Many amateur dramatic and operatic societies across the country have members who are aging.
Settle Amateur Operatic Society is fortunate that it has several young adults who have been working on, and in, both Senior and Junior productions. Jake Tatham is one of them.
Jake is shown here with Society producer, Pat Harding.
He was playing ‘Bun Foo’, a Chinese laundry worker, manipulated into kidnapping the eponymous Millie by his wicked boss Mrs Meers.
Jake ‘spoke’ Chinese very creditably for someone brought up in Settle!
Jake is a local young man who attended Settle College and took part in several of the productions there.
Jake continues his story in his own words;
I first became interested in drama when I was in year 10 back in 2013, it was during an English lesson when me and a few others had to perform as the families from Romeo & Juliet on an episode of the Jeremy Kyle show, after doing that, I realized I wanted to do more, which led me to doing GCSE and A Level Drama, as well as the school shows of ‘Alice in Wonderland ‘where I played the Gryphon, ‘Grease’ where I played Eugene and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ where I played Bottom.
I mainly enjoyed the acting at first, but after a while I thought to myself “I should have a go at singing as well” which found I enjoyed too.
I joined the society back in 2014 where I played Fat Sam in the junior production of Bugsy Malone. I’ve been involved in the SAOS Junior and Senior productions
|Guys and Dolls||Various parts|
|Wizard of Oz||Tin Man|
|Thoroughly Modern Millie||Bun Foo|
|When Toad Came Home||Support singer|
|The Likes of Us||Various Parts|
|Peter Pan||Nana the Dog|
|Anything Goes||Evelyn Oakleigh|
|Little Red Riding Hood/ The Three Little Pigs||Assistant Producer|
|In ‘Anything Goes’ I played the part of Evelyn Oakleigh, an upper class, sophisticated gentleman; despite it being the exact opposite of who I really am! My favourite role is probably ‘Fat Sam’ from ‘Bugsy Malone’, because it was my first major part and I think it’s the show where I adlibbed the most. I love making people laugh. When we were rehearsing ‘Peter Pan’ I was Nana the dog and would pretend to ‘cock my leg’ to make the children giggle! I’ve always felt welcome at SAOS and being part of it has given me a huge boost in my confidence. Now I am on the social committee, I want to help make SAOS as successful as it can be. I plan on being in the Society as long as I can and hope that one day I get one of the NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association) ‘long service’ medals, only another twenty-one years to go!
||Alice Syms has contributed lots to the Settle Amateur Operatic Society..|
While I’ve participated in drama from a young age, such as performing in school plays, it wasn’t always something that I was largely ‘into’. As an introvert, I tended to shy away from anything involving speaking, and therefore acting was not a favourite of mine!
However, I’ve been a dancer from the age of three, being trained in classical ballet, tap, theatre, jazz, and more.I have performed in shows at the Blackpool Winter Gardens and London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre and the Royal Albert Hall. Each of these experiences were amazing, and I found that being on stage gave me a sense of confidence I had no idea I had before!
My first encounter with SAOS was in 2013 when I was cast as a can-can dancer in ‘Calamity Jane’-I still wish I had that can-can dress! As I mentioned before, acting (or any form of public speaking, really) has never been up my street, but as I got more involved with SAOS, such as taking on small speaking roles in ‘Bugsy Malone’ and ‘Guys and Dolls’, I slowly got used to acting.
I’ve always admired how SAOS encourage all members to have a go at something new and are always keen to give everybody the spotlight at some point. When the junior production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ came along in 2015, I was both thrilled and terrified when I was cast in the role as the Scarecrow! However, with much encouragement and confidence building, SAOS and its members helped me to develop my acting skills, and I’m happy to look back on the performance week being a success!
Later on in 2015, rehearsals SAOS’s production of ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ commenced and, to my surprise, I was approached by producer Pat Harding who asked me to audition for a principal role; Dorothy Brown. Bearing in mind that, at this point, I was still very shaky as a singer, the idea of performing a solo soprano role was quite daunting! However, I found that lots of people within the society were keen to help me improve my singing, which just goes to show what a lovely sense of community there is within it. Come show week, I was more than happy to say that I’d finally achieved the status of being a triple threat performer as I can now act, sing and dance!
Though I am currently not a member of the society, as I am in the middle of my degree at York St John University, I still feel that I am very much a part of SAOS. I enjoy coming home to watch the shows, and it’s always lovely to drop into the odd rehearsal and have a catch up with everybody. I reviewed the ‘Juniors’ most recent show; ‘Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes’ and was told I’d done a good job! I hope to keep up my involvement with the society in the future!
One memory that I have from my time in Settle Amateur Operatic Society was during the performance week of ‘Guys and Dolls’ in 2014. In this production I was one of six dancers, and one of our numbers was ‘Take Back Your Mink’ which opened the second act. Midweek, during the interval, the other dancers and I were relaxing in the dressing room when, without the usual five-minute warning, the music for the second act started! I was scoffing a scone, but luckily, we were all dressed and ready for the dance so all that we had to do was sprint to the stage. Despite this mishap, we all made it to the stage on time and performed the routine without a hitch!
This picture was taken during the run of ‘Anything Goes.’ The musical was first produced in 1934. With music and lyrics by Cole Porter it has always been a popular show to stage and Settle Amateur Operatic did just that in 2017.
Molly played Erma Latour, a playful, independent, impulsive, and loveably clueless “dame”, a typical 20’s “gun moll”,
Who is Molly Summersgill Smith?
I got into drama when I did my first school play of Snow White at Horton-in-Ribblesdale primary School. I then continued to be in school plays, both at Horton and at Settle College. I took part in the first SAOS I first joined the Operatic Society in 2008 when the show was ‘Oliver’. I was in the chorus. I returned to the society in 2012 when they put on ‘The Sound of Music’.
To become a more rounded performer I decided to learn a musical instrument and tried one or two. In the end I mastered the ukulele! I have always loved singing and am trying hard to master dancing. I am not the best of dancers but what I lack in skill I make up for in enthusiasm!
I have taken part in most of the SAOS shows in some capacity;
|The Sound of Music||Louisa|
|Bugsy Malone||Blousey Brown|
|Guys and Dolls||Sergeant Sarah Brown|
|The Wizard of Oz||Dorothy Gale|
|Anything Goes||Erma Latour|
|Thoroughly Modern Millie||Millie Dillmount|
|When Toad Came Home||Support Singer|
|Little Red Ring Hood/ Three little Pigs||Assistant Producer|
My favourite role was Millie Dillmount in ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ as she was so much fun to play. In fact, I loved it so much, my hair is now even cut the same way (after initially refusing to chop off my long hair for the show)! I am now part of the Social Committee and am actively looking for ways to help improve and grow the society. SOAS has improved my life in so many ways it has made me more confident. It is such a wonderful warm and welcoming community to be part of. I want to stay in this society for as long as I possibly can; though when I leave I can bet Freda Hargreaves will still be part of it!