We are saddened to share news that, after several years of ill health, Bill Birch passed away.
There are practically no areas in which Bill did not contribute to PODS since 1992 when he joined our then Drama section which he was to Chair in 1995. Between 1992 and 2016, Bill appeared in 26 PODS shows, including 5 Drama productions 'Rape of the Belt, No Sex Please, We're British, Panic Stations, How the Other Half Loves and Outside Edge.'
After the Drama section disbanded, Bill turned his talents towards our musical productions playing a sister with Barbara Shaw and Jan Simpson in 'Party Pieces' (1993); Fred in 'Anything Goes' (1995 and 2016) and Chief Sitting Bull in 'Annie Get Your Gun' (1997).
Bill was a regular company member in an array of productions from 'The Mikado and Gondoliers', 'The Merry Widow' and 'Secret Garden' to our pantos 'Sleeping Beauty', Jack and the Beanstalk' and 'Robin Hood', as well as 'Scrooge', 'Toad of Toad Hall.' 'Slipper and the Rose' and traditional shows including 'Oliver', 'My Fair Lady', 'Oklahoma' and Carousel.'
A tower of strength (literally) in countless Get-ins and Get-outs, Bill also took to being a member of Stage Crew for 'Hello Dolly', 'Aladdin' and 'Kiss me Kate' and Prompt for 'Pirates of Penzance' (1996). He served on both the former Drama section Committee and PODS Committee for 11 years overall. As PODS first webmaster, Bill was highly instrumental in developing and managing our initial website and adoption of what really was new information technology.
In recent months, Bill moved to Dorset to live in the care of his daughter Ema. His late wife Carol was also a great friend of PODS, providing tremendous support to Stuart on our accounts and auditing. One of Bill's last acts of kindness to PODS was to gift his archive of programmes and memorabilia which formed a large part of our 'expo' during PODS 30th Anniversary celebration in Number 8.
Those who had the privilege and pleasure to tread the boards with Bill, glimpse his fine intellect over wide-ranging topics, or know him as a friend, colleague or neighbour during his decades in Pershore will treasure fond memories of a magnificent, highly valued contributor and friend to PODS.
The PODS family send sincere condolences to Bill's family.
PODS IN LOCKDOWN
Rehearsals for Chicago were suspended in mid march due to the coronavirus lockdown.
We are saddened to share news that Ken Freeman, a much loved and long standing member of the PODS family, passed away on 9/3/20.
In at the start of PODS, Ken appeared in over 30 productions from 1989 - 2002, as well as many of our cabarets within the local community. Ken performed in several Principal roles and was a strong member of the company, together with his late wife Marion. A fine actor and singer, Ken's rich speaking voice was perhaps most memorable as a commanding Chairman in our 1991 'Music Hall', introducing each act reminiscent of Leonard Sachs from tv's former 'The Good Old Days.'
Much admired for his presence on stage, Ken also made an admirable contribution to PODS behind the scenes. Until 2008, he helped with set construction for several shows, was a member of stage crew for 7 more and a team member front of house and for rehearsal refreshments.
Those who had the privilege and pleasure to tread the boards with Ken, or to know him as a friend, colleague or neighbour during his decades in Pershore, will treasure fond memories of a true gentleman, friend and helper to PODS.
Sincere condolences go to Ken's family from the PODS family.
NODA 2020 AWARD NOMINATION
We are thrilled to announce that "Alice in Wonderland" has been nomintated in the "Best Musical Performance" category at the annual NODA west midlands awards.
Our President, Jim Hutcheon, has asked that we share the sad news that Peggy Bickerstaff (Jim's beloved mother-in-law and our much loved, long standing member and patron) passed away peacefully.
Peggy (pictured in 1994 in the attachment) was one of our early pioneers and a great character actress who excelled in comedy. Her expressive face and perfect timing proved a joy to audiences across many shows. For example, Peggy played a magnificent 'Laurel' to the late Marion Freeman's 'Hardy' in PODS's 'Music Hall' (1991) while her 'EMU Lake' - also with Marion - in 'Party Pieces' (1994) and various Gracie Field's numbers are unforgettable. In our 1995 production of 'Anything Goes', with just one turn towards the audience and perfectly timed and pitched delivery of the line "She ain't confessing, she's advertising' Peggy brought the house down during Reno Sweeney's earnest confession.
Away from comedy, Peggy powerfully played Grandma Tzeitel in 'Fiddler on the Roof' (1998) and blended her fine voice and stage presence to the company in 'Rags to Riches, Show Boat, Cinderella (1992), Christmas Cracker, Oklahoma (1993), Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, My Fair Lady, Annie Get Your Gun, Sleeping Beauty, and Ten Years On.
