The Court Moor Palace of Varieties was founded in 1983 by John Paine who at that time was Chairman of the Court Moor School Society. It was an attempt to get away from the traditional fundraising events that had characterised the Society’s activities in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

Initially the proposal to organise a Victorian Music Hall evening in the School was greeted with some scepticism by other members of the Committee and there were doubts as to whether or not it would be supported. And indeed the first “open” meeting attracted a Chairman and two pianists, but no performers. However the three of them knew enough people to mount a show in May of 1983 for which tickets were priced at a guinea. There was free bar and a Ploughman’s Supper in the interval. Many of the audience came in costume and although the amount raised was a meagre £32, the evening was deemed such a success that it was included in the programme of events for the following year.

As its reputation widened, performers from beyond the School community were attracted and have remained an important part of the Company ever since. Many pupils from the School have also taken part over the years, some of them remaining with us throughout their twenties. All in all, a count of past and present performers made when we celebrated our Twentieth Season in 2002 numbered an incredible 211. Only one had appeared in all twenty shows, but there were 3 on stage in 2002 who had appeared in the first show in 1983.

We are fortunate to have a keen and talented Musical Director and also the services of a former parent who is able to choreograph our chorus sets to good effect – despite the wide age range of the performers. The Chorus now regularly numbers between 30 and 40 people ranging from 5 to 65+

In recent years we have strayed from our roots in Victorian Music Hall and have permitted more modern material to creep in  as our chorus has looked for something more demanding to perform. However we have retained the overall format with a Chairman to introduce the acts and interact with the audience.

We have also increased the number of performances from a single night in 1983 to 4 in recent years.

In the mid eighties we did take the show “on Tour” with performances in Camberley, Yateley, Farnborough, Church Crookham and even in the Maltings in Farnham, however we now concentrate our performances in the Hall at Court Moor to save the expense and complexity of moving the increasingly sophisticated lighting and sound equipment that we now use.

Since 1987 we have been providing entertainment for the Yateley Lions who bring a number of elderly people in buses from care homes in the area to enjoy the show. In addition we usually dedicate one evening during the week to charities other than the School. They undertake all the advertising, ticket sales and front-of-house work in exchange for the proceeds. The Friday and Saturday remain fundraisers for the School Society and typically raise £2,000+ .

2006

Court Moor Palace of Varieties will open its doors again for its 24th season with performances on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th June. The first of these (Thursday)  will be a charity performance and the Friday performance will be for the Court Moor School Society.

 

 www.paine.org/home/john.paine/pov.htm