<p class="font_8"><span style="font-weight:bold;">Local performers puttin’ on their Top Hats for next show</span></p>

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<p style="" class="font_8"><span style="">A local theatre group have been dusting off their top hats, white ties and tails over the last few months in preparation for their next big performance. Dartford Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society (DAODS) are hard at work in rehearsals for Irving Berlin’s classic musical comedy Top Hat, which opens in October in Dartford’s Orchard Theatre.</span></p>

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<p style="" class="font_8"><span style="">Based on the 1936 film of the same name, Top Hat was first brought to the stage in 2011 starring Strictly Come Dancing winner Tom Chambers. The show&nbsp;brings the glamour of Hollywood’s golden age and the glorious, tap-dancing magic of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to the stage. Packed full of Berlin’s greatest hits including,&nbsp;Cheek to Cheek, Top Hat, White Tie &amp; Tails, Let’s Face the Music &amp; Dance&nbsp;and&nbsp;Puttin’ on the Ritz,&nbsp;it&nbsp;tells the story of Broadway star Jerry Travers who dances his way across Europe to win the heart of society girl Dale Tremont. But things don’t go according to plan and a case of mistaken identity soon sends things off course.</span></p>

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<p style="" class="font_8"><span style="">The Society has been rehearsing towards the October performances since the beginning of May, with a cast of over 40 local performers meeting twice a week at their headquarters, Heathfields Hall in Dartford. ‘This show is known for its music and specifically the dance sequences made so famous in the original black and white film’, says the show’s Director Alex Tyrrell. ‘So we have worked incredibly hard to recreate the look and feel of those moments. It’s involved everyone sharing in the same vision of what we want to achieve, from myself as director but also our choreographer and our wardrobe department. Ultimately it will be the people on stage that will turn our ideas into reality and everyone is really pulling together to make the show as fantastic as it can be.’</span></p>

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<p style="" class="font_8"><span style="">DAODS last production at the Orchard Theatre was West Side Story and they will be looking to replicate the box office success of that show where most performances were nearly sold out. To this end the Society has been promoting Top Hat in a variety of ways online as well as with performances at Dartford Festival and in Dartford Town Centre. ‘The feedback from our audiences is always extremely positive and we know that many people come back to see us time and again’, says Chairman Paul Farlie. ‘Our challenge is to ensure that we get the word out there so we can attract new audiences and spread the word about what we do. Ultimately we serve the community so we want to make sure they get to see the benefits of our work.’</span></p>

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<p style="" class="font_8"><span style="">This show will be followed by a family favourite; Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, which will again be performed at the Orchard Theatre in April 2018. The Society is always looking for new talent, both on and off-stage, and anyone who is interested in getting involved should email</span></p>

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<p style="" class="font_8"><span style="">·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Top Hat is being performed from 10th – 13th October at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford. Tickets: 01322 220000 or</span></p>

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<p style="" class="font_8"><span style="">For more information on this release or DAODS, email or call 07984 863642.</span></p>

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<p style="" class="font_8"><span style="">Editor’s notes:</span></p>

<p style="" class="font_8"><span style="">·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; DAODS was formed in 1906 when three residents decided to form a local operatic society to offset ‘the perceived lack of facilities for entertainment’ in Dartford. A newspaper advert sought ‘gentlemen and young ladies with good voices and good figures’. The group’s first show, performed in Conservative Hall in Spital Street, was The Mikado in April 1907</span></p>

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<p style="" class="font_8"><span style="">·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Comprising a large cross-section of the community from Dartford and beyond, DAODS’ members range from the youth group, which starts at nine years old, to the group’s oldest member, aged 70-plus. The society has more than 170 members plus a subsidiary, the Good Companions Singing Group, which visits local organisations such as nursing homes</span></p>

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<p style="" class="font_8"><span style="">·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Former DAODS stars, including Lara Pulver and Rebecca Thornhill, have won Olivier Awards and appeared on primetime television and the West End (Pulver – Gypsy/Sherlock; Thornhill - Matilda/Chicago)</span></p>

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Heathfields Hall

Heath Lane






Dartford Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society

Registered Charity Number: 295 226