Word spread like wildfire when Music Director Robert Hammersley announced he was directing an opera.

Over 200 people of all ages responded, all from the Iffley, Rose Hill, Donnington and Littlemore areas of Oxford.

Administrator Elizabeth Kabbara said: “I have never experienced anything like this in Oxford.

“We were all amazed at the initial response from the people and their willingness to do whatever they could to help.”

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Based on JRR Tolkien’s Hobbit, the musical was a full-length opera of the same name written by Mr. Hammersley, former director of music at Peers School, Littlemore.

The show had 100 children and adults on stage, plus an orchestra, makeup artists, and costume designers.

Two performances took place in the hall of St Augustine’s School at Iffley Turn in 1987.

All stage roles were played by local school children, their relatives and friends, and the orchestra was made up of local musicians.

Unperformed plays also remained in the area, with children from the nearby Iffley Mead special school starring in the show – the big blue dragon pictured above.

Ms. Kabbara said: “The dragon is very impressive.

It has to be the most spectacular thing in the whole production.

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Mr Hammersley, of Abberbury Road, Iffley, got the idea to write the opera when he read Tolkien’s tale to his daughter.

The fantasy author lived in Oxford for many years and was part of the Inklings literary group which met at the Eagle and Child pub in St Giles. Narnia creator CS Lewis was also a member of the Writers’ Group.


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