About us

As stated in our rules, the object of the society is to promote musical plays, drama, comedies, operettas and other dramatic works, to further the development of public appreciation and taste in the said arts ... ... To this end we usually stage two major productions per annum, plus various charity and private small concerts and/or variety shows.

Our spring production usually takes place sometime between January and March. It alternates between a pantomime one year and a family show or other musical production the next.

Our autumn production - September/October - is usually a musical. - Dont miss our next production!

Our History

Ferndown Phoenix Musical Society was originally known as the "Phoenix Musical Society" and was formed in 1986 by past members of the liquidated "Wimborne Light Opera". There were approximately 8 founder members, of which 5 are still active within the society.

The original officers were, Chairman - Margaret Coltman, Secretary - Georgina Starkey and Treasurer - Lena Holmes. Interesting to note that the original stage manager, Roy Cope, (S.Mgr. & past Chairman of "Wimborne Light") retired in September, 2002, after 25 years of humping scenery and shouting at us!

The company soon outgrew our original rehearsal venue in one of the rooms at St. Mary's Church Hall in Ferndown and moved to Christ the King School hall in Kinson. Our first show was "The King & I", presented at the newly built Ferndown Community Centre (now named the "Barrington Theatre") in 1986. Directed by the late John Coltman, choreographed by his wife, Margaret (who also took the leading role of "Anna"), musical director - The Late Georgina Starkey. We were privileged to take the show to the Pavilion Theatre in Bournemouth for a week’s run in October, 1987 and it’s interesting to note that out of that cast, 8 of us are still regular performers (thank heavens for kind lighting!).

We took a break in 1989 for fund-raising activities and presented some concerts to "put our name about". We have been presenting musicals, pantos, variety shows and reviews at the "Barrington Theatre" ever since, stepping the productions up to twice yearly in 1992.

Our original president was the late Billy Burden who was a wonderful supporter up until his death in 1994 - the last show he attended was "The Merry Widow" in 1993. Since then our presidents have been, Michael Medwin 1998-2000 and then Barry Howard who accepted the position in 2001 and has supported us wholeheartedly with his attendance and genuine friendliness.

The word "Ferndown" was added to the company name in 1997 to bring us into line as a Ferndown based society. Looking back over the years, two members have excelled themselves, Margaret Coltman, our original chairman and a founder member, was elevated from N.O.D.A. regional representative to N.O.D.A. Southern Area Councillor in 2000 and in 1991 Simon Rawlings guested in our production of "Brigadoon" shortly before turning professional. We believe this was one of his last amateur performances.

Things that spring to mind over the years include the white pigeons that used to frequent the Ferndown precinct, who'd perch on the roof of the theatre and could be clearly heard on stage commenting "Coo!" during quiet and usually dramatic scenes - their timing was perfect! Simon Rawlings, who broke his arm on stage during the run of "Brigadoon" and heroically completed the rest of the week with his arm in plaster - think he's forgiven us now. There was the petrol tanker drivers' strike in 2000, which nearly resulted in no scenery being delivered for "My Fair Lady" - it arrived late and I think S.M. Roy Cope recovered from his seizure fairly quickly. On a happier note, in 2002 we presented the South-West Amateur Premiere of "Great Expectations - The Musical" in the presence of the composer, Laurence Thompson and the story adaptor, Ray Parfitt.

We support various local charities chosen on a yearly basis, generally those with a connection within the membership, covering things from the Mayor of Ferndown's Appeal for Wimborne Hospital, League of Friends Poole Hospital, Stroke Clubs, Cancer Research, Alzheimers, Help for Heroes, Waggy Tails and so forth.

But it's not all work, we do have a varied programme of social events organised by our excellent Social & Fund Raising Committee, which members of the public have been invited to attend. Garden parties, BBQ's, skittles evenings, jumble sales, the annual Christmas dinner dance (needless to say there's always a raffle to which the members give their whole-hearted support). You'll generally find our cake stall at the Wimborne Folk Festival, which does take a lot or organising but it's certainly proved popular and profitable over the years due to the sheer hard work of our members. Parties are constantly being organised to support local groups within the area, the Curtain Call Awards evening and enjoyable evenings out - yes, we do find time to put on shows as well...

As with every company we are constantly looking to welcome new members into our midst, on stage, back stage, front of house, whichever takes your fancy. For further details "Go To" our Where Do We Meet and How to Join Us pages. (Use buttons on Home Page)

We are indeed fortunate to have an enthusiastic company who approach each show with genuine enjoyment and a dedicated committee who diligently carry out their individual tasks usually without complaint but who always remain cheerful and optimistic. With this support behind us we look forward to entertaining our audiences for many years to come.

Presidents
We wish to thank Barry Howard - our President from 2001 - 2005, for his interest and support. Our previous President is one of our founder members, Gena Starkey, who accepted the honour from our Chairman, Terry Holbert, on stage after the final performance of "Guys and Dolls" in front of the company and a packed house. Gena's 50 years of service to the amateur theatre was also recognised on that occasion as Chairman Terry also presented her with her N.O.D.A. 50 year medal and certificate. Sadly Gena passed away Feb 2010, being very much active in our society and our musical director right up to her passing, she was loved by everyone who knew her, both young and old. To remember Gena, it was decided that the committee would introduce an award for the Young Achiever of the year, this would be called the Gena Starkey award, dedicated to Gena for her love and encouragement to the Youth of Phoenix.

Our Current President is Mike Hutchings after being with phoenix for many years and having had the role of secretary, we were delighted to invite him to become our president.