After 50 years, Twickenham Operatic Society director bids farewell (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)
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After 50 years, Twickenham Operatic Society director bids farewell
One of the borough’s most respected arts executives, and an elected member of the Richmond Upon Thames Arts Council, is retiring after a happy 50 years as director of Twickenham Operatic Society (Tops).
Gillian Wade, still the president of Tops, will be hanging up her directing hat to retire with her husband Colin Wade in Salisbury.
She said: “Since I was five years old in 1950 when my father Peter Holloway joined Tops as musical director I have known Tops and the place it took in our Holloway family life. As my father was producer and musical director of the Hounslow Operatic Company as well our lives revolved around rehearsals especially as my mother, Olive, was one of the principals of the company.”
Mrs Wade’s last show as director for Tops was the Pirates of Penzance, which coincidentally was the first production she starred in with The Hounslow Light Opera Company in 1958, when she embarked on her drama career.
She joined Tops in 1963 and took part in opera the Mikado and 16 years later in 1979 was asked to direct Camelot for the society.
Since then she has directed every Tops show, except for 1992 when she lived in America.
Mrs Wade said: “We did many shows in York House and finally in 1987 we found that our audiences were bigger than the seating York House would allow so we made the decision to move to Queen Charlotte Hall in Richmond.
“There followed a long and happy time at Queen Charlottes until 2000 when we made the giant leap to Richmond Theatre. For Tops to perform at Richmond Theatre was a dream my father had always cherished and he was able to see us perform there before he died at the age of 92 in 2002.
“I have so many happy memories of my time with Tops but I leave knowing it is in safe hands, my great nephew Daniel Stark played the lead in the Pirates of Penzance and I am thrilled the baton has been passed to the third generation of our family who continues to perform with the company that has played such an important part of my life.”
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