In 1913 The Winchester Amateur Operatic Society presented their first show, The Pirates of Penzance.

The programme shows many members of the Winchester Dramatic Society, established 1863, were in the cast and backstage.

Close links have remained and now the two groups have joined forces to bring a Summer Festival in the beautiful gardens of Wolvesey Palace.

The Festival opens on July 14 with the Chesil Theatre, as Winchester Dramatic Society is now known, performing one of Shakespeare’s best loved comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It will be directed by Sarah Hawkins.

As well as appearing on stage and directing at the Chesil, she brings a wealth of experience in outdoor productions and Shakespeare from her years as Head of English Literature at Peter Symonds College.

WMOS swing aboard on July 21 with their 2020 approach to the 1913 G&S operetta.

Suzanne Hall, the chairman of the society takes the helm.

She has a fine reputation as actor, singer, dancer and choreographer and directed her first WMOS show in 2007.

She has been in charge for several more productions including the stunning Singing in the Rain in 2018.

Both directors have won much acclaim from audiences and NODA Awards for their high standards.