Welcome to caods – Chelmsford’s leading amateur musical and dramatic society. Providing local audiences with West End style quality productions since November 1920, caods uses professional directors and musicians to support its talented amateur cast. Affiliated to the National Operatic & Dramatic Association, caods have achieved rare status in winning numerous NODA awards for its productions in recent years.

caods presents two shows a year at the Civic Theatre, and with its modern, yet intimate auditorium, and state-of-the-art staging and lighting perfectly showcases the society’s top-drawer productions. caods appeal for Chelmsford audiences seems to be our ability to simultaneously surprise and delight. From Gershwin to Berlin, Lerner & Loewe to Lloyd Webber caods eclectic mix of musicals ensures continued success and an enviable reputation.

caods has charitable status and has been self-funding since its inception.

A new date for Dolly!

Due to refurbishment work at the theatre our next show ‘9-5 – The Musical‘ will be hitting the stage in January 2023 at the Civic Theatre Chelmsford. This is slightly later than our previously advertised dates in November 2022. If you have already booked your tickets the Civic Theatre Chelmsford will be in touch. Our cast are ready to start rehearsing and it looks like it’s going to be a hoot! Tickets are now on sale via the Civic Theatre website.
caods recently had a wonderful time performing ‘Kipps – The Half a Sixpence Musical‘ at the Civic Theatre Chelmsford. Take a look at our reviews and photos here. With the whole cast strumming banjos it really brought a touch of happiness to all those watching. Thank you to our cast, crew, band, production team and wardrobe for making it a flash bang walllop of a show!
Why not take a look at our Past Shows to get your caods fix between shows!

What is coming to Chelmsford in 2023…?

May 2023 – Calendar Girls the Musical

A group of ordinary women in a small Yorkshire Women’s Institute decide to do things a little differently for their annual fundraising calendar, without realising how much of an impact their daring behaviours will have. In creating an artistic, nude calendar, we see each woman bloom in unexpected and fabulous ways. The true story of the Calendar Girls which launched a global phenomenon, has now been turned into this beautifully poignant musical written by Tim Firth and Gary Barlow. Robyn Gowers will make her caods directorial debut and will be joined by Rachel Plunkett as Musical Director. All details will be announced via social media and on our Next Show page.

September 2023 – Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Pack up your wigs, heels and all the glitter you can find, because the iconic, joyous and award-winning musical is coming to Chelmsford! With more glitz and glamour than ever before, this show-stopping musical features spectacular dancing, a dazzling array of costumes, and a scintillating, sing-along soundtrack full of your favourite dance-floor classics, including Hot Stuff, It’s Raining Men, Go West, I Will Survive, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Finally and many more; it’s pure joy guaranteed! Time to SHAKE YOUR GROOVE THING once again! Sallie Warrington returns to direct this epic musical, with Rachael Plunkett as Musical Director.


caods celebrates 100 years

caods is celebrating it’s 100th anniversary! On 8 November 1920 the first public meeting of Chelmsford Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society was held at the Corn Exchange in Chelmsford ahead of their first production, HMS Pinafore. It is safe to say that we haven’t looked back since!

Since then caods has performed 166 shows, with only a break of eight years around WW2. Why not can take a look at our full History and Past Shows – from our first cast member photo from HMS Pinafore performed in April 1921 to our most recent shows of Shrek The Musical in February 2020 and Sweet Charity in September 2021. caods have consistently pushed the limits of our Society to bring the best of theatre to Chelmsford, as can be seen by our many Awards.

Eric Smart at Broomfield Hospital Radio recently dedicated a show to 100 years of caods with memories and songs from our recent show. You can listen to the programme here.

In 2022 we are bringing “Kipps – The Half a Sixpence Musical” and “9-5 – The Musical” to the stage. We also received awards for our productions of “Shrek – The Musical” and “Sweet Charity“. caods are look forward to celebrating with our members and audiences in a slightly delayed manner.

From operas to dramas, circus tricks to full prosthetics and everything in between caods thanks all our members, helpers, supporters and audiences over the years for our continued success. Here’s to another 100 years!

Audiences Say…

“Congratulations to you all. I brought a coach party to your afternoon matinee yesterday, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the show immensely, and thought it was your best ever. Such an enormous cast, and the dancers were so all together, professionals could not have done better. The main characters were excellent, such strong voices – I certainly could not have been able to remember all that script!!!”

— Audience member, My Fair Lady, March 2019