'A Country Girl'.

During the next few years, ticket sales increased in leaps and bounds and pasties and tea began to be served in the intervals for 6d!

In the early days, names associated with the society were: John Leyland, Harry Leyland, Norman Duckworth, Elsie Dakin, Molly Ashley, Jean Pearce, Marjorie Jones, Alf Ashley, Teddy Pearce, Harry Bent, Harry Winward and Mona Kay.

Jean Pearce directed many post-world war two shows until 1973 and was often helped by MD Jim Cannon.

Between 1973-present there have been many directors and MDs for the shows of St. Paul's AOS and we continue to thrive. Directors have included: Mike Rodgers, Steve Eckersley, Louise Cohen, Paul Cohen and Eileen Powell. MDs have included: Rev. Peter Barnett, Nicola Worral, Lesley Hampson and Catherine Hilton.

In 1999, St Paul's began putting on straight plays as well as musicals.

Chairs of St Paul's AOS
1934-1940: Norman Duckworth
1947-1968: Alf Ashley
1968-1990: Jean Pearce

1990-2010: Michael Rodgers                                                                  2010-2012: Stephen Brennan                                                            2012-2013: Leonard Powell                                                                  2013-2022: Stephen Brennan
2022-Present: Paul Cohen

In 2012 the society took the decision to change the constitution to include drama so we are now known as St Paul's AODS.

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