Horsham Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society (HAODS), one of the area’s most respected and well-loved arts companies, is about to lose its home at Broadbridge Heath Leisure centre. The old building is due to close at the end of October and will be demolished soon after, so HAODS has been packing up the thousands of costumes, sets and props that are stored at the site. The membership has pulled together and it’s been all hands on deck to pack up, transport and re-home HAODS’ wonderful collection.
The society were given their own premises in the Leisure Centre in 1988, so that the Tesco Car Park could be built on the site of the old HAODS nissen hut. Over the years, members have rehearsed numerous musicals and plays at their Broadbridge Heath base, which they then performed at both the old and new Capitol theatres. HAODS Chairman, Tess Kennedy, said: “It was a shock when the Council decided that HAODS would not be given premises in the new Leisure Centre. The HAODS committee have worked tirelessly in protracted negotiations with Horsham Council to secure new premises at the old Ambulance Station in Hurst Road. We are excited by the move, although our rent has tripled and the long term plan is for the Ambulance station to be demolished. In the short term, the membership has come together to ensure that the premises are fit for purpose and that the move goes smoothly.
“HAODS has been entertaining the Horsham public for over 60 years and we have no intention of stopping now”.
HAODS is made up of over 100 members of all ages, putting on as near to professional standard shows as you can get in amateur theatre. They have won numerous awards over the years, most recently Best Modern Musical for “Made in Dagenham” (2017).
As well as staging musicals and plays, the society also plays a leading role in the local community. Young people from age 7 can join Young HAODS, run by Beth Landskroner. They have weekly sessions, as well as taking leading parts in full scale shows, such as this summer’s hugely successful ‘Wendy and Peter Pan’. Members also perform regularly at local care homes and at large scale events, such as The Loxwood Joust and Horsham’s “Americarna”.
The loss of ‘HAODS house’ could have been devastating, but, of course, the show must always go on! The last few months have been incredibly busy for HAODS as the move coincides with rehearsals for their latest production, “Follies”.
In a strange coincidence of life imitating art, this show is about a reunion of Follies girls who return to New York in 1971 to see their beloved Theatre for one last time before it is demolished.
In the most glamorous re-union you will ever see, the Follies beauties get together after 30 years for one last evening; have a few drinks, sing a few songs, tell a few tales and of course, re-unite with lost loves.
“Follies” has become one of Sondheim’s most popular shows – partly due to the recent revival at The National Theatre starring Imelda Staunton. Full of sequins, feathers, toe tapping dance numbers and heart stoppingly beautiful music supported by a live orchestra, (HAODS’ performance will include a professional harpist) and a host of colourful characters, it’s easy to see why the show has become a classic.
You can join in the fun and support this fabulous local group, when they perform “Follies” at The Capitol from Tuesday 6 – Saturday 10 November. Tickets can be booked on 01403 750220 or at www.thecapitolhorsham.com
Further details on Horsham Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, (HAODS), including how to become a “Friend of HAODS”, can be found at the HAODS website www.haods.co.uk
For information on Young HAODS, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Picture Credits: HAODS members and Chris Dale