Friday, 15 May 2015

HMS PInafore

20 days to go to our production of HMS Pinafore! Will Ralph, 'the lowliest tar who sails the water' win the hand of Josephine and steal her away from her 'papa's luxurious home, hung with ancestral armour and old brasses', or will Joesphine end up Sir Jospeh Porter and a lifetime of hornpipes? Well - this is G&S. Can you guess? Book your tickets online by clicking our order button, or visit our Shows and Tickets page for more options.

'A British Tar is a soaring soul
as free as a mountain bird
his energetic fist should be ready to resist
a dictatorial word '

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Why Mike Leigh loves G&S

Mike Leigh, who is directing The Pirates of Penzance for the ENO, talks to The Times about why he thinks Glibert and Sullivan are underrated geniuses:
'The inscription of WS Gilbert’s memorial on the Thames Embankment in London reads “His Foe was Folly, and his Weapon Wit”. This is too coy. Gilbert saw the world as a chaotic place in which our lives are brutal accidents of birth, fate and human blunder, a jungle of confusion and delusion, where we all aspire to be other than what we are, and where nobody is really who or what they seem to be. Power. Status. Rank. Duty. Hypocrisy and affectation. Youth and old age. Gilbert’s obsessions inform all these operas, his greatest being the arbitrary nature of society’s absurd rules and regulations...'
 Read the rest of Leigh's fascinating article here at

For your own slice of local G&S, don't forget to order your tickets for our June production of HMS Pinafore by clicking on our order button. For more booking info see here.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Why Pinafore will always 'sail the ocean blue'

We are all really looking forward to presenting to you our coming production of HMS Pinafore, one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular comic operas!

Pinafore opened on the 25th May 1878 at the Opera Comique in London. It was an instant success with 571 performances, an almost unprecedented run for the time. Originating from three of Gilbert’s popular Bab’s Ballads, Gilbert sent the idea for HMS Pinafore to Sullivan not long after the opening of Sorcerer. It contained, among other things, “a song (kind of “Judge’s song”) for the First Lord - tracing his career as office-boy in cotton-broker’s office, clerk, traveller, junior partner, and First Lord of Britain’s Navy” (Gilbert’s letter to Sullivan in 1877). Sullivan loved the plot idea, as did D'oyly Carte. In later years Gilbert admitted that the now familiar title, 'HMS Pinafore', was thought up purely as a rhyme to go with ‘and three cheers more'!

The operetta opened to mainly glowing reviews, with the Standard describing the set as “ So perfect a quarter-deck as that of HMS Pinafore has assuredly never been put upon the stage. Every block and rope to the minutest detail is in its place, in fact it is an exact model of what it represents... here we find that marvel of marvels, a chorus that acts, and adds to the reality of the illusion.” At least five numbers were encored on the opening night and the critics were full of praise for all the original principals which included later G&S luminaries, Rutland Barrington as Captain Corcoran and George Grossmith as Sir Joseph Porter. “The curtain fell amidst enthusiastic applause and Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan and the principal performers were called to the footlights, and greeted most heartily, a compliment most thoroughly deserved, for the success of the comic opera and the genuine enjoyment of the audience had derived from it was unquestionable. The performance was, for a first night, capital.” (Era). Within a year its popularity was such that almost every major city in America had a company illegally performing HMS Pinafore (something which Gilbert, Sullivan and Carte had to go to great lengths to tackle in their next collaboration, The Pirates of Penzance!).

The Globe said that “it will probably be a long time before HMS Pinafore is laid up in dock”. So PBGS is proud to be ‘sailing the ocean blue’ with her at the Queen Mother Theatre Hitchin from 3rd – 6th June (including a Saturday Matinee). Click below to book your passage on Pinafore and join us on the Portsmouth tide:
Ordering options:
  • Place an order by clicking on the button above for full online booking.
  • Or ring PBGS on 07946 264886. Please also ring this number for special seating requirements.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Only 5 weeks until HMS Pinafore! This is shaping up to be an absolutely fantastic show so start booking now through the PBGS Box Office to ensure a good seat for this hilarious tale of love, hypocrisy and mistaken identity. Sparkling music, romance, comedy and hornpipes for all the family.
  • Place an order by clicking on the button above for full online booking.
  • Or ring PBGS on 07946 264886. Please also ring this number for special seating requirements.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Zoo and Trial: Charles Court Opera

