1980'S & 1990'S
Another premiere was presented by the Society in 1980,
"A Waltz Dream", which was the Southern Amateur premiere of this show. Glyn Evans was the M.D. and
Phillipe Perrottet the producer.
1981 saw the sad passing of E.H. Marley who had been President of the Society since the group had restarted in 1947 and was the only remaining founding member from 1922.
The production of "Lisa" in 1982 saw three generations of the family Clifft on stage, seven members of this family, Ruby Clifft, Debbie Terwey, Kirsty Terwey, Nicholas, Adam and Emma Clifft and Howard Thompson - surely another record for the Society! "The Vagabond King" was once again revived that year to celebrate the Society's Diamond anniversary with Valerie Fardell as producer and Glyn Evans as M.D.
In 1983 "Fiddler on the Roof" was presented for the first time followed by "The Merry Widow". Two good shows in one year, both artistically and financially. On to 1984 and "The Most Happy Fella", this production was most notable for the leading man, David Luck, who succumbed to a throat virus on the Friday performance. Luckily the late Ken Dixon, a friend of the Society, was on hand and agreed to sing from the pit while David mimed on stage. A member of the audience was later heard to say 'Doesn't David Luck sound like Ken Dixon?' The audience was also able to buy alcohol for the first time at Hornsey Town Hall, as the Society had obtained a licence to run a bar.
"The Sound of Music" followed in 1985 with the children stealing the show as always. The programme design won 1st place in the London Division of the NODA Competition. 1985 also saw the launch of Young Finchley with its first presentation "Oliver!", which was a great success. Some of those children went on to become members of the Society and are still with us today.
"Countess Maritza" was presented in April 1986, as the Southern Amateur premiere, followed by "The Dancing Years", the only Ivor Novello show the Society has staged to date.
Another 'leading light of the Society' sadly passed away in 1988. In her time with the Society Di Chilcott was not only a performer but also became Production Secretary, Make-Up Artist and Chairperson. She is remembered by the Society today by the Di Chilcott Award, which is presented annually to a member who has shown artistic achievement during the year.
Other than this loss to the Society all continued smoothly until Haringey Council decided to close Hornsey Town Hall Theatre, as it was a loss-making venue.
All seemed lost as the Town Hall was the only real venue left in the area suitable for staging large scale shows. This predicament also affected other local societies and so with this in mind, Finchley teamed up with Wood Green Operatic Society and formed "Greenfinch", the idea being to raise as much money as possible to purchase the theatre for all local groups. A lot of hard work went into raising funds, but unfortunately, not nearly enough to turn a splendid ambition into reality. FFBOS' last show at the Hornsey Town Hall was "Guys & Dolls" in April 1990.
The Society, having been forced to look for alternative premises, took a gamble on the newly built Millfield Theatre in Edmonton, especially as it was not assured that audiences from the Finchley area would be prepared to travel those few extra miles and whether the Society could attract a new audience from the Enfield area. With trepidation we presented an old favourite "The Mikado", but any fears were soon dispelled as the Millfield became our new 'home' and it wasn't long before we had sell-outs with popular shows such as "Fiddler on the Roof", Autumn 1991, and many thereafter.
1992/3 the Society celebrated its 70th anniversary by presenting "Carmen" and "The Merry Widow". Ena Constable completed 10 years of presidency for the Society and Pat O'Connell retired after a 2 year stint as Chairman. The Society welcomed back Debbie Terwey to play the title role in "The Merry Widow" and Val Fardell as producer.
It is of interest that at that time Hon. Members yearly subscription was £6.50.
In 1993 the Society presented "My Fair Lady" with Cheryl Grosse's Eliza to Ken Dixon's Professor Higgins. At this time John Weatherley took over as Chairman - for the first time - and Carol Beckett moved from the props room to become the Company Secretary until 1997.
In 1994 the Society presented "The Pirates of Penzance" and "The Gipsy Baron", which saw the arrival of Cathy Hammond-Smith. She has since been in many productions, been Company Secretary and Chairperson and, with her husband Alun - who also had served as Chairman - ran the Front of House on many occasions.
1994 saw the sad passing of three stalwarts of the Society. David Williams, who had joined the Society in 1975, took part in over 21 productions and contributed in many ways to the running of the company. Cyril Haverly, who was the Society's first Front of House Manager at the Millfield and remained so for 6 further productions and Ken Bristow who became the Society's Treasurer in 1947 and remained in that position for 39 years until 1986 when he retired.
"How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying", our spring production 1995, was entered the following year in the Waterford Festival and won 6th place. "Orpheus in the Underworld" was revived in the same year.
Mark Bordell took over as Chairman and remained in the role until 1998. In the same year the Society saw another sad loss when Sidney Chaplin, a loyal member since 1978, died after a short illness.
In 1996 the Society produced "Hello Dolly" with a new production team - the two Steves - Steve Liversidge (producer) and Steve Povey (M.D.) and "Brigadoon", which had sad connotations as Jan Clarke, who played in the Society's 1977 production, died in July of that year. Known as a dancer and actress Jan, in later life, was a 'reader in' at auditions.
For our 75th anniversary in 1997 the Society produced two shows by the great musical duos - Rodgers and Hammerstein and Gilbert and Sullivan, the shows being "Carousel" and "Iolanthe". During this time the Society also started a concert group to raise extra funds.
One of the most controversial musicals the Society has ever undertaken came in 1998 - "Cabaret" directed by John Basham, which stretched the company to new heights and is still talked about today. This was followed by "Charlie Girl".
1999 and the Society and Millfield Theatre was overrun with boys. "Oliver!" was another box office hit and saw Glyn Evans hang up his baton after more than 300 performances with the Society. In the same year "Guys & Dolls" was revived for the first time since the Society had left Hornsey Town Hall. The Society welcomed the return of Ann Hertler-Smith as producer and also welcomed Ricardo Gonzalez as M.D., who has since become a regular face in the "pit".