The Douglas Choral Union (DCU) first took to the stage in 1896, and we have since delivered well over 100 shows of superior quality. With our spiritual home in the magnificent Gaiety Theatre, a night out to watch a DCU show is undoubtedly an annual highlight of the Manx social calendar.
Today our productions are second only to the professional shows found in London’s West End – though many patrons believe that our shows are just as good! It should be no real surprise considering the talent that’s available on Island but that’s only one very important part of the equation. The DCU employs some of the country’s top directors, choreographers and musical directors who bring a wealth of professional experience with them. Coupled with professionally built sets, props and costumes, it is little wonder we can compete favourably with any company in Britain.
We set ourselves very high standards – standards that were rewarded in 2009 with a license to perform the very first amateur production of Les Misérables anywhere in the British Isles. ‘Les Mis’ was a massive success, receiving standing ovations, critical acclaim, scintillating reviews and industry awards. The licensees were also impressed, and they immediately afforded the DCU the license to stage another top show – Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. However, the premier productions didn’t stop there and, having received the personal approval of Sir Cameron Mackintosh, the DCU were delighted to bring the massive hit musical Miss Saigon to the Isle of Man.
Whilst the Society isn’t afraid of breaking new ground or challenging our audience, it also embraces all the traditions of musical theatre. We were delighted to bring back two of the all-time classics, My Fair Lady and the rip-roaring Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, to the Gaiety stage in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
There’s no doubt that these shows have propelled the DCU to new heights and it’s become our mission to stage a production of this calibre every year. Our task, however, is made that little bit easier with the continued support of our sponsors and the creativity afforded to us by our top Director, Tara Wilkinson.
After staging our first fully-blown rock opera last year with The Who’s Tommy, we now eagerly look forward to the new year, when the Douglas Choral Union will proudly present the Island Premier of Sister Act. This funky new musical comedy about a nun on the run is bursting with comic vitality, slick choreography and witty dialogue. It’s the ultimate family show to brighten up your winter nights!