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Merrie England

Happy 20th Anniversary

Merrie England!


In August 2000, Banbury Operatic Society celebrated the Millennium by staging a huge open-air production of Merrie England,  by Edward German and by arrangement with Warner/Chappell Music Ltd at Broughton Castle, by kind permission of Lord & Lady Sele.

The highly successful project was a massive undertaking which saw the coming together of many societies and clubs in the area. Sincere thanks go to all those that participated in this scheme in particular, to the Lions Club of Banbury, and the Rotary Club of Banbury Cherwell who contributed greatly to the success of the event.

There were many participating organisations which contributed to this fantastic production, such as our friends at Banbury Cross Players, Banbury Choral Society, Bodicote Youth Drama Group, Leicester Operatic Players, The Susan Taylor Dance Academy and the Ulla Academy of Arts (now Sharon Green Academy of Theatre and Dance).

The Society and all those involved were deeply indebted too, to their many sponsors and advertisers. 

You can read more about the project and indeed, the whole production, in the programme and the National Operatic & Dramatic Association (NODA) report. Both of which are available to download in a pdf below.

Merrie England Programme

Merrie England NODA Report

The Society archives are teeming with photographs and lovely memories of this production, including a VHS video of the production. The Society has scanned a selection of photopgraphs into the picture gallery above. We'll add more in due course, so do come back and visit us soon to see the fantastic pictures. You may recognise a few people!


Devised and Directed by:        Andrew Wilson-Jenner

Associate Director:                  Janet Bishop

                                                     Jo Markham

                                                     Ian Preece

Musical Director:                     Goff Hales

Associate Musical Directors: Andrew Johnson

                                                     Philip Shaw

Choreographer:                        Sue Taylor

Associate Choreographer:      Sharon Green (was Ulla)


'I have very fond memories of being part of Merrie England and can't believe it was 20 years ago! The backdrop of the castle was stunning and so fitting for this production. I fondly remember the striking appearance of Queen Elisabeth 1st, brilliantly played by Margaret Steer, as she appeared to rise effortlessly from a boat on the moat of the castle, definitely magical, memorable part of the performance. I also remember dancing under and between hoops of flowers. How can one forget this magnificent piece of history'.

                                                                                      Pam Thom, BOS

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