SOUTHEND Operatic and Dramatic Society, affectionately known as SODS, is one of the oldest operatic societies in the country, having been founded in 1890.
The society’s first production was Robin Hood in 1893, and since then SODS has presented 231 shows. Many of these were productions that were popular at the time and had been hits in the West End. The operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan have also been popular over the years, with The Pirates of Penzance having been staged seven times.
SODS has balanced operatic works with musicals, and these have provided the bulk of the programme in recent decades. Classics such as Rogers and Hammerstein’s hits The Sound of Music, The King and I, and South Pacific have always been popular with audiences, along with British family favourites, such as Lionel Bart’s Oliver!
Yet SODS hasn’t been afraid to tackle more contemporary material, and has staged productions of shows such as Bonnie and Clyde, Rent and Rock of Ages in recent years.
Following a long stint at the Cliffs Pavilion, SODS returned to the Palace Theatre in 2014 for La Cage Aux Folles, with the beautiful Edwardian theatre still the society’s home.
After a Covid-19-enforced lay-off of two years, SODS returned to the Palace in November 2021 to present Scrooge!, which was the society’s 100th show at the theatre and was performed nearly a century after the society’s first production there. SODS will be presenting Oliver! at the Palace this November.