"The Arcadians", an Edwardian musical comedy, was the Society's
1938 production. The producer was Mr. Laurie Lingard from
Sheffield, who also played the dual role of James Smith and Simplicitas.
Mrs. Lottie Houseley, who was one of the oldest members of the Society,
performed the leading role of Mrs. Smith.
The above photograph is of four male members of the chorus. The
quartet are, from the left: Bill(?) Housley, Robert (Bob) Wicks,
Eric Beardow and Arthur Tibbs.
Performances were given every night of the week and in 1938 the
Society tried something different to ensure better audiences on
the first night. They made it a 'popular night' which meant that
seats were offered more cheaply than on other nights and the experiment
resulted in a full house.
The Gondoliers, February 1939
The following year some of the same
gentlemen were amongst the cast of Gilbert & Sullivan's "The
Gondoliers", which was the last of the twelve productions
of the inter War years and was the second time the Society
had performed the opera in the 1930s. Almost all their productions
since the group reformed in 1927 had been held at the Ritz
Cinema on Causeway Lane.
Whilst hindered at pre-performance rehearsals by sickness,
the members "overcame all their difficulties in presenting
a sparkling performance" when it came to the opening
night. Sam Fowkes, who apparently had a magnificent bass
voice, reprised his 1930 role as Don Alhambra de Bolero.
Others from the 1930 production included Clarice Lill and
A. S. Morten.
Three thousand people saw the show and the house was packed
for the final performance.
The gentlemen of the chorus in 1939, pictured above, were
Messrs. D. Birds, G. Dicken, P. Dennis, J. Fifoot, W. G.
Houseley, R. Hole, H. R. Harding, H. Turner and R. Wicks.
At the Society's annual meeting in April it was announced
that the production had made a small profit of just £5.
There was not to be another opera in Matlock until 1947
and the Society lost some members in the intervening years.
Bob Wicks (left and top left above) was to join the Royal
Air Force and his grand-daughter was told he was in Coastal
Command. He was Killed in Action on 21 July 1941, aged 25.
He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Runnymede
Arthur Tibbs was still performing at the time of
the Society's Golden Jubilee in 1957, and also involved as
Chairman of both the Management and Casting Committees. He
had played principal parts at some time in his operatic career.
Eric Beardow was another stalwart of the Society and became
Hon. Secretary. During the
war he was a special constable in Matlock. He was heavily
involved with the Society's post war revival.
County School Band Read There is a link between the Society and
Names on Matlock's War Memorial, WW2
 "Derby Daily
Telegraph", 9 March 1938.
Full House for "Arcadians". Splendid Matlock Production.
 "Derby Daily Telegraph", 15
February 1939. Gondoliers. Clever Matlock Performance.
 "Derby Daily Telegraph",
20 February 1939.
 "Derbyshire Times", 21