Wednesday, 5 November 2014

An Enchanted Evening

Rehearsals have just started for our next musical offering, An Enchanted Evening, a concert of popular music which we know you will love and which will showcase the wide range of singing talent we have in PBGS. Something for everyone! The venue will be the beautiful St Mary's Church in Pirton. We will be presenting pieces from opera with some Carmen and La Traviata, operetta, musicals - both modern and a medley of Rodgers and Hammerstein - and, of course, Gilbert and Sullivan with excerpts from Iolanthe and from our coming June 2015 production of HMS Pinafore.

Tickets will be £10 and due to some whizzy work behind the scenes you will be able to order them directly through our website as soon as booking opens. More to come on that soon!

'An Enchanted Evening'
Saturday 24th January 2015
St Mary's Church, Pirton SG5 3QE
Tickets £10

Monday, 3 November 2014

Into the Woods Review

We now have Nova Horley's review of our October production of Into the Woods:
'I wondered if Into the Woods might be a bit ambitious for PBGS, as it is so totally different to G&S – but overall I think they pulled it off. I found it was enjoyable, with lots of humour brought out – and because it was pared back to be fairly simplistic, it worked, and was well within their capabilities...
...I’m normally not a fan of Into the Woods, but found this a clear and precise production, with some genuinely funny moments and thought the cast did very well with a difficult show.'
Read the rest of Nova's review here.

Many thanks Nova!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

A big thank you to our audiences!

Well - we did! We went Into the Woods and have come successfully out the other side after a fantastic week at the Queen Mother Theatre. A big thank you to all our audiences who came and supported us. I think you'll all agree that it was a magical experience which showcased the huge range of talent we are lucky enough to have at PBGS. For us it was tremendous group effort that will live in our hearts and minds for a very long time.

So after Sondheim, what next? Well - we have plenty lined up for you. In January we will be giving a concert 'Some Enchanted Evening' which will be a mix of classical pieces, musical theatre and G&S. There will be something for everyone! It will include ensembles from Carmen and Rigoletto, along with musical favourites and excerpts from Iolanthe and HMS Pinafore. Watch this space for more details about this concert coming very soon.

And from 3 - 6 June we will be presenting our next show, HMS Pinafore. This will be a Pinafore with a twist as we are performing the lively Australian Essgee version!

Into the Woods photos ©XM04 Production Photography

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Into the Woods Opening Tonight!!!

Well, it's finally here! We are off Into the Woods for real. The set and the lighting looked magical at our dress rehearsal last night and we know we have a fantastic show to present to you. A beanstalk that grows, a maiden in a tower, a terrifying witch and ghosts in trees. How can you resist?

Join us in the Woods – book your tickets now via the Queen Mother Theatre!

Into the Woods
8th – 11th October
Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

More from our 'Into the Woods' photoshoot...

Richard Fraser as Rapunzel's Prince
4 Days to go! We are nearly Into the Woods - 6 months of hard work on one of Sondheim’s most challenging scores is really paying off and the cast sounded terrific at our last rehearsal. The character’s journeys have become our journey as we’ve travelled with them over past weeks. We are looking forward to sharing what we’ve discovered with you.
‘Once upon a time,’ the stories would begin... no particular time, fictional time, fairy-story time. This is a doorway; if you are lucky, you go through it as a child, aurally, before you can read, and if you are very lucky, you become a free citizen of an ancient republic and can come and go as you please.
- Sara Maitland: Gossip from the Forest 
‘Into the Woods’ is one of these marvellous doorways: a gateway to the imagination where we have been travelling freely to discover that every fairy-tale leads inwards to a deeper truth.
‘Into the Woods where nothing’s clear, where Witches, Ghosts and Wolves appear, into the Woods and through the fear, you have to take the journey...’
Rhiannon Gibbs as Red Riding Hood
Red and the Wolf
Join us in the Woods – book your tickets now via the Queen Mother Theatre or by clicking on the link on the top right of this page.

Into the Woods
8th – 11th October
Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin
All photos © PBGS

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Working on Into the Woods!

Paula Fraser singing the Witch
One week before we all go Into The Woods! As you can see, we are all working very hard to make this one of our best shows ever. Sondheim's complex work is a big challenge for any Society but a very rewarding one both for us and for our audiences. Most of us have become wedded to our scores, as you can see below! All the better to entertain you with, as the Wolf might say.

We are looking forward to presenting this Show so much - it will be a wonderful musical and dramatic experience that will be hard to forget. Book your tickets now to avoid disappointment via the Queen Mother Theatre or by clicking on the link on the top right of this page.
Into the Woods
8th – 11th October
Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin

Richard Syms, our Director with Graham Breeze (The Baker) and Margaret Johnson (MD)
Studying the score!!!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

PBGS Award photos!

