Southampton Musical Society

Location Romsey
Contact Mr D C Brown -
Rehearsal Venue St Mark's Institue, Woolston, Southampton







Southampton Musical Society (SMS) was founded in 1927 with the first performance of Haydn’s “The Creation” at Central Hall, under the musical direction of Arnold Williams in September 1928. 

Three years later (1931) SMS showcased the regional premiere of the show “Hiawatha” which led to the Society performing numerous operettas at the Palace Theatre, Above Bar.  The Society’s prestige was increasing with each performance until interrupted by the Second World War.  The War had a major impact on the whole city with many iconic buildings, including The Palace Theatre, being destroyed. Following the aftermath of the war the next two decades saw SMS host annual productions across a series of venues which included the Royal Pier Pavilion and the Plaza Theatre. It wasn't until 1948 that the Society returned to ‘tread the boards’ with their production of “The Country Girl”.

Throughout the 1950’s SMS went from strength to strength both financially and by reputation which afforded SMS its new home at the Gaumont Theatre (Mayflower Theatre) under the direction of Dorothy Snook and Frederick Duerden.  In 1963 the direction was passed onto Charles Rose who staged larger scale productions biannually.                        

Despite being an amateur Society, professional producers were used to stage classics such as “My Fair Lady”, “West Side Story” and “Cabaret” and soon became renowned for staging innovative productions such as “La Cage Aux Follies”, “Chicago” and the South Coast premiere of “Copacabana.”  Due to rising costs and competition from professional companies SMS performed for the last time on the Mayflower stage in 1999.  

SMS took up temporary residence at the Nuffield Theatre, where they had great success with productions including “Sweet Charity” and “Return to the Forbidden Planet”. Following the triumph at the Nuffield Theatre, the Society moved to the Theatre Royal Winchester in 2004 where it experienced a very successful ten year reign.  

Performing in Winchester biannually SMS built up a good audience following. As the final curtain came down on the last show, “The Wedding Singer”, the Society moved back to Southampton to The Berry (Hedge End) and The Point (Eastleigh).  We are honoured to have maintained our audience following from our time in Winchester.   

SMS has been well received by audiences with great reviews for our productions in our new home.  We were absolutely delighted to have be awarded NODA Accolade of Excellence for our Production of Rock of Ages. More recent productions include Made in Dagenham, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Rent and Sweet Charity which was performed at our old home, the Nuffield Theatre. 

Nearly 100 years on from the first curtain up, SMS continues doing all it can to keep amateur musical theatre alive in Southampton.