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Our Theatre Family

The first and most important thing to know about TAODS is that we are one big theatre family, both figuratively and in some cases literally. We often refer to our theatre family, and many of the testimonials you may read from members on the site will reflect that for many the Hippodrome is a home from home. Many of our members are multi-generational and it isn't that uncommon to find third or even fourth generation families involved at the Hippodrome - A true testament to the welcoming, caring and inspiring place this is. The Hippodrome is unique, it is special.

Of course, our members are also our volunteers, and the Hippodrome exists and operates entirely because of the voluntary work that our members provide. In 2023, people gave over 73,000 hours of time to run our community theatre.  This includes members and regular volunteers but also members who now work professionally in the arts and have returned to train the next generation of volunteers.

We simply cannot thank you enough for all that you do.

Who are Todmorden Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society?

The formal answer is that TAODS are the registered charity that own and run the Edwardian Hippodrome Theatre in Todmorden - But there’s so much more to us than that.

We’re a group of dedicated volunteers that saved the Hippodrome from closure in 1956, taking on a full repairing lease from the cinema firm that owned the Hippodrome. Initially formed of multiple societies, our volunteers have been running the theatre ever since that date.  Our volunteer and membership base has expanded every year since then and were proud to say we still have volunteers from that date in 1956!

The Hippodrome had suffered from a lack of investment in previous years, so TAODS took on many repair jobs and started the long task of restoring the Edwardian Baroque interior.  Money was tight, but fundraising meant repairs could start.


In 1986 TAODS were given first refusal to buy the Hippodrome and leapt at the chance, in full knowledge of the enormous amount of work required to restore and refurbish the Hippodrome.

For us, the members of TAODS, it has always been more than just putting on shows, it has been a long-term commitment to securing the future of the Hippodrome Theatre.  So many small mill towns have lost their theatres and cinemas over the years, but here in Todmorden we’re still going strong. We often joke that it’s more like being part of an extended family than a hobby.

Producing plays and musicals, screening films, supporting other groups to stage their events at the theatre, we’ve gone from strength to strength.  The COVID Lockdowns were a difficult time but our volunteers and our commitment to never having taken on debt saw us through and since reopening our audiences have flooded back in larger numbers than ever before.  In October 2023, our Youth Theatre production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat saw our largest audiences and income in our history for a Youth Theatre production, with sold out performances.

The strong community support, our increasing membership numbers and oversubscribed Youth Theatre show the desire and passion there is in our community for the Hippodrome and TAODS is proud to have looked after the Hippodrome for almost 70 years. Now we’re looking to the next 70 years.

Our Volunteers are 1 in a £Million

Our volunteers are not just a strength in our organisation; they are its very heart and soul. In 2023, people gave over 73,000 hours of time to run our community theatre.

That equates to £1,000,000 of time volunteered to our charity!

In 2023, we received a nomination for the Kings Award for Voluntary Service.


Created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and previously known as The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS), the Award has been shining a light on the fantastic work of voluntary groups from across the UK for many years.


Equivalent to an MBE, KAVS is the highest Award given to local voluntary groups in the UK, and they are awarded for life. As part of the assessment process, we were visited by the local Deputy Lord-Lieutenant and her team in January 2024 and hope to hear if we’ve been successful in November 2024,the very month that our Raise The Roof Project will start construction work to secure the future of the Hippodrome for generation to come.


Celebrating Our Success

Ask anyone at the Hippodrome why we do it and you'll get a very similar answer. We do it because we love being able to provide quality live theatre within our little town. We do it to send the audiences home happy and if we do that then we feel that we have done our jobs. Our immediate satisfaction is knowing that an audience has been to the Hippodrome and been entertained.

However, It would be remiss of us not to also acknowledge external credit when it is given to us

As an amateur theatre we are part of NODA, the National Operatic and Dramatic Society. Whist their main function is to provide support for theatre such as ours, we are fortunate that we are in a district that writes regular reviews of performances and holds award ceremonies to celebrate amateur theatre in our region. We have been very fortunate over a number of years to have been nominated many times for all areas of the theatre. We have also been lucky enough to win a substantial number of categories and we wish to congratulate again, all of those that have represented us in many categories.

One Award that does deserve a special mention is the life time achievement award that was awarded to our President, David Winslow, in 2022. This was in recognition of the many years of service David has, and still does, dedicate to the society. Having been involved since the 1960s David has worked in pretty much every conceivable area of the theatre as well as serving as Chair for many years before becoming our President just a few years ago.

David, this award was and is richly deserved in recognition for you have contributed to TAODS.

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