Mike Davies, 38, is secretary of Wootton Bassett Light Operatic Society, which is in the midst of rehearsals for its 40th anniversary production, Singin’ in the Rain. Mike, a maths teacher at St Joseph’s Catholic College, lives in Eldene. He is married to Albertine and the couple have three children.

MEMBERS of Wootton Bassett Light Operatic Society – WBLOS — enjoy what they do for a wealth of different reasons.

Mike Davies’ reasons?

“A lot of it is team working. It’s a really fantastic opportunity to do something together with people.

“By the time of show week we’re probably going to have 40 to 45 people involved in putting something on. You’ve got the 20 to 25 on the stage, you’ve got the 15 in the orchestra, then you’ve got people helping out front-of-house, you’ve got the backstage crew, you’ve got people helping out in the kitchen and providing refreshments.

“That’s what it is for me – I love getting involved with things where people are working together to do something. It’s almost as if the performing is a nice side-effect of that in a way.

“I do love performing, and it’s a nice buzz when you get a round of applause or when you make people laugh, but for me it’s very much a social thing.”

The society began with a Wootton Bassett Carnival float in1977, and its first formal show came the following year. In addition to its main productions, there has been a January pantomime for the last dozen years as well as an ongoing series of concerts. There will be a 40th anniversary concert in September.

The society has about 60 active adult members, and there are 40 six-to-16-year-olds in WBLETS, a youth wing formed in 2007.

Shows are generally chosen for popular appeal, with eternal favourites such as Oliver! and Annie being revisited every decade or so. Many sell out.

WBLOS has supportive links with other theatre groups in the area including Chocolate Theatre, Theatre Ink and SALOS, with many people members of more than one. Mike joined in 2009 and appeared in his first show the following year.

He was born in Plymouth, and his father was a naval officer. Always good with numbers, Mike wanted to teach maths from an early age, but he also loved theatre.

“I went to a boarding school, which meant that there were quite a lot of opportunities to get involved with drama in various different forms.

“Quite often, schools will have a school play that they do which is organised by the teachers, but we benefited from having what are called house plays as well.

“Every year we would have a house play festival, and there were maybe six senior houses. Each of them put on a play which they sometimes wrote themselves, always directed themselves and sorted all the props out. So I did that for about five years – directed it, wrote in it, starred in it, that sort of thing, as well as doing the school plays.

“Then at uni I did the sort of freshers’ drama festival but never really got involved in the drama side. I was more keen on sport and other things, and there’s only so much you can do at university as well as studying.”

An engineering degree at Oxford was followed by a job with npower, which transferred him to Swindon 13 years ago. A couple of years after that, Mike made a transfer of his own, retraining as a teacher and fulfilling his childhood ambition.

At the end of the last decade, both he and his wife rekindled old interests in amateur dramatics. His wife became involved with SALOS, but childcare commitments meant both being with the same group constantly would have been impractical. Mike was invited to join WBLOS.

“The strange thing is that when I got together with my wife, neither of us were involved with am-dram at all. Then, after however many years together, we realised that we actually both had this in our past and it might be a fun thing to get back into.”

One of the things Mike loves most about the group is its inclusivity.

“Anyone can just come along and be welcomed into the show, so we make the most of whatever talents people have got. You can be in the chorus, you can have singing parts and we’ve had people with non-singing parts. In Singin’ in the Rain some people do huge amounts of dancing and some do more basic steps.

“We’ve been told we’re really welcoming. We’ve got some people who aren’t in the show but come along, make teas and coffees and do a brilliant job of welcoming people in.

“You won’t get people not able to have anyone to speak to. I still remember really clearly my first rehearsal when I walked in and was welcomed straight away. People chatted to me and gave me a part.

“If you’re doing something where you have a shared purpose then it doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher, a carpenter, a civil servant, anything. You have a shared purpose and you have something to talk to people about.”

That inclusivity, Mike believes, is an antidote to that he calls The Bubble.

“There is this bubble of social media, where all your friends agree with you, and you are similarly educated to lots of your friends and do similar jobs to lots of your friends and everybody thinks the same.

“But this is something where you meet people who are brought together by amateur theatre but might think differently politically. You have interesting discussions; you meet people from different professions and get to be good friends with them. You get to know them in a massively intense way because everyone’s depending on everyone else.”

Singin’ in the Rain runs at Royal Wootton Bassett’s Memorial Hall from Thursday to Saturday, April 27 to 29. Evening performances will start at 7.30pm, and there will be a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

Tickets cost £11 with concessions available, and further information can be found at wblos.org.uk and on 07809 566981.