Established in 1887, Napier Operatic Society is the second oldest-existing theatrical society in New Zealand, and is nationally renowned for its critically acclaimed professional-quality productions.
The earliest known theatre company in Napier was the Napier Theatre Co., which in 1883, along with the Napier Musical Society and the Napier Amateur Drama Club combined to create the Theatre Royal. The Theatre Royal made its debut with the musicalTrial by Jury, and out of this the Napier Operatic Society was born.
Most of the early productions were Gilbert and Sullivan plays, with the first production at the new Napier Municipal Theatre being A Greek Slave in 1912. The 1800 capacity of the Napier Municipal Theatre was noted to have been “frequently taxed to the uttermost”, especially by people who drive in from the country areas. Due to the onset of World War I, The Blue Moon was the last production by Napier Operatic Society until 1921.
The 1931 Napier Earthquake caused significant damage to the Napier Municipal Theatre, contributing to Napier Operatic’s hiatus until 1937. A Special General Meeting was held on the 14th of October, 1937 where it was unanimously decided to revive the society. The first production in over 7 years, Rio Rita, was performed at the newly built Napier Municipal Theatre. Since then, with the exception of duringWorld War II until 1953, there has been at least one production put on by Napier Operatic Society every year.
Napier Operatic Society has staged many hit musicals in recent years, including Les Misérables,42nd Street, Chicago, Cats, Beauty and the Beast, Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera, andMamma Mia!. Evita has been announced as the first production of 2015, with the Napier Operatic Society’s Theatre School show in 2015 being the society’s 150th production.
The society is based at The Tabard Theatre, which underwent extensive renovations completed in April 1994 – an extended rehearsal room, wardrobe hire, workshop, and restaurant-theatre complex were completed during the 5 year project. The Napier Operatic Society produces multiple productions a year, and has done a major stage-show every year since 1887, with the exception of several years throughout the 20th century during overseas conflict and the aftermath of natural disaster.
Productions: 1887 – Present Day
Theatre School Productions: 2000 – Present Day
|2000||Establishment of Theatre School.||2001||Little Red Rockin’ Hood||2002||The Halfmen of O||2003||Peter Pan – The Crock Rock Musical|
|2004||The Snow Queen||2005||Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat||2006||The Wonderful Wiz of Oz||2007||Aladdin Jr.|
|2008||Mulan Jr.||2009||Puss’n’Kiwiboots||2010||A Midsummer Night’s Dream||2011||High School Musical Jr.
Cinders in the 60’s
|2012||No production.||2013||Bugsy Malone||2014||Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat||2015||The Wizard of Oz|