A public meeting was held on Friday 31st October 1924 to see what interest there would be in setting up a local amateur operatic society. There was a good turnout, which resulted in the election of office bearers on 19th November. The President was Mr Charles A Dowswell, Vice-presidents were Provost White and Mr J W Flett, with James Smith as Secretary.
The Orkney Herald commented "...when it was first noised around that musical Kirkwall had formed itself into an operatic society, there was a great deal of head shaking." Nevertheless, the first show, Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, ran for a whole week from 11th to 16th May 1925 to the delight of local audiences. The Orkney Herald reviewer recorded that it "marked a new era in the musical life of the town."
For the next seven years a production running for a full week appeared annually in April or May, and, with the exception of The Rose of Araby in 1932, all of them were well known Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas. In there early years admission prices were 3/6 and 2/ (17½p and 10p). All the productions had extensive and usually good reviews in the local press.
The 1939 production of HMS Pinafore was the society's last before the outbreak of World War II, and it took eleven years for the next show to appear.
The Garrison Theatre at Hatston was the venue for the revival of The Mikado in 1950 with almost 2000 people turning up to see it during it's week's run. In most years since then, KAOS has put on an annual production with shows as varied as My Fair Lady, Cabaret, The Love Potion, Fiddler on the Roof and Cats. The accompanying music has ranged from two pianos to an orchestra of well over thirty players.
As we celebrated our 90th year we were delighted to bring you Les Miserables.
The KAOS constitution is available to view or download on the Library page.