We now have photos of PBGS's Noda East District 3 Awards, with thanks to Nova Horley:

David Crew being presented with his Best Male Performance in a Musical award by Graham Thompson. David won for his outstanding performance as Pooh Bah in our 2014 production of The Mikado

Our Secretary, Paula Fraser, receiving our Runner Up award for Most Colourful and Suitable Costumes for The Mikado.

Our Chairman, Richard Fraser, receiving the Best Actor award on David's behalf at the official presentation.

Monday, 22 September 2014

David wins Noda Award for Pooh Bah in our PBGS Mikado

David as Pooh Bah
Congratulations to David Crew who has just won  Best Male Performance in a Musical in the Noda East District 3 Awards for his wonderful performance as Pooh Bah in our Spring 2014 production of The Mikado! We know Pooh Bah was your dream part, David, so we are thrilled for you! Our collective bosom swells with pride...

As if that wasn't enough PBGS also won Runner Up for Most Colourful and Suitable Costumes. I think everyone who saw the production would agree they were nothing less than fab!


Friday, 19 September 2014

Into the Woods: You shall go to the Ball!

Alice Bridges as Cinderella
Cinderella. Everyone knows the story, don’t they? The most familiar version beloved by Disney and Christmas Pantomime audiences everywhere is based on Perrault’s ‘Cendrillon’, There is a pumpkin, a Fairy Godmother and a glass slipper. But Sondheim and Lapine have turned to the Grimm Brothers’ much darker version of the tale. 'Aschenputtel' ('Cinderella') doesn’t receive help from a fairy-godmother but from the birds and the wishing tree that grows on her mother's grave. Her slipper is gold and her sisters chop bits off their toes and heels in order to cram their feet into the bloody shoe. Because of their cruelty, Cinderella’s friends the birds peck their eyes out at the wedding as a punishment. As the story is their story as well as Cinderella’s, should we really expect a ‘happy ever after’? Traditionally told tales often end with this conventional tag-line: ‘And they all lived happily ever after’. It is a storytellers’ tool to let listeners know the story is over and to bring them back to earth and everyday life.

‘They lived happily ever after’ may signal the end of the story, but it is not the end of the tale of the character’s lives, as Sondheim and Lapine show us when Cinderella’s life with the Prince starts to unravel. Is the Prince and the Palace really what she wanted? Didn’t she really just want to go to the Festival and dance? Are her stepmother and sisters really so wicked? Should they be put out of their misery when a rampaging Giant arrives?

Be careful what you wish for because wishes can come true and they don’t come free.

Cinderella and her Prince
Join us in the Woods – book your tickets now via the Queen Mother Theatre or by clicking on the link on the top right of this page.

Into the Woods
8th – 11th October
Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin

All photos © PBGS

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Meeting the Wolf!

Rhiannon Gibbs as Red Riding Hood
If you go down to the woods today you're sure of a big surprise! All good fairytales involve challenges and growing up, but what if it takes meeting the Wolf and being swallowed whole? And what if that turns out to be not the end, but just the passing of childish naivety and coming to terms with the perils of the adult world?

Now I know:
Don't be scared.
Granny is right,
just be prepared.
Isn't it nice to know a lot!
... and a little bit not...

Kushil Dep as the Wolf
Sondheim and Lapine retell the tale of Red Riding Hood and the Wolf in Into the Woods, one of many tales they weave into the Show. The Wolf ponders on the joys of 'talking to his meal' before meeting a sticky end and Red Riding Hood reveals a new bloodthirsty side with her lovely new cape of fur and determination to survive whatever life throws at her. One thing is always certain in fairytales. No one in them is ever the same again.

Come and meet the Wolf for yourself – book now and travel Into the Woods with us at the Queen Mother Theatre from 8th – 11th October, and share the journey!

You can order direct from PBGS on 07946 264886. Please also ring this number for group discounts and special seating requirements. You can email an order through this website by clicking on this link: 


All photos © PBGS

Friday, 5 September 2014

New photos to tempt you Into the Woods with us!

Red Riding Hood (Rhiannon Gibbs) leaves her Grandmother (Valmai Guess) amd ventures into the woods

The Fairytale inspired Musical, Into the woods, was written in 1986 by Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd, Follies, A Little Night Music) and James Lapine (Falsettos, Passion) and premiered on Broadway in 1987 after a run at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego.The hugely popular and challenging muscial has been successfully revived many times since and remains a favourite with audiences. December 2014 will see the release of the first ever film version, but first-and-foremost it remains a magical theatrical experience.

