Work begins on operatic society’s new home

Busy with the decorating are RAOS members Jilly Anne Wilson, Ella Borchard, Lily Aikman, Molly Aikman, Cath Colman and Jo Borchard. (1408264AM1)
Busy with the decorating are RAOS members Jilly Anne Wilson, Ella Borchard, Lily Aikman, Molly Aikman, Cath Colman and Jo Borchard. (1408264AM1)

Work is taking place to transform Ripon’s former Royal British Legion club into the new home for Ripon Amateur Operatic Society (RAOS).

The society had been based at its hut on Water Skellgate butthe group, along with its junior section, Ripon Youth Theatre, was fast outgrowing it so when developers expressed an interest in its land, the opportunity arose to search for a new venue offering performance and entertainment facilities.

The group decided to choose the former Legion club on Allhallowgate – complete with a concert room and stage, separate bar, committee room and kitchen – which is now being carefully renovated by the members.

“Ideally we needed somewhere which would not only serve as a rehearsal space for both groups but also as a performance space for our annual concert and any other showcases we plan to put on throughout the year” said RAOS president, Albert Day.

Like most charities, RAOS does not have many resources and so far improvements have relied on local benefactors, fundraising and time given by volunteers.

“Our priority is making the building safe, dry and presentable for our October concert” said treasurer Darren Tiffney.

“We’ve been very lucky to have received some donations from local benefactors but long-term this is an expensive project. We’re also exploring funding options such as grants but a lot of the improvements will need to be paid for by the society itself. The space is usable in its current state of repair but in order for it to be utilised to its full potential we would like to give the building a complete facelift.” 

RAOS hopes that the new venue, once complete, will provide Ripon city centre with a social and performance space which can be used by other societies, groups, schools and individuals for public or private events. 

The first event taking place at the venue where the public can see the new space for themselves is RAOS’s cabaret-style autumn concert, Oh What a Night! featuring many numbers from the 60s and 70s from both the charts and musicals. The concert takes place from October 16-18 with evening performances at 7.30pm and a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.  

Tickets are £10 and available at Alan’s Gallery, Ripon, through members of the society or online at www. 

If you would like to help RAOS with the renovations or get involved, contact it by email at or by writing to them at RAOS, 49 Allhallowgate, Ripon, HG4 1LQ.