The Kew Light Opera Company was formed in 1952, and mounted a number of musical and variety productions each year until it was subsumed in the "Q" Theatre Guild in 1957. A partial record of performances by the company includes: 1952 Florodora, 1953 The Cingalee - San Toy or The Emperor's Own, 1954 While the Sun Shines - A Country Girl - Our Miss Gibbs, 1955 The Toreador - The Arcadians, 1956 The Maid of the Mountains - Whiteoaks - Goodnight Vienna!, 1957 A Country Girl. Most of the Company's performances took place in the Kew Recreation Hall in Wellington Street, Kew.
The scrapbook of annotated photographs, programmes, and newspaper reviews of which this item is a part was assembled by Marion Tilley, wardrobe mistress for, and performer in, productions by the Kew Light Opera Company and the "Q" Theatre Guild. It is significant as a remarkably complete document of theatre performances in Kew, Victoria during the 1950s and 1960s. The scrapbook, and the items individually catalogued within it, have artistic and aesthetic significance within the history of performing arts in Victoria in the middle of the 20th Century. They have social significance in that they reveal socio-cultural values and preoccupations during the period. The records also act as a history of arts activities in the Kew Recreation Hall and later in the Kew City Hall as entertainment and community arts and music precincts.
Black and white photograph of performers in San Toy OR The Emperor's Own. San Toy was a "Chinese" musical comedy in two acts, first performed at Daly's Theatre, London, on 21 October 1899. The book was written by Edward Morton, and the musical score was written by Sidney Jones with lyrics by Harry Greenbank and Adrian Ross. Additional songs were written by Lionel Monckton. The scenery was by Alexander and Day and the production directed by Lance Nicholls in the Kew Recreation Hall. In the photo, nine of the ten members of The Emperor's Own are singing. The photo may include: Ethel Duncan, Marion Tilley, Julie Johnstone, Naomi Owen, Ruth Barnes, Joan Millerchip, Thelma Hiscock, Esme Melville, Elma Nicholson, and Jean Hayles.