"One of the most professional amateur musical theatre companies in the UK"
Richmond & Twickenham Times
Since 1927 we’ve put on over a hundred full productions, not to mention the many concerts and cabarets we perform in venues ranging from pubs and fêtes to the Royal Albert Hall and Twickenham Stadium. We've also been seen in films and television programmes, we've sung before royalty on the pitch at major England international rugby matches, and we've appeared in national touring productions of shows like Evita and Whistle Down the Wind for Bill Kenwright. We're also extremely proud of a significant number of our past members who have gone on to enjoy successful professional theatre careers and currently can be seen in national theatre tours, on cruise ships, on the West End stage and even on Broadway!
We won the very first Swan Award for Best Musical Production when the Swans started in 1986 and since the year 2000 we have won the Swan Award for Best Musical no fewer than seven times, with six winners for Best Actress in a Musical, five Best Actor in a Musical, seven Best Supporting Actor/Actress in a Musical and one Best Young Performer. Gill Wade, Peter Holoway and Babette Langford have all won the Swan Accolade Award. We've also won numerous NODA awards over the years, including a number of the prestigious Flame Awards.
1927 Founded by Tracey Arkell.
Shows performed at York House.
1951 Peter Holloway joins as MD, later becoming Director and Chairman
1960 Babette Langford becomes Choreographer
1979 Gill Wade becomes Director
1988 Peter Holloway retires and Mervyn-Bryn-Jones becomes MD. Move to Queen Charlotte Hall.
2000 Move to Richmond Theatre
2002 Memorial plaque for Peter Holloway unveiled at Richmond Theatre
2013 Gill Wade retires
2014 Ian Stark becomes Chairman
2015 Move to Hampton Hill Theatre
2019 Flame Award for inspirational contribution to the pursuit of excellence in theatre.
For the full story click here.
1927 The Gondoliers
. . .
2001 Guys & Dolls
2003 42nd Street
2004 Fiddler on the Roof
2005 My Fair Lady
2006 The Scarlet Pimpernel
2007 Hello Dolly
2010 Smokey Joe's Cafe
2011 Guys & Dolls
2013 The Pirates of Penzance
2013 The Wedding Singer
2014 Whistle Down the Wind
2015 Fiddler on the Roof
2016 Anything Goes
2018 9 to 5 The Musical
2022 Shrek The Musical
2022 Our House
For the full list click here.
CHAIR Ian Stark
Ian has been a member of TOPS since 1969 when he performed opposite Bonnie Langford as one of the Snow Children in Carousel. Ian took over the chairmanship of TOPS in 2014.
VICE CHAIR Alan Charlton
Alan joined TOPS in 1991 for Kiss Me Kate and although he moved out of the area he kept up his amateur stage career by joining his local society. He rejoined TOPS on moving back to the area and took over the role of Vice-Chair in 2014.
TREASURER Simon Fagan
Simon's first show with TOPS was The Pirates of Penzance in 2013. He took over as Treasurer in 2022.
SECRETARY Fiona Stark
Fiona met Ian when she joined TOPS for Guys & Dolls in 1989. Now she's his secretary!
We audition everyone who wants to take part in our main productions. Audition dates are announced at the beginning of each production schedule.
Membership is currently £20 per year for everyone, regardless of status. We also charge a production fee and sometimes a costume supplement, which varies from show to show. The fee for recent productions has been between £80 and £130 depending on how expensive the show is to produce, but we remain one of the most affordable societies in the area. The fee for cabarets and concerts is currently £40.
If you are not appearing on stage you are not expected to pay the production fee. If you only want to audition to see if you get a principal role then you will be asked to pay an audition fee. If you decide to join then this fee will be deducted from your membership. Only paid members or people who have paid the audition fee are allowed to audition.
We rehearse with the full company on Tuesdays and some Sundays in the Whitton/Twickenham area – at the moment this is at Whitton Community Centre, Percy Road, Whitton, close to buses and rail. Principal rehearsals are usually held on a Thursday.
A full rehearsal schedule is published and updated in our Members' Facebook Group, which you can join as a member of TOPS.
If you are unable to attend a rehearsal for which you’re called you are expected to let us know with as much notice as possible in case we need to reschedule other people.
If you regularly miss rehearsals, with or without notifying us, you might be asked to step down from the production.
We don’t demand that you have any pre-existing special skills on stage, but we do expect you to be enthusiastic about TOPS both on and off stage. Of course if you are already a great singer, dancer or actor then that’s an added bonus.
Our productions are to a very high standard but we are still an amateur society and we recognise that one of our responsibilities is to help develop stage skills at all levels.
We are also interested in you if you prefer to be behind the scenes, whether that’s making tea at rehearsals, helping with our marketing activity or building props and scenery.
We’re not naïve, and we realise that people have other commitments at home and at work, but we encourage as much participation in activities beyond just turning up for rehearsals and performances. That includes social and fundraising events.
So, those are the basic facts. If you’re a Facebook user click TOPS Ad Libs to join our closed group for members and friends of TOPS. That’s the best way to get to know what we’re up to week by week. We also have separate Facebook groups for our current production(s) which are only for members who are actively involved in the current production.
We hope that’s given you enough information to make a decision about whether TOPS is right for you. If you'd just like to check us out before committing, ask about coming to watch a rehearsal. If you haven’t already, let us know a little bit about yourself – any stage experience or other talents, what singing voice type you are (if you know), as well as contact details (phone, email etc). You can send this, and any other questions you may have, in a private message via Facebook or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope to see you at a rehearsal soon!
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