About YAOS, Edwards House & The Olive Edwards Award

Founded in 1902

Officers of the Society

YAOS President
Charles Clive-Ponsonby-Fane
Geoff Thresh
Geoff Thresh
Mark Rudd
Mark Rudd
Paula Budzynski
Paula Budzynski
David Hallett
David Hallett FCCA
Nigel Bussell
Nigel Bussell
Lorna Murphy Durran
Lorna Murphy Durran

YAOS Officers & Committee

Chairman - Geoff Thresh
   Vice-Chairman - Mark Rudd
Secretary - Paula Budzynski
Treasurer - David Hallett
Business Manager - Lorna Murphy Durran
Stage Director - Nigel Bussell
Sarah Andrew
Guy Burgess
David Burke
Lucy Crane
Clive Jesty
Nick Mountjoy

Edwards House

Edwards House - exteriorYAOS is extremely fortunate to have its own premises, Edwards House. This was made possible with a legacy given to us by the most generous benefactors and prominent past members, Olive & John Edwards.

Edwards House is where we rehearse, have regular meetings, and make props, costumes and scenery. The rehearsal area is over 2,100 sq ft, nearly the size of the stage at the Octagon Theatre.

Edwards House - interiorEdwards House has been greatly improved over the years, with new windows, a raised roof, central heating, new electrics, an extension for the workshop area and the provision of disabled facilities.  A new sprung floor has also been installed & the latest energy-saving LED lighting has also been added. Outside, the car park has been resurfaced and a new perimeter fence erected.

Our address is:

Edwards House, 14 Buckland Road, Yeovil, BA21 5EA

Edwards House is also available for hire to other local groups - please see Edwards House Bookings.

History of YAOS

Yeovil Amateur Operatic Society was founded in 1902 when it put on a concert at The Assembly Rooms in the Constitutional Club, where it performed Gilbert & Sullivan's 'Trial by Jury'. Over 100 years later we are still carrying on the tradition.

We now perform two shows a year - March and October - at The Octagon Theatre in Yeovil, which is conveniently situated in the centre of the town with good parking facilities. The theatre seats 620 and has one of the largest stages in the South West.  The Society has won over 20 National Awards in the last 25 years (more than any other in the West Country).  Our range of productions stretches from the big hits like South Pacific, Oklahoma and The Sound of Music, to the challenging Sweeney Todd, intermingled of course with the many Savoy Operettas.

The roots of the Society lie deep in Yeovil and the surrounding area of Somerset and Dorset. Some families have been members since the very beginning, many have newly arrived; all have enjoyed the opportunity to perform before the footlights. A few who started with us in their youth have flourished into national stars on stage, film and television.

Charitable Status

Yeovil Amateur Operatic Society is a registered charity and 'YAOS' is its working name. YAOS® is also a registered Trade Mark of Yeovil Amateur Operatic Society. The Charity Registration Number is 272621.

YAOS is entirely self-funding and its financial support is obtained mainly from theatre ticket sales, as well as receiving generous contributions from its patrons and commercial sponsors.  The society also helps to raise funds for other charitable organisations, with many thousands of pounds donated to local worthy causes over the years.

YAOS Productions Ltd

YAOS Productions Ltd (YPL) is a limited company, wholly-owned by Yeovil Amateur Operatic Society (YAOS).

YPL is a trading subsidiary of YAOS and deals with the business aspects of producing its stage shows. YPL hires the theatre, costumes, sound and lighting, as well as the Director, Musical Director and orchestra. YPL receives income principally from the ticket sales of theatre seats.

YPL has been formed because the Charity Commission recommends that any charity with a trading operation should be structured in this way, to help protect the parent charity against commercial risk. The charitable status and aims of YAOS are not affected by YPL. The directors of YPL are all members of YAOS and do not receive any remuneration or other compensation for their services to the company. YPL operates as a not-for-profit business and any surpluses are donated to YAOS.

YAOS Productions Ltd is incorporated as a private company limited by shares, registered in England & Wales, company number 9223178. The registered office address is Edwards House, Buckland Road, Yeovil, Somerset, BA21 5EA and this address may also be used for general correspondence with the company.

'YAOS Productions' is a business name of YAOS Productions Ltd.

The Olive Edwards Award

This annual Award was inspired by Olive and John Edwards, who were dedicated and loyal members of the Society for many years. Before she was married, Olive Duggan was a leading principal from 1930 to 1939 and was also a member of the Committee. In the 1947 production of 'Merrie England' (the first show after the War), Olive is listed in the programme as Olive Edwards and John Edwards is the Business Manager. They both continued their association with the Society throughout their lives and it was through their wonderful generosity that the Society was able to buy its own premises, Edwards House.

Olive was a great instigator of encouraging talent, particularly in young people. The Olive Edwards Award is therefore given each year to a younger member who has shown particular dedication and commitment, as well as making an outstanding contribution to the Society. The award consists of a monetary grant with a value of around £250 to help the recipient further their studies in whichever aspect of the arts they wish – singing, dancing, acting or stagecraft. It can take the form of lessons, workshops or any activity they feel will enhanced their talents.

The recipient is chosen by the Committee and announced at the Annual General Meeting. The Award must be used within two years.

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