Garvey celebrates 60th anniversary

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Lisburn’s popular award winning musical theatre company, Lisnagarvey Operatic Society is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

The company is busy rehearsing for a special production of hit musical ‘Annie’ in April to mark the special year, and will also be staging a concert filled with musical theatre favourites to celebrate the momentous occasion.

Lisnagarvey Operatic Society’s roots go back to 1928 when it was known as the Lisburn Choral and Orchestral Society. It performed mainly Gilbert & Sullivan productions until the late 1930’s when its activities were suspended with the outbreak of war in 1939.

The current society reformed in 1957 from the nucleus of the then Lisnagarvey Male Voice Choir, a successor of the Choral and Orchestral Society.

Since 1957 the society has had something of a nomadic existence, both in rehearsal and performance venues; the rehearsal venues have included such places as the Wallace High School, the Lombard Café and the Assembly Rooms (now The Irish Linen Centre) in Lisburn.

Then in the early 1970’s Society’s moved to it’s current base in Dalboyne Court on the Belsize Road, Lisburn in premises kindly built and leased to the Society by the late Leslie and Norah Boyle.

When the Society reformed in 1957 it’s main shows were performed in the Lisburn Orange Hall; then in the early 1970’s productions were moved to the Lisburn Technical College (The Tech.) and following redevelopment of the Tech’s assembly hall in 1991 pantos were moved to Laurelhill High School and its spring productions to the Arts Theatre in Belfast where it remained until its closure in 1999. In 2001 the Lisburn Council opened its new Island Civic Centre with its Island Hall theatre facility.

The Society had the honour and privilege of staging the first performance “Oklahoma” in the Island Hall and it has performed all its main productions and pantos there since then and this excellent venue has now become its permanent theatrical home.

“After sixty years the Society continues to flourish and is looking forward to many more years bringing the best in musical entertainment to the people of Lisburn and beyond,” said Society President Roy McIlwrath,