More a Way of Life

“On the evening of the 6th March 1897, in the Union Hotel, Cockburn street, Edinburgh (not now in existence) there met some 19 ladies and 20 gentlemen who formed themselves into the Southern Light Opera Company”


This is the first entry in the Southern Light Opera Company’s original minute book, written towards the end of the 19th Century. This is how Edinburgh’s oldest amateur operatic society was founded.

The company was named for the majority of founding members who lived in the south side of the city. These members gathered to perform light opera in Edinburgh and their legacy, spanning three centuries, lives on more than 120 years later.

In 1997 Southern Light celebrated our centenary, and life member David McBain published a book chronicling the, then one hundred year, history of the company. A copy of the book, entitled ‘More a Way of Life’, can be found in the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh. The book is now more than 20 years old and explores our history over the 100 years prior. But the sentiment, “More a Way of Life”, is still echoed in our membership today.