On Wednesday 22 July 1908 a meeting was held in the George Temperance Hotel, Paisley which resulted in the birth of Paisley Musical and Operatic Society.

The object of the society was “the study and production of opera and thereby to raise funds for charitable purposes”.  The society’s first production The Mikado was staged in the Paisley Theatre during week commencing 7 December 1908. It has continued to perform annual productions to the present day, with the exception of inevitable breaks during the first and second world wars and Covid-19.  Gilbert and Sullivan was very much the preferred choice for the first 60 years of the society’s existence.  To keep abreast of changing tastes and audience appeal, however, it then enchanted audiences with the romance and elegance of Viennese Operetta until the early 1980s.  Continuing to move forward, the popular American musicals were then introduced to the repertoire, which brought a renewed enthusiasm to cast and audiences alike.

A number of venues have been used for our productions over the years.  The Paisley Theatre was our main “home” from 1908 until its closure in 1959, with a few productions also taking place in Paisley Town Hall and the Templar Halls.  Our production of Iolanthe was staged in the Lyric Theatre in Sauchiehall Street and this was the last musical show to be performed in the theatre before it closed.  The Empress Theatre then housed us for the next two years, before we moved on to the Glasgow Concert Hall in 1963.  1968 saw us move to our current venue in the King’s Theatre.

The society has also enjoyed many social occasions, with special celebrations taking place to mark our 50th, 60th, 75th and 100th anniversaries.  Our centenary celebrations in 2008 included a Civic Reception hosted by Renfrewshire Council, our own special Gala Evening and an exhibition in Paisley Museum.

Since its inception in 1908, so many people have worked hard to ensure the society continues to provide top quality productions.  Our founders had a strong belief in the society and their vision has inspired and given great pleasure to so many people over the past 100 years.  It is now our job to keep this vision burning and to move the society forward to meet the ever changing demands of the future.

About us

Management Committee