A little bit about The IDOLS
(The Infirmary Dramatic, Operatic & Literary Society)
The IDOLS have performed musical shows in Leicester for over 60 years.
Shows are always performed during October at The Little Theatre.
Rehearsals are Tuesday & Thursday evenings (19:30 - 22:00) at the Leicester Royal Infirmary Physiotherapy Department as we were originally set up by the doctors and nurses at the hospital.
As a registered charity the IDOLS have raised over £100,000 for locally causes & donated funds back to the LRI due to the societies origins.
Past members of the IDOLS family have gone on to secure places at prestigious stage schools around the world, graced the West End stage, toured on cruise ships. In 2016 one past member made it though to the live shows of Britain's Got Talent & another even had a major role in the hit TV show Game of Thrones.
New members auditions March / April every year. If you're interested in joining the society please click here for more info...
The Infirmary Dramatic, Operatic & Literary Society was formed in 1955, mainly by the efforts of Mr. D. G. Cracknell, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Leicester Royal Infirmary who considered that a dramatic or operatic group would help to bring the various differing types of hospital departments, such as medical, nursing, works, administration, etc., together in an informal way, provide an interesting social activity for some of the younger nurses who were in those days confined to the Nurses' Home after 9.30 p.m., and also (hopefully) give a tangible result at the end
Mr. Cracknell, affectionately known as "Crackers" was ably supported by several other members of the hospital staff, and with the encouragement of Mr. Stanley Tipton and the Hospital Management Committee, this band of enthusiastic amateurs, totally ignorant of the costs and organisation involved, began rehearsals for "The Pirates of Penzance".
It was then realised that a producer was needed, and Charles Pole, well known to Leicester audiences, kindly gave his services and his wife Janet acted as accompanist at musical rehearsals.
Scenery was made at the Infirmary by members in what had been the V.D. wards (now the Physiotherapy Department).
Not until this stage did Mr. Cracknell realise that an orchestra was required, and with no funds it had to be very, very cheap!
The late Theo Klee was somehow located and achieved virtual miracles by finding enough public spirited musicians to provide the music and he acted as Musical Director for this and the next six musical productions.
The Pirates had a highly successful run of three performances at a cost of £90, underwritten by the Hospital Management Committee, and the IDOLS was born.
Soon after this, a straight play, "After My Fashion", was performed on the tiny stage of the Nurses' Home produced by the late Taffy Williams.
The "Literary" section of the Society, originally included to provide the "L" of "IDOLS" has not yet actually started, but hope springs eternal and offers to organise it will be very welcome!
Since 1955 the Society has gone from strength to strength and from a first production costing under £100 we have now reached costs of over £2,000.
We owe a great deal of gratitude to the Hospital Management Committee, the Secretary, Mr. Tipton, and the Sisters and Staff of the Out-patients and Orthopaedic Departments for their ready and uncomplaining co-operation with our rehearsals and, in the days when we performed in the Out-Patients hall, for putting up with the inconvenience during the week of the show.
Many members will remember the nightly ritual of dismantling the scenery and part of the stage after every performance so that the work of the Out-Patients Department could continue the following day.
For the future, we hope to increase our membership and resurrect the dramatic section. We would like suggestions for a play to perform, offers to take part and, of course, a place to perform it!
We, the members, belong to IDOLS because we enjoy the social activity, the hard work and the music, but we could not exist as a society without the magnificent support we have received over the years from our audiences, firstly at Leicester Royal Infirmary, then at the University for one year, and now at the Little Theatre. For this we offer our sincere and grateful thanks and undertake to give our best efforts to provide you with a happy evening's entertainment.