Rathmines & Rathgar Musical Society

History

Affectionately known as the “R&R” this society has the unique distinction of being the only Musical Society in continuous existence, producing two, maybe three shows a year in the principal Theatres of Dublin without interruption since 1913.

With 99 years under their belt, the R&R have produced over 250 shows with approximately 2,600 performances in Theatres including the Queens Theatre, The Gaiety Theatre and National Concert Hall. But it all started in 1913 at a meeting held in 48 Summerville Park, Rathmines Dublin. C.P. Fitzgerald, who was the young organist at that time in Rathgar’s Church of the Three Patrons, wanted to establish a musical society whose membership would be formed from residents of the Dublin townships of Rathmines and Rathgar.


Initial & Subsequent Early Musical Productions

The first production – Gilbert & Sullivan’s Mikado – was staged by the R&R in the Queen’s Theatre, Pearse Street, Dublin in December 1913. The following year, also in December the society performed for the first time in the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin with another Gilbert & Sullivan operetta Yeomen of the Guard. As the society developed and membership expanded it was decided to complement the society’s Gilbert & Sullivan performances by including other musical comedy productions in its repertoire. In 1915 Planquette’s Les Cloches de Corneville was performed and this broadening of the society’s range of productions afforded its members many different opportunities to use their individual and combined range of musical talents and dramatic skills.

The society has, since its establishment 99 years ago, become a major contributor to the musical theatre life of Dublin city. It has a long and happy association with the Feis Ceoil. In 1946, the R&R presented a cup to be awarded for the best performance of a song from any Light Opera. Later on, the Ford Taylor prize was established for the best performance of a G&S item. Previously the R&R sponsored the Dramatic Cup from 1921 to 1934.


Original Objectives of the R&R

The objectives of the proposed musical society were the study of, and production of, operatic, choral and other high-class musical works. Notwithstanding the passing of the years and even into the 21st century, the society remains faithful to its original objective.


Operational Ethos of the R&R

While the production team, orchestra and technical crews – including lighting and set design – for each of the society’s productions is provided by experienced theatrical professionals, the chorus members and principal line-up that appear on stage remains amateur. This ethos is guarded by the society’s voluntary Executive Committee that is made-up of representatives of all the elements of the society’s interest groups, associate members and corporate supporters.

The R&R also has a great tradition of associate membership for those friends who regularly support its musical productions. It also maintains close links with a host of individuals and organisations that have a keen continuous interest in the musical productions of the R&R.

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