Ely theatre group celebrates 50 years with new show


Ely-based Campaign Amateur Theatre is celebrating its 50th year.


The amateur musical theatre company was started by Graham Fletcher and his wife Janet in 1968.

It was predominately made up of RAF personnel from The Princess of Wales Hospital who wanted to perform a production of West Side Story.

To do so they recruited extra cast members from the local youth club. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be as the leading man broke his leg, the leading lady fell ill and other cast members were posted abroad.

At this point CAT may have folded had it not been for a loan from Cancer Research of £100.

The money enabled the company to stage their first musical production of Oliver in 1969. It was held at Needham Hall with the St Mary's Church choir making up the cast of Fagin's gang.

It was at this time that Campaign Amateur Theatre became known simply as CAT. The original logo was based on Henry the cat who belonged to founding members Rex and Jan Lane.

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The company has made regular donations to Cancer Research UK, Strangeways laboratory, and other cancer charities over the last five decades.

To date, it has raised thousands of pounds for Cancer Research and at the last production - The Full Monty in October 2018 - £427.98 was raised for Prostate Cancer UK.

Mel Abraham, of the group, said: "We hope to continue donating money to help others and are extremely grateful to members and audiences for their generous support.

"CAT aims to offer a variety of shows each year which appeal to a wide audience.

"As we are celebrating 50 years we feel it is the perfect opportunity to look back over some of our most memorable performances.

"These have ranged from the traditional favourites such as Oklahoma and Calamity Jane to Classics such as My Fair Lady and Oliver.

"We also performed an annual pantomime for many years and Gilbert & Sullivan Operettas.

"In more recent years CAT has brought some modern and new shows to Ely including Spend, Spend, Spend, Rent, The Wedding Singer & Sister Act. "We also performed The Owl & The Pussycat, an original musical written and scored by Peter Crussell and Rowan Alfred.

"To celebrate all that CAT has achieved over the past 50 years, we will be performing a showcase of songs from past, present and future productions."

The performances at Needham's Hall, Ely College, take place tonight (Thursday May 30) and tomorrow (Friday June 1) at 7.30pm. There is also a 2.30pm matinee on Saturday. Tickets, which cost £13 per adult and £10 for under 12s, are on sale from www.ticketsource.co.ukcately

If you would like to be part of CAT and be involved in their productions email cat-membership@outlook.com

Anyone who would like to become a Friend of CAT or any businesses who would like to sponsor the society and help keep musical theatre thriving in Ely should also email the same address.