Everyone is familiar with the sometimes enchanting, sometimes dark and disturbing tales written by the Brothers Grimm. Into the Woods sees the weaving together of several familiar characters: Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Jack and the Giant Beanstalk, Cinderella and her awful family, and Rapunzel. It also introduces two new characters – the Baker and his Wife who’s only wish in life is to have a child. Living under the curse of a neighbouring Witch they go into the woods to fulfil her demands for various magical items and thus lift the curse and get their wish. As they seek a Slipper as Pure as Gold, a Cow as White as Milk, a Cape as Red as Blood and Hair as Yellow as Corn, they find that the dark and mysterious woods have drawn all the characters in the tale into its murky depths, all seeking ‘Happy Ever After’ and release from the difficulties that beset them. But like all things in life, you have to be very careful what you wish for as the wishes spectacularly unravel. Jack’s mother has a dead giant in her backyard, Cinderella isn’t sure she actually wants to be married to a Prince and the Giant’s wife arrives seeking revenge.

Woods, and particularly the vast Germanic forests of Grimm folklore, have long been a metaphor for the unconscious. The dark, unacknowledged places where we all have to face uncomfortable truths, travel to seek the wisdom we need to live good lives, face up to our Giants and return, if we are lucky, with the prize of a better understanding of ourselves. At some point in our lives we all ‘have to take the journey’ into the woods and come back with a little bit of magic to transform ourselves.

Cinderella (Alice Bridges) with 'the shoe that fits'
And we have a lot of theatrical magic to offer – book now and travel Into the Woods with us at the Queen Mother Theatre from 8th – 11th October, and share the journey!

You can order direct from PBGS on 07946 264886. Please also ring this number for group discounts and special seating requirements. You can email an order through this website by clicking on this link: 


All photos © PBGS

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Rehearsing Into the Woods

Into the Woods rehearsals are going really well - time to share some photos of today's efforts!

Richard Syms rehearses Tim Hobman (Cinderella's Prince) and Barney Shergold (Mysterious Man)
Zoe Jasko and Alice Bridges as The Baker's Wife and Cinderella
Fighting over the golden slipper
Alice with Catherine Harvey (Lucinda) and Sue Kennedy (Cinderella's Mother)

Don't forget to beat the rush for this extremely popular show and get the best seats by ordering your tickets now!

All photos © Sue Wookey

Monday, 18 August 2014

Into the Woods tickets on sale!

Red and the Wolf © Sue Wookey
'An ambivalent Cinderella? A blood-thirsty Little Red Ridinghood? A Prince Charming with a roving eye? A Witch…who raps? They’re all among the cockeyed characters appearing in James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s fractured fairy tale. When a Baker and his Wife learn they’ve been cursed with childlessness by the Witch next door, they embark on a quest to break the spell. Wishes are granted at the end of Act One, but the actions taken to ‘live happily ever after’ have disastrous results. What begins as a lively irreverent fantasy becomes a moving lesson about community responsibility and the stories we tell our children.'
Time to think about ordering your Into the Woods tickets! We are putting a fantastic show together and tickets could sell fast, so order early to avoid disappointment. Into the Woods will be showing at the Queen Mother Theatre in Hitchin from the 8th - 11th October.

You can order direct from PBGS on 07946 264886. Please also ring this number for group discounts and special seating requirements. You can email an order through this website by clicking on this link (please include your phone number if you would like a call back):

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Remembering June Game

June playing at our G&S Singathon in 2007
The society is sad to announce the death of June Game, a friend and accompanist for PBGS since the first show in 1972. Throughout over 40 years with the society, June was a continual support at rehearsals, using her talents to support the company in all the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas and watching performances as an avid fan.

Her enjoyment was infectious and her gentle humour made every rehearsal a delight, together with her superb skills on the keyboard. Within the last decade, she accompanied 6 hours of Gilbert and Sullivan music during a 12 hour Singathon to raise funds for the society, and was always willing to play at events and fundraisers to help PBGS. Her contribution was awarded by the company with her appointment as an Honorary Life Member and when she decided to retire from the piano for the society, it was still a delight to speak to her about the shows and see her in the audience.

Should you wish to attend her funeral, you would be welcomed by her family and it is on Thursday 14th August at 1pm at St Christopher’s Church, Stockingstone Road, Round Green, Luton LU2 7NB. The family have requested donations to the IAPWA (International Aid for the Protection and Welfare of Animals), or any animal charity of choice, instead of flowers.

There will be refreshments afterwards and the family are keen to meet any of her friends from PBGS.

The society will miss our first lady of the keyboard.

Please send Paula Fraser your memories of June as we would like to make up a memorial booklet.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Into The Woods Trailer

We are now well into our Into the Woods reahearsals creating a show that we are confident will be magical in every sense. Our production will be at the Queen Mother Theatre in Hitchin in October, and the following January Disney are releasing their film version. For a little taster of Sondheim magic, and to get you in the mood, take a look at the trailer below. Thanks to Margaret for the link!

