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Acorn Antiques 2015 Mack & Mabel 2014 Masquerade 2013 Titanic The Musical 2012

Acorn Antiques 2015

It was Curtain Up! on a new era for Denmead Operatic Society as we presented "Acorn Antiques The Musical", by Victoria Wood - our first show under the new name of Curtain Up! Productions at the Petersfield Festival Hall from 25th-27th June 2015.

Mack & Mabel 2014

Mack and Mabel, the story of the relationship between early film producer Mack Sennett and his star Mabel Normand, was presented at the Petersfield Festival Hall from 15th-17th May 2014.

Masquerade 2013

This was an exciting new venture: presenting our very own show, written especially for us by Ian Clark, at the Park Community School in Havant from 29th May to 1st June 2013.

Titanic The Musical 2012

To mark the one hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, we presented this spectacular musical at the Park Community School from 6th-9th June 2012. It was a great success and we won a NODA Accolade of Excellence for the production.

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Formerly Denmead Operatic Society
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What's next?

We are reprising our 2010 production of 'Allo 'Allo at the Petersfield Festival Hall from 9th to 11th June. This is the stage version of the hilarious BBC TV series of the same name, set in France during the second world war. Click here to find out more about the show and buy your tickets.

2015 John Westbrook Award

As Hilary Westbrook, John's widow, could not attend any of the Acorn Antiques performances due to prior commitments, she delegated the nomination of the John Westbrook Award for 2015 to Val Sykes. Val chose to award the trophy to Mandy Clowes, saying: 'When there are not so many people on stage, each member of the supporting cast is clearly visible and it is extra important to give it everything. Mandy was always fully involved om each scene she was in, acting and reacting to others very well. I loved the three backing "beehive" singers number and she was clearly really enjoying it,'

Raise FREE money for CUP

Doing your shopping on-line? Why not raise money for Curtain Up! Productions at the same time - at absolutely no cost to yourself? You get access to all of your favourite on-line and high street retailers and pay the same prices that you would normally - all that happens is that CUP receives a percentage of the total of your shopping, which can be as much as 3% of the amount you spend. Since we started this scheme, the society has received a total of £580.59 at a cost of absolutely nothing!  Click here to find out more and sign up to start generating money. Note that we are still registered as Denmead Operatic Society with easyfundraising.


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What's Next

This website is currently being updated. Click here for details of all events and shows we have planned, or find us on Facebook.

Show News

Click here to see the show page for our fantastic June 2016 production of 'Allo 'Allo.

Recent Events


Mandy Clowes receives 2015 John Westbrook Award

Mandy Clowes was awarded the 2015 John Westbrook Trophy for her performance in Acorn Antiques. Read more >>

Let us introduce ourselves

Founded in 1933 in the village of Denmead, Hampshire, we are a friendly, award-winning theatre group who enjoy performing a diverse selection of musicals, comedies, concerts and murder mysteries. Our full scale productions always include a live band, imaginative sets and quality sound, lighting and projection.

Recent productions include Acorn Antiques, Mack and Mabel, Titanic The Musical (for which won a NODA Accolade for Excellence) and other well known musicals such as Guys and Dolls, Hello Dolly!, Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady and Anything Goes.

Our recent comedy productions have included Allo Allo, He-De-Hi, The Vicar of Dibley and The Vicar of Dibley - The Second Coming, both of which were performed in the Church of St John the Baptists in Rowlands Castle, in front of a beautiful stained glass window.

Take a look at our Archives page to find out what we have done in the past, and our Productions page to see what we are planning for the future.

We hold regular fund-raising events including Murder Mystery Evenings, written by our director Ian Clark, and quiz nights. We have an active social diary too with treasure hunts, skittles evenings and trips to see shows.

Our aims

The aims of the society are quite simple:

  • To promote the dramatic, operatic and musical arts through performance, concerts and workshops.

  • To develop the skills of the members of the society.

  • But above all, to enjoy what we do!

Come and try us out

If you'd like to come and join in the fun, then why not come along to one of our rehearsals and see what we're all about. We aren't just looking for people to perform on-stage - we are always keen to welcome people with technical skills such as lighting, sound or stage management. Or you might want to be creative by painting scenery, makings props or organising the costumes for a show. Whatever your skills, we'd like to meet you.

We rehearse on Tuesdays at the The Church Hall, St John's Church, Rowlands Castle from 7.30 to 9.30pm, so give us a call to say you'd like to come along and try us out and one of our society members will look after you and ensure you receive a warm welcome.

Want to find out more? Click here to get in touch.  

A change of name

 In 2015, after 82 years of music making, Denmead Operatic Society made a dramatic change. We rebranded ourselves as Curtain Up! Productions.

Over the previous 10 years, we had developed the range of theatre work that we present to include plays, Broadway musicals, comedies, pantomimes and our very own Murder Mystery dinner plays. Our membership is now drawn from a wide area, stretching from Pagham in the east to Fareham in the west and we are no longer based in Denmead. We rehearse in Horndean and perform all over Hampshire and West Sussex.