Peggy had a smile as broad as her talents and a heart of gold - she was the inspiration behind a one night concert PODS put on at Number 8 to raise much needed cash for the Air Ambulance. Those who had the privilege and pleasure to tread the boards with Peggy, or to know her as a friend, colleague or neighbour in Pershore, will treasure fond memories of great times with Peggy on and off stage.
With sincere condolences, love and best wishes to Jim, Maureen and family,
From the PODS family.
WEST MIDLANDS NODA AWARDS NOMMINATION 2019
This year the society's production of "The Pirates of Penzannce" was nominted in the "Best Musical Production" category. We were also delighted to have been asked to provide the entertainment during the ceremony at Stourbridge Town Hall. We throughly enjoyed putting on our glad rags and revisiting some of the numbers from "The Best of Westend and Broadway" and taking PODS on tour!
NODA LONG SERVICE AWARDS - APRIL 2019
During our AGM on the 3rd of April 2019, twelve of our Society members recieved long service awards which were presented by our local NODA representative Bruce Wyatt. The awards were as follows:
PODS TURNS 30 - JANUARY 2019
On the 27th January the society turned 30 years old. Members, former members and supporters enjoyed a celebration event at Number 8 to mark the special occasion. We enjoyed a look back at footage from previous shows and a trip down memory lane by gathering a plethora of show memorobilia from the past 30 year. The evening finished with drinks and a disco. Special thanks to magnificent MC, Matt Owens; Allan Brodie and Number 8 team for amazing technical and venue support; Heidi Wilson and Ruth Partridge for our fabulous celebration cake (firstname.lastname@example.org);Ellen Honeybunn; Sally Steadman; Lionel Smith; Sue and Geoff Price for catering support, and The Angel Hotel for the pork baps.
ANNUAL MEMORIAL SKITTLES EVENT - 2018
The society had a very enjoyable evening out playing skittles at Pershore Sports Club on the 7th April to compete for the Andrew Clasen memorial cup. Nick Cosnett was the winner. Well done to Lucy Miller who won the killer round. Great night! Looking forward to next year!
NODA COMMENDTION MEDAL - APRIL 2018
At our 2018 AGM on the evening of the 4th of April our fantastic rehearsal pianist and orchestra stalwart Brian Giles was awarded a NODA Commendation Medal for 20 years of service with Pershore Operatic and Dramatic Society. He received a standing ovation from the company. Well done Brian you are a well loved member of the PODS family!
WEST MIDLANDS NODA AWARDS NOMMINATION 2018
The society's production Jack and the Beanstalk was nominated for the NODA West Midlands "Best Pantomime Production" award.
WEST MIDLANDS NODA AWARDS NOMMINATION 2017
On the 23rd April PODS were invited to attend the NODA West Midlands Award ceremony at Stourbridge Town Hall.
We are very proud to have won the "Best Pantomime" award in District 10 for "Cinderella" and to have been nominated for the "Best Musical" award for "Anything Goes".
BEST DIRECTION AWARD - 2017
Congratulations to PODS member Paul Turvey who won the Birmingham and District Theatre Guild 'Colman Kelly Trophy' for Best Direction of a full length musical for 'LEGALLY BLONDE' at Stourbridge Operatic Society.
Paul is currently directing PODYS "Little Shop of Horrors", choreographing for our current show "Half A Sixpence" and will be directing PODS next Pantomime "Jack and The Beanstalk" in December 2017.
Well done Paul. We are super proud!!!
DONATION TO CHARITY - DECEMBER 2016
During Cinderella show week society members gave money instead of exchanging Christmas cards. £85 was raised and has been donated to Pershore Cottage Hospital charitable funds
MAMMA MIA FUND RAISER - SUMMER 2016
PODS "MAMMA MIA Singalong Fundraiser evening was a great success this September. The "one night only" show raised money for the society and £350 was donated to Children in Need.
A big thank you to everyone who supported this event!
We hope to hold a similar event in the Summer of 2017
BEM FOR PODS FOUNDER - 2016
Tremendous congratulations to PODS founder and leader Judy Megarry, recognised June 11th 2016 in the Queen's 90th year birthday honours!
Her Majesty has awarded Judy the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to community music in Pershore, Worcestershire.
Everyone in PODS is delighted for Judy. The BEM is a richly deserved honour for Judy's tireless work and commitment to founding and sustaining our inclusive and successful Society.
Judy inspires PODS members to be the best they can be. Unwavering support and technical expertise from Judy's husband Stuart has seen the pair bring live musical theatre and entertainment to the community in and around Pershore for over 26 years.
Well done Stuart and congratulations Judy!