Folkestone & Hythe Operatic & Dramatic Society
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Folkestone & Hythe Operatic & Dramatic Society, FHODS, is a charitable organization that holds performances and events at its theatre in Shorncliffe, the Tower Theatre. A theatre which has been developed by FHODS from what used to be a church, for all types of performances. The society includes a very active Youth Section who perform three shows a year and meet at the Tower Theatre.
The Folkestone Dramatic & Music Club was formed in 1902, performing at the Woodward Institute. This was later changed to the Folkestone Operatic Society in 1913 performing at the Pleasure Gardens Theatre.
The society closed for the duration of World War I (1914–1918), then continued to present plays up until World War II (1939–1945) when it closed once more. In 1947 Hythe was added to the name and the society held productions at the Leas Pavilion Theatre, Folkestone Town Hall, and Chichester Hall in Sandgate.
FHODS Youth Section caters for young people aged between 12 and 21 who are interested any aspects of theatre. They put on 3 shows a year:
- The Brigadier Thomas Competition - held in spring, "the Brig" consists of a collection of one act plays (usually four) written, directed and performed by Youth Section members based around a common theme. On the second and final night they are judged by three adult section adjudicators for prizes for "Best Play", "Best Stagecraft", "Best Actor", "Best Actress", "Most Promising Newcomer Actor" and "Most Promising Newcomer Actress".
- The Summer Show - held in late summer or early autumn, the Summer Show is the principle Youth Section production where they put on a full length play acted and directed by Youth Section members. Past titles include "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "The Insect Play", "Carpe Jugulum", "Little Women" and "James and the Giant Peach".
- The Christmas Revue - a relaxed format including songs, sketches and monologues. The emphasis is on showcasting the talent of the Youth Section.
They meet every Sunday at the Tower Theatre. Their meetings include drama-based games, creating improvisations and sketches, script work (ranging from Greek Tragedy to Shakespeare to Monty Python) and workshops both from within FHODS and from external sources. They always welcome new members. They organise trips to see other productions from as close to home as FHODS' own to West End shows such as Avenue Q and the Lion King. These trips are often subsidised to encourage greater participation in theatre.