Our History


Formed in 1911, Ringwood Musical & Dramatic Society has been entertaining the town ever since with Musicals, Plays, Concerts and Revues.

 

Ringwood Musical and Dramatic Society was conceived by Mr.E.G.K.Farwell. In 1911 he had an idea to bring everyone in Ringwood who was interested in Music and Drama together for a common aim: to perform to their community.

Their First Perfomance

The first committee was formed with Harry Barrow as chairman, a post he was to hold for the next 50 years, and Mr. Farwell was elected as the Producer and Musical Director. They decided upon The Mandarin for their first production, which was staged at The Manor House Theatre on 27th and 28th February 1912, six weeks before the Titanic sank. It was a huge success with a full house and people being turned away at the door. 

The Society

To begin with, RMDS put on one show a year. This later expanded to a musical and two plays. In 1949, a group of the younger members got together to perform a concert which spawned the very successful offshoot of the Society, The Soiree. Originally called 'The Nitwits', its success grew over the years from a one-night show to a two-week production. The final element of the Society’s performing calendar, The Summer Show, made its first appearance in 1980. The choir has always been a huge part of the society, and after a small break in 1980, the RMDS Choir was reintroduced in 1986.

All RMDS members are involved in every single part of the society. Members not only perform on the stage but construct and build the sets, make the costumes, sell the tickets, make the coffee, man the bar, act as stewards and sell the programmes.

What is important to us:

Since the very first performance, RMDS has brought Ringwood together through its shows, donating hundreds of thousands of pounds to local charities. The society has survived two world wars, the invention of TV, technological advances and theatre closures and is still going strong today.

Of course the most important people in the history of the Society are our audiences. Without the wonderful support from the people of Ringwood and the surrounding district we would not exist. We are always conscious of the debt we owe our loyal friends and supporters.

For more information about the formation of Ringwood Musical & Dramatic Society, please download our full history here.