West End Operatic Society


West End Operatic and Dramatic Society was the brain child of Wilf Lambert following the dissolution of Newburn Operatic Society. His interest in amateur operatics caused him, some 67 years ago, to gather round him a few friends who were similarly interested in order to create a new amateur Society in the West End of the City.

With Wilf as its first President, and later Chairman, in 1949 the Society produced its first show A Country Girl at the Majestic Cinema, Condercum Road in the West End of Newcastle. Three musicals were produced there, and in 1952 a move was made to the Grand Theatre in Byker, where after two productions another venue had to be found, as the Grand was closing down.  In 1954 the Society moved to the Plaza Cinema, West Road, Newcastle with a production of The Lilac Domino.

Following four very successful years it was agreed by a forward-looking governing Committee that their ambition to present bigger and better productions required a much larger stage.  Following negotiations with Howard & Wyndham in London, the Society performed its 1958 production of Ivor Novello’s Kings Rhapsody at the Theatre Royal, Grey Street, Newcastle, where 56 productions have been presented. In 1987, 2011 and 2012 the Society’s productions of Gigi ,The Full Monty and Calamity Jane were performed at the Tyne Theatre and Opera House because of refurbishment at the Theatre Royal. In 2013 Summer Holiday was performed at The Northern Stage.The Society returns to the Tyne Theatre and Opera House for Hairspray.

Under the Chairmanship of Wilf Lambert the Society grew in stature, and on his death in November 1972, the reins were handed onto the following Chairmen:-

Eddie Patterson (1972-1991), Brian Francis (1991-1998), Derek Smith (1998-1999), Derek Coleman (1999–2006), Val Shield (2006- 2009), Ken Anderson (2009-2014), Liam Gilbert (2014 - 2016), Ruth Barber (2016 - )

In 1991 Eddie Patterson took over as President of the Society from Wilf Lambert, an office he held until 1999. The Society's third President, Adam Fenwick was appointed in 2004, Joyce Whitehead was Vice President from 2004 until 2006. Derek Coleman was appointed Vice President in 2008.

The Board of Management continually strives to make sure productions are performed to the highest possible standard.

Company Office:  38 Stanhope Road, South Shields, Tyne & Wear, NE33 4BT

Registered in England and Wales No. 3768900

Registered Charity No.1078611



Vice President

Derek Coleman

Board of Directors

Chairman - Ruth Barber

Vice Chairman/Marketing Manager - Sonia Hernandez

Treasurer/Business Manager - Tony Jones

Secretary - Dorothy Coleman

Assistant Secretary - Anna Henderson

Ticket Secretary - Frank Saxby

Social & Fundraising Manager - Kim Wilde

Technical Manager - Steve Woolley