The Stephen Sondheim Society
The Stephen Sondheim Society was re-formed in 1993, with the first
edition of their Newsletter being published in Autumn 1993. This first
edition covered the background to the formation of the Society and
information about those involved in its inception. The following is taken
from the first edition of the Newsletter:
"Welcome to The Stephen Sondheim Society and the first of what is
planned to be a regular series of newsletters ... we extend a very warm
welcome and invite you to subscribe to membership - joining now you will
become a founder member of a group that it is hoped will go from strength
to strength in capturing the increasingly wide body of interest in this
The Society has been formed by a committee of theatre professionals,
journalists, academics and enthusiasts all with a passion for the work of
the composer. The Society's aims and objectives are to promote the work of
Mr. Sondheim; to provide educational and academic material relating to his
work; to develop the widening interest shown both in the UK and abroad
(there is no other such organisation, even in the US!); to collect and
disseminate information about news and listings of major professional and
..The Society also hopes to offer the following:
- Theatre visits arranged to Sondheim productions around the
country, perhaps abroad, and other events, for example lectures.
Participatory workshops and performances in an annual Sondheim weekend
(all ideas welcome).
- Special offers on Sondheim recordings and merchandise available
exclusively to members.
- Your questions on Sondheim shows answered by experts.
- An Annual Dinner.
The Committee Members are as follows:
MARK SHENTON - He set up and edits British Theatre Index, was until
recently, archivist to Cameron Mackintosh and writes for Plays
International and other publications.
STEPHEN BANFIELD - Elgar Professor of Music and Head of the School of
Performance Studies at the University of Birmingham ... see inside for details
of his new book on Sondheim.
KEITH TAYLOR - teaches at Coventry University and is Artistic Director
of Coventry Community Music Theatre, who have performed Merrily, Forum,
West Side Story, Sweeney and The Frogs (in an Olympic swimming
..organised a major Sondheim Conference in 1991 and a World Aids Day
EDWARD CURNESS - proprietor of Dress Circle, London's leading
specialist music store.
IAN MACBEY - has one of the biggest private collections of related
albums and CDs in the UK.
STEVE AUBREY - with wide musical interests ... this includes a close
association with the London Pops Orchestra and the Northern Pops Orchestra
who specialise in show music.
We are pleased to be able to advise you that Mr. Sondheim has endorsed
the formation of the Society. He writes from New York: "I'm flattered and
delighted that you want to resuscitate the Society ... And no, I don't know of
any similar group in the United States, which is probably the healthiest
thing about our country". We have asked Miss Julia McKenzie to be our
patron and she has graciously accepted. "It all sounds very good so far -
well done. Yes, of course I will be happy to continue as patron ... Best
wishes to you all - and thank you for re-forming this Society" her letter
That was the state of play at the beginning. Things have changed
somewhat since then. We are now run by the Chairman, Steve Aubrey, who is
assisted by a paid administrator/editor, Lynne Chapman. Our advisors are
Mark Shenton and Stephen Banfield, and to our patrons Stephen Sondheim and
Julia McKenzie we have recently added the name of Ned Sherrin, responsible
for introducing many of us in the UK to Mr. Sondheim's work with Side By
Side By Sondheim.
The principal aim of the Society is still to promote the works of
Stephen Sondheim in the UK and elsewhere, and to create a greater interest
and appreciation of them by means of circulating information and providing
a focal point where those interested can share such interests.
To achieve this the Society intends:
- To issue regular news and information on current and
forthcoming productions and recordings of the Sondheim works, together
with any items of interest or other matters relevant to Mr. Sondheim.
- To encourage educational projects relating to the works of Mr
Sondheim, including workshops and amateur productions of his works, and to
arrange for members' attendance at such performances where appropriate.
- To arrange theatre parties to professional productions of the works
in London and elsewhere if the demand is sufficient.
- To work in conjunction with Mr. Sondheim in the promotion and
publicising of his works.
- To exchange information relevant to Mr. Sondheim and his works with
members of the Society, the public, or others if requested.
- To maintain a database on all the works and related matters.
- To publish from time to time articles or other works on Mr
Sondheim, his life and achievements.
- If time and resources permit, to create and preserve a record of
Mr. Sondheim's work, wherever possible in written, visual or audio form so
as to establish an archive for the use of members, students and all others
interested in the works of Mr. Sondheim.
- To do all things which are consistent with the above to give full
effect to the Aims of the Society and the promotion of Mr. Sondheim and
The Society currently has around 600 members, including members in
Australia; Austria; Belgium; France; Germany; Ireland; Italy; Japan;
Mexico; New Zealand; Norway; Portugal; Singapore; South Africa; Spain;
Sweden; Switzerland; Netherlands and USA.
We are particularly proud that the World Premiere of Saturday
came about because of the Society. Those of you who either saw the show or
own the CD will know of our involvement. Stephen Banfield organised a
Study Day for the Society in Birmingham, at which some of his students
performed a concert version of the show. This was repeated the following
year at a subsequent Study Day held at The Bridewell Theatre, London, in
the presence of Mr. Sondheim. One of our members, David Oldcorn, asked him
if he would allow the show to be performed, and Mr. Sondheim agreed. The
rest is history.
Other events we have organised have included trips to New York, trips
to shows in London and Leicester, teas and dinners with speakers such as
Julia McKenzie and Ned Sherrin and talks from directors such as Paul
Our administrator is kept busy responding to queries from all over the
world and has recently set up a Society web site which has generated a
great deal of interest. She has also compiled an index to the first 14
Newsletters, which is sent to all new members and is a very useful tool.
For further information about The Stephen Sondheim Society, including
details of membership and how to obtain back copies of newsletters, please
see the Society web site at: http://www.innotts.co.uk/~chapman
Our e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
And our address is:
|The Stephen Sondheim Society|
265 Wollaton Vale
- Lynne Chapman