Saturday, 16 April 2016

Merry Widow Launch Night

While we still bask in the glow of our recent successful production of Princess Ida, it's now time to launch our next production, The Merry Widow, which we will be presenting from the 5th - 8th October, 2016 at The Queen Mother Theatre in Hitchin. We welcome Richard Syms (Into The Woods) back as our Director and welcome a new Musical Director Jane Stott for this much anticipated production.

Our show launch date is Tuesday the 19th of April and we hope to welcome as many of you as possible to meet Richard and Jane and to sing through some of the beautiful music in this operetta. There'll be full details of auditions provided on this evening as well as some overall guidance on the vision Richard and Jane have for our treatment of this show.

Director Richard Syms
Musical Director Jane Stott

If you have thought about joining PBGS this will be a wonderful opportunity to come along and meet the company. We rehearse from 7.45 at Streatley Village Hall just north of Luton. You will find location details on our Contact Us page here. You are welcome to just come and introduce yourself, or ring us on 07956 678720 for information. We would love to see you. And if you are not a performer but love all the behind-the-scenes stuff we always need help with costumes, scenery and all the backstage work which needs doing!


Thursday, 14 April 2016

A message from our Presidents

A lovely message from our Presidents, Anne and Tony Critchley
We wanted to thank you all for your efforts with “Princess Ida”. We felt that it was the most entertaining version we have seen, with some innovative ideas to keep the interest going. The costumes and wigs were fine – even with the problems we heard about later! The singing was with enthusiasm and excellent diction which we felt essential for telling the story. One of the audience said to me “We come to see PBGS because they do not use microphones and you can hear every word that they sing”. Praise indeed!! So carry on the good work! We look forward to the next show and hope you think all the hard work is worth it – we did and gained such pleasure from it and felt privileged in watching it too.

The acting showed good reactions all the way through which is often lacking, particularly with the chorus work, so very well done to everyone.

Very best wishes to you all,

Anne & Tony

Photos © Stephen Hoath

Sunday, 10 April 2016

A big thank you to our audiences!

A big thank you to our audiences for coming in droves to the Queen Mother Theatre this week to see our production of Princess Ida - your support and enjoyment meant that we had a wonderful time and it was great to see all our hard work being so appreciated. A big thank you too to Alison Gibbs who gave us such a fantastic production and to Margaret Johnson for ensuring we were all at our musical best. I think you'll all agree that we managed to climb those 'Empyrean Heights' that Ida thought so highly of!

Our next production will be Franz Lehar's sparkling The Merry Widow, a show that we are very much looking forward to presenting to you on the 5th - 8th October at the Queen Mother Theatre. Full of gorgeous music, wit and dancing, The Merry Widow is enduringly popular. If you would like to join PBGS on stage or behind the scenes for this production we would love to hear from you! PBGS always welcomes new members and you can contact us by ringing 07956 678720 or emailing us at

Photos © Stephen Hoath

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Our name's up in lights!

There is still time to buy tickets for tonight's opening performance of Princess Ida. Only £12 for an evening of Women's Lib, sword fights, monkeys (!) and general Medieval Mayhem! Fabulous music, gorgeous costumes and the best of Gilbert's razor sharp wit.

Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin 6th-9th April.


Monday, 28 March 2016

Princess Ida opens next week!

Ida (Paula Fraser) educates her 'Fair Neophytes'
Our latest production of Princess Ida opens on the 6th April at the Queen Mother Theatre in Hitchin. Produced by Alison Gibbs and under the baton of our MD Margaret Johnson this is going to be a spectacular show full of some of Sullivan's best music.

Ida was G&S's eighth collaboration, opening at the Savoy Theatre in 1884 and running for 246 performances. Gilbert turned his razor wit on some of the major issues of the day - women's education, the rise of feminism and Darwinism. Princess Ida runs a women's university at Castle Adamant and teaches that man is the source of all ills. That, indeed, he is no more than a 'monkey shaved'. But three young men disguised as women have invaded their hallowed halls and one of them, Prince Hilarion, was betrothed to her when she was only one year old. He wants to win her hand hoping she will fall in love with him, but when his father arrives with an army to enforce the marriage Ida decides to fight. But not all the ladies are so ready to go to war...

It's war with King Hildebrand (David Crew)
Based on Gilbert's own earlier burlesque of Tennyson's poem The Princess-A Medley, Princess Ida is the only G&S opera written entirely (and brilliantly) in blank verse and the only opera they wrote in three acts. Sullivan produced some of his finest music, including 'The world is but a broken toy', considered by many to be one of his most beautiful melodies.

Our own production, which runs from the 6th - 9th April, brings all that you'd expect from a PBGS production - outstanding singing, chorus's to lift the roof off, plenty of humour and some spectacular costumes. Time to book your ticket if you haven't already done so!

Stephen Hoath as Prince Florian

Monday, 14 March 2016

Princess Ida in rehearsal!

Not long now until our fabulous production of Princess Ida! As you can see rehearsals are coming along with lots of movement including sword fighting and even some ballet. Tickets now available direct from the PBGS Box Office or direct from the Queen Mother Theate, Hitchin.

