© 2024 Eastwood Uniting Church Musical Society Inc.

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A Brief History

At the start of the 1960s a number of successful productions were mounted by the Eastwood Methodist Youth Fellowship at Eastwood Methodist Church. Members of the church who were past youth club age, building on the enthusiasm of these productions, approached Rev. Robert A. Bell, Minister at the time, seeking permission to form a musical society affiliated with the church.

A musical society associated with the church was, in those days, somewhat unusual, but supported by Rev. Bell and his wife, Gwen, and the Circuit Stewards, Jack Kefford and Bill Southwell, Eastwood Methodist Musical Society (EMMS) was born in 1962, later to become Eastwood Uniting Church Musical Society (EUCMS).

Several meetings were held at which anyone interested in participating was enthusiastically welcomed. Thus from the very beginning the society encompassed a wider membership than the Eastwood Methodist Church. The Society's aims, incorporated in its Constitution, were to present musical and dramatic works, to donate profits to charities and provide an avenue into the church.

The first production in 1963 was "The Gipsy Baron" and in the forty years since, fifty-seven different shows have been staged, some being repeated as many as three times - seventy-six productions in all. EMMS was the first amateur musical society to be invited to stage a performance at the Sydney Opera House.

Since its inception, the Society has arranged and conducted numerous Annual Church Services and Christmas Services, including religious dramas and, in addition, have entertained many residents of nursing homes and retirement villages. The mid-year matinee performance for Eastwood Christian Community Aid Service is an annual highlight.

A long list of charitable organizations, nominated by members, have received donations totalling in excess of $350,000, the main assistance being reserved for Community Aid.

Coming from the strong musical background of the Methodist Church, the Society was fortunate in having a large pool of talent from which to draw, and it was not until considerably after the Society's formation that auditions for principal roles were advertised to the public.

EUCMS has enjoyed the reputation for many years of being one of the best organised and smoothly run societies in Sydney, and this is undoubtedly due to the dedication and loyalty of its members at all levels over the past forty years.

With the continuing support of its audiences and its members, the Society cannot fail to prosper in the years ahead.

EUCMS is a foundation member of the Association Of Community Theatre Incorporated.