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Greate Supper Flyer

“Fiftie pennies” was the cost of the “Greate Supper,” the first event given by the newly formed First Parish Friendly Society in 1885.

Four of Thirteen Original Members

Four of the original 13 Friendly Society founders: (1-r) Miss Edith Coburn, Horace S. Sears, Miss Alice Jones, and Miss Anna Coburn.

1886 Play Tom Cobb

The play “Tom Cobb” was performed by the Norumbega Dramatic Club of the Friendly Society c. 1885-87. Horace Sears, founder and first president of the Friendly, stands fourth from left.

Unknown Date and Play

When Horace Sears constructed his estate mansion at Haleiwa in the early 1900s, he included a 200-seat theater where many Friendly Society plays were performed.

Cast of 1925 play Sweethearts

Cast photo for the 1925 production of the Broadway hit "Sweethearts" at Sears Hall in the new Weston Town Hall.

1965 Down to Earth

"Down to Earth" (1965) was the third original Friendly musical written by talented Weston resident Brenton H. Dickson III. Between 1937 and 1971, the Friendly Society produced a total of ten original musical comedies written entirely by members.

1973 Boyfriend

The "Boyfriend", an “elegantly produced melocomic farce” set in the roaring 20s, was the first Friendly production directed by John Barclay This was the first time theater in the round was used at Town Hall. Seating was cabaret style, which Barclay favored for subsequent shows as well.

1976 Ben Franklin

One of the largest and most remarkable of the Barclay productions was "Ben Franklin in Paris", produced for the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976 in cooperation with the Weston Drama Workshop. The extravaganza featured lavish and colorful period garb for the 32-member cast and 20 chorus members.

1985 Kismet

For "Kismet" (1985) and his other shows, John Barclay rented costumes from the Boston firm of Hooker & Howe, considered THE place for theatrical costuming.

WHAT'S NEW

Weston Historical Society's Annual Meeting and Lecture

The Friendly Society

Thursday, October 20, 2016
7:00 PM Refreshments
7:30 PM

Weston Public Library Community Room

All are welcome.

This year’s annual meeting will feature The First Parish Friendly Society, the second oldest operating community theater in the country. The program will combine a slide lecture by Pam Fox with performances of selected songs from original Friendly Society musicals of the 1950s and 60s.

The Friendly was founded in 1885 to help raise money for a new church building and “to encourage friendly relations among members of the First Parish of Weston, and to promote the growth and prosperity of said Parish.” At regular monthly meetings, members enjoyed comic dramas, suppers, “fancy dress parties,” literary evenings, games, musicales, mock trials, lectures, travelogues, and debates on topics such as “Shall Women Vote?” Beginning in 1902, theatricals were held at the private theater at Haleiwa, the estate of Horace S. Sears, a founder and first president of the Friendly.

The Friendly has changed with the times over its 131-year history. Within a few years of founding, non-church members were invited to join in the fun, and the organization was no longer part of First Parish. About 1915, the Friendly shifted away from educational programs to the more popular dramatics and dances. Between 1937 and 1971 the Friendly produced ten original musical comedies written entirely by members, sometimes chosen from three or four original submissions. In recent years the society, now called the Weston Friendly Society of the Performing Arts, has produced two or three major musicals a year. Throughout its history, proceeds from entertainments have been donated to charity.

A Weston Timeline

For the 2013 Tercentennial, the Weston Historical Commission has published A Weston Timeline by Pamela W. Fox, a 46-page color illustrated booklet produced in cooperation with the Weston Historical Society.

To order a copy at a cost of $12 plus $5 shipping and handling, click on Order Form, A Weston Timeline.

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