James A. White was founding Musical Director of St Mary's Choral Society on its inception in 1940 and for the following 30 years he gave himself and his talents to the people of the town to the cultural pursuit of appreciating the joy of music, and educate them towards its interpretation through choral works and stage musical performances.
Following his death in 1969, the Society set about commemorating his life's work and perpetuating his memory in Clonmel.
The provision of a suitable residence for the Society to use as a rehearsal space incorporating a performance had, for many years, been an ambition, and so the merging of these two ideas seemed a logical step to take when a dilapadated but historic building cam up for sale in Wolfe Tone Street. Known as the Foresters' Hall, it had been used as a paper store, a dance hall, a meeting house and a food hall for the poor.

It was originally designed and built by eminent Clonmel Architect, William Tinsley, in 1843 at a cost of 600. As a Wesleyan Chapel it earned the acolade of 'the most beautiful chapel in Methodism', for the splendour of its modified Greek temple style. With very little financial resources, but with much energy and enthusiasm, St Mary's Choral Society acquired this old place of worship and transformed it into a charming 220 seater theatre where the curtain opened for the first time in November 1975.
The dream had become a reality - The White Memorial Theatre stands proud today in the heart of old Clonmel, a living reminder of one of its most illustrious sons.



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