THE show must go on, that is how members of the Dorset Theatregoers Club see their successful group, which is currently celebrating 50 years since they first took to the road to enjoy an outing to a theatre.

Since their first trip by coach in January 1970 for a production of The Boyfriend at Bristol, theatregoing members have visited towns all over the south of England ranging from Guildford to Salisbury and London to Exeter and they have no intention of stopping, thanks to the dynamic inspiration of the club’s founder Graham Jenkins who is the president of this amazing organisation.

Graham’s idea for the club started in November 1969 when he decided to bring to Weymouth a touring production of Look Back in Anger which was playing at Salisbury for a week. Discovering that the performers were free on the Monday, he promptly booked them for Weymouth Pavilion for one night then set about publicising the event in the hope of selling enough tickets to get his money back.

“It worked and I sold 900 tickets, “ says Graham. ”It got me started and two months later The Dorset Theatregoers Club was up and running.”

In 1971 he launched a Poole and Bournemouth branch as well as a Swanage based Purbeck branch as interest grew. Later that year, he booked the Royal Shakespeare Company to perform their production of Henry V at Weymouth Pavilion and the whole theatre was fully sold out in three hours. The message was clear, Dorset people support quality live theatre,

Membership grew and the club regularly used Bluebird Coaches to transport members to the shows, an arrangement that is still going strong 50 years later.

This year as part of their celebrations, club members visited Liverpool and Chester after boarding a boat and sailing from Southampton on a four day holiday break as well as also enjoying an anniversary lunch at the famous Pinewood Film Studios near London.

“The secret of success is to do the job properly,” says Graham who still maintains an active interest in the group.

Currently managed by a committee of volunteers, new members are always welcome to join this group of showbusiness enthusiasts who enjoy seeing high quality professional productions in attractive theatres just a bus ride from their homes.

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