A concise history of Glasgow Light Opera Club



In 1907, a small group of South-Siders met to form a club for the production of amateur musicals and the support of local charities. Thus the St. Mungo Opera Club was born - a name most suited to a Glasgow club. Its first venture, The Mandarin, was performed in March 1908 in the St. Mungo Halls, Gorbals (now sadly gone), and was followed the next year by The Mikado. Such was the success of these productions, the club was invited to stage its next show in the Royal Princess's Theatre (now The Citizen's Theatre), and in 1910 the club "trod boards" properly for the first time. The Princess's was to be home to the club for the next 18 years.

The club went from strength to strength during this period, frequently winning glowing tributes from the many newspapers then in circulation. Shows such asThe Vagabond King (1930) and the World Amateur Premiere of The Three Musketeers, (1932) were particularly well received.

It was in 1927, however, that the growing sectarian unrest in Ireland made the club change its name to avoid accusations of religious bias, and the St. Mungo Opera Club became the Glasgow Light Opera Club, a name that quickly became synonymous with excellence in singing and production. Indeed, so enthusiastic were the audiences that they often had to sit in the aisles to watch the latest production. (There were no Fire Officers in those days!)

By now the club had performed in the Princess's Theatre, the Theatre Royal, the King's and the Coliseum and had established itself as one of the foremost amateur companies in Glasgow.

After the Second World War, members eagerly reformed the club, and presented a sparkling production of the old favourite, Les Cloches de Corneville, in the Lyric Theatre. Two years later the club was back in the Theatre Royal and in the 1950's played the Citizen's, Lyric, Athenaeum, Empress and Alhambra, eventually settling in the King's in 1957, where almost all future productions would be staged.

From the club's inception in 1907, it has been part of its constitution that it supports charitable causes through its musical endeavours. In recent years CHAS (Children's Hospice Association Scotland) and The Scottish Cot Death Trust have benefited from GLOC Productions.

Kindly provided by George Mitchell, Club Archivist