In 1929 the Society departed from Gilbert and Sullivan when ‘Tom Jones’ was performed and, never forsaking the G & S origins, continued, from necessity, to branch out into other musical productions such as ‘Rose Marie’ and ‘The Desert Song.’ Always willing to try a new approach, 1963 saw the introduction of the ‘Big’ American musical with ‘Oklahoma.’ This was followed by ‘The King and I’ and ‘Annie Get Your Gun,’ a period which gave a new lease of life to the Society and also created a boom in it’s fortunes to the introduction in 1966 of the production of two shows in one financial year.
Although the idea of forming an Operatic Society in Melton Mowbray was first discussed prior to the First World War, it was not until after the War, that positive steps were taken. Inevitably the history of the Society cannot be separated from Doctor (later Sir) Malcolm Sargent whose great interest and enthusiasm gave impetus to its formation in 1919.
When he arrived in Melton after the War, Sargent took charge of the Choral Society from the newly formed “Melton Amateur Operatic Society” (the “Mowbray” was added in 1921) from which it gained nearly all its members. The musical standard set by Sargent was very high indeed not only on stage but also in the orchestra with at least one professional player in each of the string, wind and brass sections.
Sargent was a devotee of Gilbert and Sullivan and it was therefore natural that the Society’s first shows were all by the gifted pair, establishing a Tradition for “G & S” that has continued through the years.
The first ever performance given by the Society took place on Wednesday 17th March 1920 in the Corn Exchange Melton Mowbray, the first of three performances of “Patience” with Sargent as both Musical Director and Producer. This first performance was rapturously received by the local press and the Town and the Society became so popular that within two years five performances became the normal run of the show.
Melton at this time was the country’s fashionable social center for fox hunting and the Society’s list of 100 Patrons reflected this, (including 2 dukes, a Viscount, 4 Earls, 4 Knights and Army Officers) and shows were regularly attended by Royalty including The Prince Of Wales (later Edward VIII) in 1925. Dr Sargent remained with the Society until 1927 when he was appointed Musical Director to the D’Oly Carte Opera Company and the rest, of course is history. However he did return to the Society occasionally and he remained as Musical Adviser for several years.
Throughout it’s history the Society has had several ‘homes’ originating in the Corn Exchange, moving to the Plaza Cinema with brief spells at the Sarson School and Stanford Hall near Loughborough then moving to the new Melton Theatre in 1976 for a production of ‘Lock Up Your Daughters.’
In its early years the Society depended on the generosity of it’s Presidents and Patrons for it’s financial existence but as Melton’s social importance declined, inevitably the emphasis on financial stability shifted from voluntary support by Patrons to self-support by the members themselves.
It is this support and enthusiasm of the members along with careful management over the years, that has enabled Melton Mowbray Amateur Operatic Society to remain financially viable and to maintain the high standards expected of it that Dr Sargent initiated in 1920.
In 2006, with a view to giving the company a bright modern image, the members voted on and passed a motion to change the society’s name to The Melton Musical Theatre Company.
In 2009, The Melton Musical Theatre Company celebrated its 90th Anniversary with a very special youth production of ‘Les Miserables: School Edition’ in May 2009 and an Anniversary Gala Performance at Melton Theatre in October 2009.
In 2010, TMMTC continued their run of exciting new productions by presenting ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ and in 2011 they brought ‘Annie’ and ‘The Pajama Game’ back to the Melton Stage.
In March 2012, the Melton Musical Theatre Company were proud to be present a brand new show written, directed and produced in house and called ‘Musical Blitz.’ A musical review of the Second World War.