Saturday, 19 July 2014


Some photos from last night's PBGS BBQ at Brian's house. As you can see, we had a great evening. There would have been even more photos if I hadn't fallen backwards off a chair into the blackberries. And, yes, I am OK today! At least it made the BBQ even more memorable...

 Our Presidents Elected, Queen Ann and King Tony.

 Rob gets the loving feeling from Brian's pussy cat.

Everyone scans the ground for runaway sausages. OK - they are looking at the cat...

 Margaret shows that she's much more skilled at sitting in a white camp chair than I am!

 Richard takes on the role of Lord High Cook and mans the BBQ

 As well as Lord High Cook, Richard also played Quiz Master with some very tricksy questions about games and detectives.

 Concentrating on finding some answers...

 Still enjoying the Quiz

Tony wonders why he's the only one without a purple plate...

All photos © Sue Wookey

Monday, 7 July 2014

Valley of Song

Some of our PBGS members are over in Wolverton this week in Ivor Novello's Valley of Song which is being put on by Wolverton G&S:

7.30pm 10th to 12th July 2014
Holy Trinity Church, Old Wolverton Road MK12 5NJ
Box Office 01908 262250
'Wolverton Gilbert & Sullivan Society are proud to present Ivor Novello's very last musical, Valley of Song, playing from 10th to 12th of July 2014.
Left unfinished at the time of his sudden death, and completed by his longtime collaborator Christopher Hassall, Valley of Song is a unique opportunity to see a rarely performed Ivor Novello work upon the stage.
Set in a world of optimism on the eve of the Great War, Valley of Song is a homage to Wales - Novello's homeland - and a touching farewell to the music of his youth.
The Welsh Valleys, 1913. Nan Brewster is the largest landowner in the valley and supports the local valley choir, run by choirmaster David. David's love for Lily, his leading soprano, creates beautiful music for the choir. But when Lily is given an opportunity to sing in Venice, she jumps at the chance, and into the arms of Ricardo, a wealthy count set on making her an international star. But, by opening night, it becomes clear that Ricardo's intentions are not entirely honourable... As Europe is plunged into the First World War, how much is David willing to sacrifice for the woman he loves?'

Friday, 27 June 2014


Putteridge Bury’s Annual Summer BBQ 
18th July 2014

Friends and Family welcome 
From 7 pm at Brian's house, 125 Strathmore Avenue, Luton, LU1 3QW, Beds.

Cost will be £5 per person for a meat and/or vegetarian option which will be provided as well as some drinks. Please bring along either a side dish (salads, bread, snacks etc.) or a pudding (desserts, cakes etc.) and your favourite tipple and bring your friends and family along, it will be great fun. As this is also a Fundraiser the rest will go as a donation to Putteridge Bury G&S Society. There will also be a Quiz with a prize!

DVD SALE: Brian will have an extensive collection of DVDs on sale to raise money for Putteridge Bury.

Parking is available at the location in the street, but please be aware that you may have to park a bit further down the street.

Please reply to Nicole at until 11th July latest to confirm if you are coming and how many people you are bringing, so we know how much food to get. Also please let Nicole know if you require vegetarian food, so we know to cater for you.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Wardrobe and make-up help needed for Into the Woods

Shirley gets busy with the lipstick in 'Jack the Ripper'
Fancy being involved in our next production of Into the Woods but don't really want to tread the boards? We are looking for help with Costumes, Wigs and Make-up. These are vital roles and we are looking for people who are willing to attend some rehearsals and costume fittings nearer the show and be around through 5th-11th October, which is our show week. PBGS can't get on stage without all the extra help behind the scenes so you would be a valuable member of our team. Into the Woods is a production we are very excited about - both a big challenge for us and also a lot of fun!

If you would like to help please get in touch with Paula Fraser at


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

G & S Sing-a-long on 3rd May

Our G&S Singalong is fast approaching! The 3rd May will be the first ever Global Gilbert and Sullivan Day and PBGS is preparing a special celebration at Harlington Village Hall.

We have a programme put together, but there are still roles to fill so we'd love to hear from singers, not only from PBGS but also from other local groups, who'd like to join us on the day for solos or ensembles as well as joining in all those lovely choruses. Please contact Paula Fraser on or 07956 678720 if you'd like to join in as a singer or if you would like to order tickets as an audience member. Tickets to take part are £5 and there will be home baked refreshements.

There will be two opportunities to go through the music on Sunday 27th April from 3pm and Tuesday 29th April from 7.45pm at our usual rehearsal venue of Streatley Village Hall.

This will be a fun way to celebrate Gilbert and Sullivan in style by singing all our favourites, many of them as loudly as possible!