In operation for over 120 years, Newcastle Musical Theatre Company is the only amateur dramatics society to continue perform at Newcastle Theatre Royal. Comprising of over 100 members, the society rehearses for more than six months each year to stage one show at a professional standard.
Since 1949, the Company has presented a major production in Newcastle City centre at least once a year except 1986 during refurbishments at the Theatre Royal. Those productions have featured the cream of amateur talent from Tyneside, Northumberland, Durham, and further afield.
Whilst records are scarce, it is believed that NMTC began life as Newcastle upon Tyne Amateur Operatic Society in 1897 with a production of 'Dorothy'. 47 years later, on Wednesday 12th May 1948, records confirm that the company held a meeting at 109 Pilgrim Street in Newcastle City Centre, just south of the stage door of the Theatre Royal.
Between this meeting and October 1949 the foundations of the organisation were laid and a slot at the Theatre Royal arranged by Albert Schofield.
The seventeen months between May 1948 to October 1949 must have been a very nerve wracking time.
Each Board Member contributed a guinea (£1.05) to float the Company - a total of £10.50.
The Theatre's hire charge turned out to be £650 so they resolved to share any losses equally. Fortunately, 'Merrie England' netted £871.90 - at a time when an average house cost about £1,800. Quite an achievement!
Schofield went on to produce and direct all of the Company's shows (except one, due to ill health) until 1970. The first show was 'Merrie England' which featured Nan Gray as Queen Elizabeth.
After some evoluton, in 2006 the company name changed to Newcastle Musical Theatre Company.