Happy birthday to BLOG as it reaches 50 years

BLOG's anniversary - recent photograph of a production of South Pacific SUS-160628-085352001
BLOG's anniversary - recent photograph of a production of South Pacific SUS-160628-085352001

The Queen isn’t the only one celebrating a major birthday - it’s 50 sparkling years since BLOG held its first production, and the group is looking good on half a century.

On August 6 1966 the Hastings and St Leonards Observer announced the birth of Battle Light Opera Group; Beatlemania was sweeping the United States, Sweet Charity was hitting Broadway for the first time and the cultural revolution was underway in China.

Meanwhile, a group of local singers joined together with a plan to perform two concerts a year at Battle Memorial Hall.

Rehearsals for The Gondoliers began in September and the first performance, held on February 24 1967, was reviewed by the Sussex Express and County Herald: “Battle Light Opera Group, formed last year, made its debut on Friday with a rousing and colourful production of The Gondoliers at Langton Hall. The performance swung along with gaiety, sweet music- and superb singing!”

While so much changed in the ensuing years, many things have stayed exactly the same. Rehearsals are still held on Thursdays, and two productions have been staged in hall every year since.

BLOG’s celebratory 50th Anniversary concert is at 7.30pm on Saturday July 9 at Battle Memorial Hall. The evening will showcase some best-loved chorus and solo songs, from glorious Gilbert and Sullivan to recent highlights from musicals. Charlotte Collins said: “It’ll be a song and dance-tastic trip down memory lane and we would love it if you shared in our celebrations. Many thanks for 50 great years and here’s to fifty more!”

Tickets £12, from www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/263091, or 01424 211140, or Battle Books, High Street. There will be interval nibbles included in the ticket price, and paying bar from 7pm. The fascinating BLOG archives of old photographs, albums and memorabilia will be on display.