After a lot of thought, it seemed the right time to rebrand ourselves - a new name for a new chapter in the Society's history; one that encompasses the joy of performing and all that we do; a name that isn't bound by a particular place or preconception of who we are and what we perform; a name without boundaries.

Acorn Antiques The Musical was the first show that we performed under the new name and we have new logos and a brand new website to go with it, so look out for our next exciting production under our new brand!

 A potted history 

Denmead Operatic Society was founded in October 1933 and its first performance was at the village fete in August 1934. This was followed by a full-scale production of the musical play Maritana in November 1934. During the ensuing years up to 1939, many musical plays were produced, including Good Queen Bess (1936), Closewood Hall (1936), Killarney (1937), Hiawatha (1938), Hansel and Gretel (1938) and Martha (1939).

The Society was suspended during the war years but re-opened in December 1945 with a succession of performances including plays, pantomimes, nativity plays and musical evenings.

In 1952, it was decided to alter the style of performance and to concentrate in the future on full stage productions of Gilbert and Sullivan Operas. This change of policy resulted in the production of HMS Pinafore in November 1952. The Society became one of the few societies in the region which performed these masterpieces of comic opera.

By 1972 the society had outgrown the facilities and the physical size of its "home", the Denmead War Memorial Hall, and for the following 20 years the venue for its productions was Purbrook Park School.

Encouraged by the quality of its membership, the decision was taken in 1991 to move to the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth, for its annual production. This move was another landmark in a long and distinguished existence. The opera chosen for this memorable occasion was Patience, which ran from October 22nd to October 26th, with full traditional chorus and orchestra to enhance the splendid music.

In May 1993, Denmead Operatic Society became a Registered Charity, and the 60th anniversary of the formation of the society was celebrated in October 1993 with a special production of The Gondoliers. A lively and colourful occasion, the cast were supported by a full orchestra to celebrate this Diamond Jubilee event, which ran from 26th to 30th October, at the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth.

The Society established links with an amateur operatic society in Eindhoven, Holland and several exchange visits took place. In 1985 the Society was honoured to be invited by the National Trust to take its production of The Mikado to the Open Air Festival at Polesden Lacey, to mark the centenary of the opera. More than 2000 people attended the performances. Another cause for pride in the Society has been the award of seven prizes by the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) for the design and content of our programmes, culminating  in a National First Prize.

The Society spent many happy years at the New Theatre Royal, but found it increasingly difficult to attract our traditional audience to the theatre, through the sometimes intimidating crowds of revellers that invariably fill Guildhall Walk. In 2001, with our production of Cowardy Custard (a revue-style show based on the words and music of Noel Coward) it was decided to try taking our productions to the people by using some different, smaller, venues, including halls in Purbrook, Meonstoke, Horndean and Denmead, and the Alexandra Theatre in Bognor Regis. This approach was very successful and has been adopted many times since.

After the success of Cowardy Custard, the Society decided to extend its repertoire away from Gilbert and Sullivan, to take in other light operas, such as Offenbach's La Vie Parisienne, revue style shows  and old time music halls. We have also gone back to our roots by performing plays again, with the production in 2002 of Constance Cox's Murder at the Red Barn.

In more recent years, we have used the Havant Arts Centre (now The Spring) for our annual productions and have been welcomed with open arms both by the Arts Centre and by our audiences which have very nearly filled the theatre for every performance of our productions of The Pirates of Penzance (2006), Fiddler on the Roof (2007), Anything Goes (2008) and My Fair Lady (2009).

2008 marked the Society's seventy-fifth anniversary, which we celebrated with a series of concerts featuring as many of the works of Gilbert and Sullivan as we could fit in. Two former members of the society joined us to cut a special birthday cake and enjoy a glass of bubbly mid-way through the Saturday concert.

The success of our productions at Havant Arts Centre highlighted the limitations of the size of its stage and the capacity of the auditorium, so we decided to move our annual production to the Park Community School in Havant, with its modern studio style theatre. This allowed us more room to breath and stage our productions of Guys and Dolls (2010), Hello Dolly (2011), Titanic The Musical (2012) and Masquerade (2013). The production of Titanic The Musical marked the one hundredth anniversary of the tragic sinking of this famous ship and we were delighted to be awarded a NODA Accolade of Excellence for the production. Masquerade was also a first for the Society, being the premier of a new musical written by our very own director Ian Clark.

In 2014, in search of a larger audience space and a more flexible stage, the Society again changed venues, presenting Mack and Mabel at the Festival Hall in Petersfield. This was the venue again for our 2015 production of the hilarious Acorn Antiques The Musical, but in between we experimented with the Studio at The Petersfield School for our production of Forbidden Broadway (2015), and the Church of St John The Baptist in Rowlands Castle provided a very atmospheric setting for our productions of The Vicar of Dibley (2013) and The Vicar of Dibley - The Second Coming (2014).  

For a complete list of our productions over the years, click here to go to our Archives pages. 


Curtain Up! Productions is affiliated to the National Operatic and Dramatic Association - NODA.

Curtain Up! Productions is a Registered Charity - No. 1021763

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