Learn about where our society started
In 1918, St. Hilda's Glee Club of Heaton Park, located in Prestwich, rejoiced as the Great War ended, welcoming back men from the Western Front.
Throughout World War II, this exceptional society continued to entertain with all-female casts. Evidence suggests the existence of the Prestwich Amateur Dramatic Society (PADS) since November 1887, possibly merging with the Glee Club to form the Prestwich and District Operatic Society (PADOS). In 1919, PADOS presented their first full-length Operetta, "Trial by Jury," leaving a lasting artistic legacy in the community.
A big step forward
Over the past century, our society has graced numerous prestigious venues, from local church halls and schools to cinemas and distinguished locations like The Houldsworth Hall in Deansgate, Manchester. We've had the pleasure of performing at notable establishments such as The Dancehouse Theatre, The Police College, and civic halls, each one adding to our rich tapestry of experiences.
One particularly enchanting era unfolded at The Victoria Theatre in Salford, where for an incredible 13 years, we staged captivating plays and musicals that left audiences spellbound. Regrettably, this magnificent theater now stands dormant, patiently awaiting a touch of magic to breathe life into its grand halls once more.
A significant milestone in our journey took place in 1976, when we secured a lease on the former Prestwich Library. This space would soon become our cherished haven, known as PADOS House — a rehearsal headquarters, social hub, and workshop. However, in 1991, vandals breached our sanctuary, igniting a devastating fire that ravaged the premises. Despite the severity of the damage caused by both fire and water, the indomitable spirit of our members prevailed.
United in purpose, we rallied to the cause and, within a mere six months, transformed the ashes into what we proudly call PADOS Studio Theatre. With its intimate tiered seating, accommodating an audience of 64, our theater now showcases captivating week-long productions, while the joyous spirit of our pantomimes lingers a little longer each season. We extend our deepest gratitude to the multitude of members who selflessly contributed to this remarkable transformation, and we are especially indebted to our esteemed counterparts at Whitefield Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, whose generous support and collaborative efforts, including a celebratory fundraising dinner, played a pivotal role in restoring our cherished abode.
Where we are now
The society now proudly features an Adult group, consistently showcasing two or three captivating plays each season, a grand musical production (held at the prestigious Bury Met Theatre), a vibrant Junior group (ages 7-11 years), and an exciting Youth group (ages 12 to 18 years).
All of these groups have risen to the challenge of emulating the success of West End hit shows and groundbreaking new-wave theatre.
Our committee now includes individuals who began their journey in the Youth Group. As those of us who once faced the initial hurdle of acquiring our own venue, we find solace in the fact that PADOS is in safe hands with people who still keep the spirit alive for future audiences and members to come.