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Grand Olde Time Music Hall show will recall wartime memories

Dereham Operatic Society will perform a Grand Olde Time Music Hall show as part of Dereham's WWI centenary commemmorations

Dereham Operatic Society will perform a Grand Olde Time Music Hall show as part of Dereham's WWI centenary commemmorations

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Entertainment fans will be transported back in time to the music halls of old during a special show to mark Armed Forces Day – and to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

Dereham Operatic Society will perform a Grand Olde Time Music Hall show as part of Dereham's WWI centenary commemmorationsDereham Operatic Society will perform a Grand Olde Time Music Hall show as part of Dereham's WWI centenary commemmorations

The Grand Olde Time Music Hall show at Dereham Memorial Hall on June 28 will feature popular songs which would have been known by the troops heading for the front 100 years ago.

It will start with a short service by Dereham rector the Rev Sally Theakston at 7pm followed by a programme of singing, dancing and melodrama.

There is also a planned display of military vehicles and a Royal British Legion stand on Fleece Meadow to reinforce the message of remembrance.

Nick Smith, speaking on behalf of Dereham Royal British Legion president Dennis O’Callaghan, said: “We wanted to do something different in order to rejuvenate interest in Armed Forces Day and commemorate the anniversary of World War One.

“Town councillor Phillip Duigan found a programme from 1915 when one of the troops put on a similar show in Dereham. It will bring back memories to the older generations, and some of the songs will have gone through to the Second World War too.

“I would encourage people to come along and join in with the singing.”

Colleen Harris is among the nine-strong cast, which is drawn from the members of Dereham Operatic Society. She is also co-directing the show with her husband Colin.

She said: “Old Time Music Hall finished more or less after the First World War. It has got a chairman who leads the proceedings, and in the old days, you used to be able to eat and talk while they would entertain you, and if they didn’t like the show, they didn’t watch it.

“A lot of the songs started in taverns and then it developed into Old Time when they built proper theatres for it – after that, it went out of fashion and they started doing variety shows.

“We want to give people the songs they will know, but within the context of Old Time Music Hall. It is songs like ‘Daisy, Daisy’ which people will have heard as children and will remember.

“There will be a section on World War One. A lot of these songs would have been known around that time and they would have been popular then. There will be a song sheet for the chorus numbers, and the audience will be encouraged to sing along.”

Tickets cost £10 and are available from Sounds music shop on Nunns Way in Dereham, telephone 01362 696995. All proceeds go to the Royal British Legion, Royal Air Forces Association and Royal Navy charities.


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