Hatton Musical Theatre has been entertaining you since 1945. By the time the group celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1995, over 80 productions had been staged. Now in Hatton’s 78th year, the company have just performed Lionel Bart’s Oliver! at The Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking.
Hatton is an area in the historic county of Middlesex which is now mainly known through the station Hatton Cross on the Heathrow extension of the Piccadilly Line. The society has its origins in a street party held to celebrate VJ Day in 1945. This was directed by Ken Newell with piano accompaniment by Joan Venton and they were soon joined by Musical Director Reginald Curtis. All three gave many years’ service in the early days of the Society.
The first performances were given under the name Hatton Choral & Operatic Society but this was soon shortened to Hatton Operatic Society. From 1946 to 1992 most of the productions were staged in Feltham, Middlesex with a wide-ranging repertoire of operetta, Gilbert & Sullivan, musicals and pantomimes. For a few years in the 1990s the society also performed in Slough and Bracknell. The name was changed to Hatton Musical Theatre Society in 2015 to give a more accurate reflection of the society’s current repertoire.
Families have always played an important part in Hatton, often with two or even three generations being involved. A typical such family was the Robinsons. Herbert Robinson was one of the leading performers in the early shows and his son Peter, daughter Janet, son in law Geoff and grandchildren Catherine and Richard carried on the tradition.
The 60th anniversary year – 2005 – also saw retirement (from the stage) of one of Hatton’s longest standing members, Elizabeth Connor. Elizabeth had also acted as Society Treasurer since 1966 and was our President until April 2020. She and her husband John were very much the matriarch and patriarch, having steered the Society for much of the last 30 years. Between them they had clocked up over 105 years of association with Hatton and the society will always remember them with such fondness.
In 2009 the group took the decision to stage two performances a year – a ‘Book’ musical in Autumn and a ‘compilation’ show in Spring. The compilation shows are designed to encourage and nurture talent and give everyone a chance to perform. They also allow our audiences to see and hear musical numbers from both classic and more contemporary shows. To date, Rodgers and Hammerstein and the MGM musicals have been showcased as well as an Olde Tyme Music Hall, Keep the Home Fires Burning– (a Centenary of WW1), a compilation of songs from West End productions and, more recently, our Hatton Celebrates 70 Showcase, which was performed as part of our 70th birthday celebrations. Give My Regards To Broadway and our 2017 Jet Set saw an influx in younger members and new talent. Many of our younger members move on to take up professional training at prestigious Performing Arts Schools. In recent years a number of those who have gone on to train have come back to Hatton, as part of our production teams.
After an enforced hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hatton Musical Theatre bounced back with Elf The Musical in October 2021. This time at a new venue, the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking, where the cast played to sell out audiences once again. In April 2022 our cabaret show , Movies, Musicals & More, was performed at a more intimate brand new venue Buzz, Woking.
After the sell out success of Oliver! in October 2023, Hatton are producing their first junior show, Matilda Jr. This production will run in rep with Songs from Blockbusters, Broadway & Beyond (a cabaret show) at BUZZ, Woking in April 2024. Please contact us here if you want to come and meet us at a rehearsal. We hope to see you soon!