The following was published in the South Hams Newspapers a couple of weeks ago...
"Can you imagine Plymouth without The Theatre Royal or The Pavilions? Have you heard of the Hoe Theatre? Well, that is what the town was like in the early days of South Hams Theatre and Concert Club (SHTCC).
At its very beginnings in 1948 (yes it’s our 70th birthday!!!), Leslie and Marjorie Gardiner started arranging trips to Dartington, the transport being car sharing, which lasted until the 1970s. Various people became involved, including George Jordan, Benny Goodman, James Barclay, Dot Sloman and Wendy Hammett.
At that time you could attend a concert, get a ham sandwich and a coffee - all for £5!
Flash forward to the 1980s and the club attended an event most weeks, with 500 members paying an annual subscription of £1. In 1982, two coach loads of members attended the opening night of the new Theatre Royal.
Dot and Wendy did their own duplicating of programmes etc and tickets were delivered by volunteers. On one evening they sold all 106 tickets for the ballet in 40 minutes - jamming the telephone exchange!
Another time, six coaches went to Evita at the Theatre Royal - probably the club’s record.
In September 1991, they passed the reins to June and Peter Mills, having earlier persuaded Peter to become treasurer.
Records became computerised and tickets were sent out by post, the club gradually embracing twentieth century technology. Needless to say, the theatres and touring companies were doing the same and began demanding booking monies in advance - well in advance.
SHTCC had to abandon the scheme of collecting ticket money on the coach during the return journey and, as technology advanced, it became clear that the way in which the club was run had to change.
In 1998 Dennis Bastin implemented the changes he considered essential, including payment ‘upfront’, and he ran the club single-handed until the autumn of 1999, when Pat Davidson took on the job of ticket secretary. In 2006, she emigrated to New Zealand and Jo Farrell took over.
Now, the committee comprises of the Nick Alen (chairman), Gill White (memberships), Lorraine Buckley (ticket secretary), Jenny Arnold (publicity) and Jo Farrell.
SHTCC was created not only as a way of promoting and supporting the performing arts, but to provide convenient and safe transportation all while meeting new friends and attending such events with other like-minded people.
The venues are mainly in Plymouth, Torbay and Exeter, but we occasionally travel further afield. We arrange to attend plays, musicals, operas and concerts and do so at a group rate through the club.
Though we have so many people to thank, we’d like to give a special thanks to Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, whom we visit two to three times a year, and every time they have been exceptionally accommodating.
And not to mention, our transportation provider, Tally Ho Coaches, provide exceptional service with their extreme comfort and reliability.
At around 300 members, you’re sure to have a good time no matter who shows up!
So if you think you’d love the opportunity to attend a wide variety of concerts, and theatrical shows without the hassle of driving and parking, whilst going with many other people with similar taste, then why not come and join us!
For more information about memberships or just about anything else having to do with the South Hams Theatre and Concert Club, please contact Gill White at 01548 856601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, you can visit our brand new website www.shtcc.uk.
We’d love to have you!"