Our Producer Alison Gibbs shows the ladies chorus how it's done!
The men 'love the jolly rattle of an ordeal by battle'
We even have some ballet!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Local Shows

A couple of local productions to enjoy before our own fabulous production of Princess Ida kicks off on 6th - 9th April (have you booked your tickets yet?). PBGS members are taking part in two shows this month:

Wolverton G&S are presenting The Mikado 7.30pm 15th to 19th March 2016 at the Stantonbury Campus Theatre, Stantonbury, Milton Keynes, MK14 6BN.

And HLOS are presenting The Wedding Singer on the 14th - 19th March at Harpenden Public Halls.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Princess Ida Box Office now open!

Our PBGS Box Office is now open for Princess Ida! Book early to be sure of a ticket for what promises to be a fabulous production.

Princess Ida is Gilbert and Sullivan's epic battle of the sexes which unfolds when Prince Hilarion arrives to claim his bride promised in childhood. But Princess Ida has established a school for ladies in Castle Adamant and men are forbidden! Will love triumph as the sexes go to war? Terrific music, comedy, swordfights and cross-dressing for all the family!

Follow the link below or on the top right of this page to be taken to our secure booking page. For any queries or special requirements please ring PBGS on 07946 264886 or email PBGS at

Monday, 4 January 2016

New Year Plaudits for PBGS!

Graham Breeze and Paula Fraser in HMS Pinafore
Our regional NODA rep, Nova Horley, has done a review of the local theatrical year for The Luton News and it’s lovely to see PBGS mentioned twice!
'Best Couple in a Musical must go to Graham Breeze as Captain Corcoran and Paula Fraser as Josephine in HMS Pinafore for PBGS. They complemented each other so well, both in singing and acting the parts.'
'My MD of the Year goes to Charlotte Tabert for Wizard of Oz (Griffins), and Beth Thomas for Hairspray (DAOS). They both achieved amazing things with their bands and the musical numbers in both shows. Graham Thomson brought his experience to bear for the PBGS production of HMS Pinafore, which makes him a worthy runner up.'
Wonderful to see sterling work recognised after the huge effort that everyone puts into our productions. Well done Paula, and the two Grahams!

You can read Nova’s entire review on her website


Mozart in Ampthill

Three PBGS members, Zoe Jasko, Gordon Hodges and pianist Margaret Johnson, will be treating audiences to an evening of Mozart at St. Andrew's Church Ampthill on Sunday 16th January. The concert is in aid of The National Kidney Federation and I'm sure this will be something PBGS members will want to support!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

PBGS wedding singers!

Four PBGS members sang 'Brightly Dawns our Wedding Day' from The Mikado at the wedding of Eleanor Lavan and Eric Lybeck in Henley-on-Thames yesterday. Eleanor is the Great Granddaughter of D'Oyly Carte singer Albert James, and Paula Fraser, Sue Wookey, Graham Breeze and Peter Johnson serenaded her as she walked up the aisle, with Margaret Johnson accompanying them on the piano.

Albert James joined D'Oyly Carte in 1880 and worked directly with Gilbert and Sullivan, appearing in principal roles on tour - including Ko Ko, General Stanley, The Lord Chancellor and Bunthorne among many others. In the later stage of his career he continued working for D'Oyly Carte as Stage Manager and then Publicity Manager up to his death in 1913. You can read more about his long G&S career at The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive. His Great Granddaughters work in the theatre themselves and have written a performance piece about his life, Wild Laughter. You can read about the work and more about Albert on their website, Sidelong Glance Productions.

It was a privilege to bring some G&S to the wedding celebrations and share in a long tradition of Gilbert and Sullivan performance. PBGS wish Eleanor and Eric a long, happy and music filled life together!

Albert James as Ko Ko

Monday, 23 November 2015

Princess Ida Cast

Many thanks to everyone who auditioned for a role in Princess Ida. It was an amazing afternoon with so much talent on display.

Our cast is as follows:
King Gama – Paul Kerswill
Hilarion – Gordon Hodges
Melissa – Emma Crew
Hildebrand – David Crew
Cyril – Joe Emler
Florian – Stephen Hoath
Arac – Ian Boughton
Guron – Barny Shergold
Scynthius – Peter Johnson

Princess Ida – Paula Fraser
Lady Psyche – Jo Bigg
Lady Blanche – Margaret Snape
Sacharissa – Shirley Hale
Ada – Ketina Orriss
Chloe – Katharine Crew

All the auditions were of an extremely high quality and you should all feel happy that you made the audition panel's job a hard one. A big thank you and well done to everyone.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Anthony Gordon

PBGS is very sad to announce the recent death of Anthony Gordon, one of our past tenors. A lovely, gentle man with a most beautiful voice. His last lead role with us was Hilarion in Princess Ida at Campus West, Welwyn, in 2004.

For those that remember Anthony, his funeral is at 2.00 pm at Harwood Park, Stevenage on Friday 4th December.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Ida rehearsals underway!

Our first Princess Ida rehearsal underway...
Princess Ida rehearsals are now underway with our Tuesday launch night!

