75 Years…and still tapping!


June 1 2020: Due to the current restrictions on gatherings over 50 people, we have decided to cancel our planned 75th anniversary celebration for this year. Once it is safe to gather again, we look forward to celebrating in person.
If you have already purchased a ticket, we will be in touch soon. If you have any questions, please contact gm@victoriaonstage.ca

It all started back in 1945 when six young women bonded over a love of musical theatre and decided to do something about it. Norah, Bernice and Gwynedd Hughes, Barbara Gurney, Pamela Terry and Jean Harness founded the Victoria Gilbert and Sullivan Society before the year was over. Within ten months they produced their first hit production, HMS Pinafore. After this first success the society mounted six more Gilbert and Sullivan productions at the Royal Theatre. Into the 1950s the society began branching out to include Broadway musicals, prompting the society to change its name in 1952 to the Victoria Gilbert and Sullivan Operatic Society and eventually to Victoria Operatic Society in 1962.

Since then we’ve been hard at work creating musicals featuring the talents of our volunteers both on and off the stage. VOS has produced over 140 musicals, from well known classics to modern favourites and a few Victoria premieres! In 2019 our dedicated volunteers gave approximately 34,000 hours of their time to VOS. We are proud to carry on the work started by that band of intrepid women in 1945.

This year we have more to celebrate than ever before! We kicked off our celebrations with our best selling production in 75 years, Mamma Mia! Abba fever definitely took hold on Vancouver Island in 2019. At our AGM in September 2019 the vote was unanimous, the society officially changed it’s name to Victoria On Stage Musical Theatre or just VOS Musical Theatre for short. And now the new decade brings us even more to celebrate. In June we will host our official 75th anniversary party and you’re all invite! Check out the details below.

Did you know:

-Radio CJVI used to broadcast live from the rehearsal hall, allowing folks to tune in and hear what we were up to before opening night.
-in 1946 tickets cost $1.50
-we began producing two shows a year in 1950
-in 1952 actress Marjorie McKay assumed the lead roll in The Red Mill three days before opening.
-between 1958 and 1964 we did 4 radio play versions of classic musicals like Oklahoma. These radio plays combined songs and the script with narration.
-the budget for our 1965 production of The Merry Widow was $6500 and marked our first performance at the new McPherson Playhouse!
1968‘s production of The Desert Song featured a live mule on stage
-the costumes for 1969′s The King and I were lost in transit and had to be air-lifted in when they were finally located, arriving just in time for opening night.
-in 1972 our production of Oliver marked the first time a VOS show was held over due to popular demand
1985‘s Guys and Dolls featured set pieces built by the construction students at Belmont Secondary School
-tickets in 1991 were $14 to $16
-A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in 1993 was to be VOS’s last summer production, until 2019‘s summer production of Nunsense.
-both 1994 AND 1984‘s production for The Sound of Music featured a pregnant actress playing one of the nuns

Check Out Past Shows