It was in 1964 that George Sheppard said to his wife Dorothy, “What this town needs is a Gilbert and Sullivan Society”. This bold statement led to the first COS production HMS Pinafore in the Shelly School in April 1965.
COS, which became CODS in 1972, has produced a Musical every year since that 1965 production. Transforming a large and fairly unprepossessing school hall into a theatre has become an annual ‘art form’.
Most of our shows have been in the traditional proscenium arch/stage format, but since 1999 many productions have been performed ‘in the round’ which, as well as presenting some technical challenges, has given a fresh look to our staging and to the performances.
During those years cost have risen from under £200 for the first HMS Pinafore to an average of £16,000 to £18,000 for our current productions. The shows illustrated on this page are, HMS Pinafore 1965 which cost less than £200, The Grand Duchess 1982 produced for £2900, La Belle Helene £4750, Jesus Christ Superstar £19,000 in 2010 and Oliver 2011 which cost £20,500.
Rehearsals for a new show usually begin in early November and this is a good time to join us for a new production. CODS is a very open and friendly society and welcomes new members to perform on stage or help off stage. Please click our JOIN CODS button on the front page for more information.
We are indebted to our local audience who support us faithfully each year and who tell us they enjoy the ever-changing and ‘close encounter’ performances. We are also indebted to our many sponsors who contribute towards the ever rising cost of our productions.
A full list of CODS productions is printed below. A photographic online record of many of these shows and can be seen in by going to our About CODS pages.
With the evolution of digital photography we have been able to record more recent shows in greater detail and these have their own dedicated pages. You can link to them by clicking on the show title or by the various drop down menus.
Photographs and, in many cases, video extracts of more recent shows can be found on these pages. The photographs in our photo archive can be downloaded.
1965 HMS Pinafore
1966 The Gondoliers, Cox & Box, Trial by Jury
1967 The Mikado
1969 Merrie England
1970 Pirates of Penzance
1971 The Quaker Girl
1973 The Geisha
1976 Down in the Valley and HMS Pinafore
1977 Orpheus in the Underworld
1978 Fiddler on the Roof
1979 Die Fledermaus
1980 The Gondoliers
1981 The Vagabond King
1982 The Grand Duchess
1983 Yeoman of the Guard
1985 The Merry Widow
1986 The Mikado
1988 Pajama Game
1989 Pirates of Penzance
1990 La Belle Helene
1992 The Gondoliers
1994 Merrie England
1995 Orpheus in the Underworld
1996 Ruddigore 1997 Calamity Jane
1998 Kiss Me Kate
1999 Fiddler on the Roof
2000 Return to the Forbidden Planet
2004 Annie Get Your Gun
2006 The Threepenny Opera