Producer, Alison Gibbs, introduced the show and shared her vision for the production. And there is still time to come and join us. Rehearsals are every Tuesday night, 7.45pm-10pm at Streatley Village Hall.

Auditions will be held on Sunday 22nd November from 3pm, also at Streatley Village Hall. If individuals are not able to attend on this date, their audition may be videoed on a Tuesday night prior to the main audition date. All Auditionees must be members of the society or pay a £20 audition fee.

Princess Ida was Gilbert and Sullivan's 8th collaboration, opening in 1884 at the Savoy Theatre. A satire on the hot topics of the time - women's eduction, Feminism and Darwinism - it contains some of Sullivan's most beautiful music.

Our production will run from 6th - 9th April 2016.


Friday, 16 October 2015

Princess Ida

Our first Princess Ida rehearsal is this coming Tuesday 20th October. If you've thought about joining us in the past, come along and have a sing with us, we'd love to meet you.

The rehearsal will be from 7.45pm - 10pm at Streatley Village Hall, just off the A6 north of Luton:


Sunday, 11 October 2015

Thank you!

A BIG thank you to the audiences who came to support us for The Best of All Musical Worlds. I think you'll agree that it was a fabulous concert which showcased the many talented members that PBGS has! It also gave us a chance to sing with Luton Male Voice Choir, who ended their guest performance with us by giving a truly beautiful rendition of 'Bridge over Troubled Water'. Many thanks to their MD, Stuart Elliott, who also took up the baton for PBGS.

Our next PBGS show will be Gilbert & Sullivan's comedy of the sexes, Princess Ida, which we showcased at the end of our concert. Princess Ida will be presented at the Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin on the 6th - 9th April 2016. We really hope you will join us at Castle Adamant!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Best of All Musical Worlds

There is still time to buy tickets for our fantastic concert, The Best of all Musical Worlds - a mix of Musicals, Opera and Operetta with something for everyone! Including 'Master of the House', 'Half a Sixpence', 'Sunrise Sunset', 'Suddenly Seymore', 'Villia', 'The Ballad of Sweeney Todd', 'Skid Row' and much, much more, we promise you a wonderful evening.

Joining us on stage are our guest artists, Luton Male Voice Choir, led by Stuart Elliott who will also be our PBGS MD for this concert. Under Stuart's guidence we know both PBGS and Luton Male Voice Choir will be presenting something really special.

Please join us at the Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin on the 9th - 10th October. Tickets are still available through the Queen Mother Theatre Box Office.  


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

PBGS Noda Award!

PBGS is thrilled to announce that we have been awarded the District 3 East NODA Best Costume Award. Many thanks to Regional Rep Nova Horley for recognising our efforts. Nova praised the costumes for our 2014 production of Into the Woods and our 2015 production of HMS Pinafore, commenting especially on Pinafore's colourful, fresh and well fitting costumes and Little Red Riding Hood's lovely dress in Into the Woods.

PBGS has been nominated for this award in the past, and it is a tribute to the hard work that goes into making sure that our shows as good to look at as they are to listen to!

Into the Woods - Little Red and the Wolf
HMS Pinafore

Saturday, 29 August 2015

PBGS - what's coming next?

Now that Harrogate's over, what's next? In April we will be presenting Gilbert & Sullivan's comic war of the sexes, Princess Ida. Our Producer will be Alison Gibbs and our MD will be Margaret Johnson - both fresh from seeing us through our successful Trial by Jury at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival.

Before that we have our October Concert, The Best of All Musical Worlds, which will feature our guest artists, Luton Male Voice Choir. Luton MVC is a traditional male voice choir established in 1993 to enjoy "Friendship in Harmony" under the musical direction of Mr Stuart Elliott. We are looking forward joining them to present music from a a wide range of genres at the Queen Mother Theatre on 9th - 10th October.

Online booking is now open for The Best of All Musical Worlds. For further booking information visit our Shows and Tickets page.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Back in triumph from Harrogate!

Harrogate Theatre
Well done to all members of PBGS and Wolverton G&S for outstanding performances in Trial by Jury and The Zoo at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate. It was a huge team effort but well worth it to hear all that applause at the end just going on and on! Both productions have had wonderful feedback from a really appreciative and knowledgeable audience.

Many thanks are due to our wonderful Producers, Alison Gibbs (Trial) and Graham Breeze (Zoo), for two very original and sparkling productions that we were proud to present, our trusty MDs Margaret Johnson (Trial) and Mike Crofts (Zoo) for holding it all together in the Pit and getting the very best out of us, to Paula and Richard Fraser for the herculean effort of organising it all and getting us up there, and also thanks to Jo Bigg for organising wonderful accommodation.

Finally thanks to all the cast and crew of both societies for putting in so much effort and dedication. It was hard work, it was chaos in those dressing rooms, it was fast and frantic, but it was the most fun one can have on stage and an unforgettable achievement.

PBGS and Wolverton all mixed up back stage!
Mike and Margaret in The Pit
Wolverton and PBGS members rehearsing The Zoo on stage at Harrogate
All photos: Sue Wookey