The fantastic Charles Court Opera are presenting The Zoo and Trial by Jury at the Kings Head Theatre:
'Hot on the tail of their 10 year anniversary Ruddigore, Charles Court Opera "the masters of G&S in small spaces" (CNJ) present this special treat for CCO and King's Head opera fans - a one act comedy from Bolton Rowe and Sullivan, set in a tumultuous London Zoo, with a suicidal chemist and a Peer in disguise, and Gilbert and Sullivan's parody of the British judicial system. Both are given a CCO treatment that will leave your sides splitting as you roll down the aisle.  
These two hilarious farces promise a veritable cocktail of madness and mayhem for a strictly limited season of only 8 performances.'
The Zoo & Trial by Jury
For a strictly limited season of 8 Sunday performances
3pm and 7pm on 19 / 26 April & 3 / 10 May

Friday, 10 April 2015

PBGS Box Office Open!

The PBGS Box Office is now open for online booking for our June production of HMS Pinafore. Click on the button above wherever you see it or visit our Shows and Tickets page for more information.

Gilbert and Sullivan's hilarious tale of love, hypocrisy and mistaken identity unravels when Josephine, the Captain's daughter, is pledged by her father to marry Sir Joseph Porter, despite her infatuation with a common sailor. Music, romance, comedy and hornpipes for all the family.

by WH Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan
3rd - 8th June 2015
Queen Mother Theatre

Thursday, 2 April 2015

PBGS G&S Gala in Welwyn Garden City

Can't wait to get your next fix of Gilbert and Sullivan?  Well wait no longer. PBGS will be performing a programme of G&S favourites at the Free Church, Welwyn Garden City on Sunday 19th April, 6pm. This will be a fantastic evening of Gilbert and Sullivan choruses, solos, duets, trios and quartets for your delight and delectation!

Entrance is free with a retiring collection in aid of the Hertfordshire Breast Unit Appeal.

Gilbert and Sullivan Gala
Sunday 19th April, 6pm

The Free Church
Church Road 
Welwyn Garden City
Herts AL8 6PS

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Dorothy Williams

Dorothy Williams
PBGS is very sad to announce the news that former Chairman Dorothy Williams has suddenly died. Dorothy led the Society for many years and was the inspiration and driving force that took us to the International G&S Festival at Buxton in 2000. She believed that PBGS could meet the standards of the Festival, and her faith and confidence in the Society led to our successful performance of The Gondoliers and opened the way to many subsequent visits. Along with her husband, Paul, she also performed in shows and was huge fun to share the stage with. Dorothy finally left PBGS when she and Paul moved to Tetney near Grimsby, although she always followed PBGS's progress and maintained connections with the Society. She will be sadly missed.

Our thoughts are with Paul and all the members of her family.

Dorothy, on the right, in our 1996 production of Yeomen of the Guard


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Pinafore Piccies

Gaily tripping, lightly skipping to that shipping
Rehearsals for HMS Pinafore are well underway with much tripping from the ladies and hornpiping from the men. This is shaping up to be an absolutely fantastic show and if you think you know it well, you are in for some surprises!

HMS Pinafore will run from 3-6 June at the Queen Mother Theatre in Hitchin. Not long now and our PBGS online Box Office will be open!

The ladies show off their co-ordinated brolly work
demonstrating the classic G&S aside

Friday, 6 March 2015

Local shows

We are spoilt for choice in March with two local shows to support!

Wolverton G&S Society: HMS Pinafore and The Zoo

Wolverton G&S Society are performing HMS Pinafore and The Zoo on the 17th - 31st March. Several PBGS members are in both groups and are taking roles. This is a chance to see the production of The Zoo that Wolverton will be taking up to the International Festival of Gilbert and Sullivan in Harrogate, in tandem with our production of Trial by Jury.

7.30pm 17th to 21st March 2015
Stantonbury Campus Theatre

Stantonbury, Milton Keynes, MK14 6BN
Box Office 01908 262250 1st Night Costume Hire, Stony Stratford or click here

Hitchin Thespians: Jack the Ripper 

Hitchin Thespians are Performing Jack the Ripper on 18th - 21st March at the Woodside Hall in Hitchin. This is another chance to see the fantastic Pember and De Marne musical that PBGS enjoyed doing so much back in 2012.

7.45pm 18th - 21st March 2015
Woodside Hall
Hitchin SG4 9SP
Box Office 01462 641575

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Putteridge Bury G&S Society goes International with friends!

Our 2013 production of Trial by Jury
Our amazing Fairy tale Trial by Jury received acclaim from audiences and NODA regional nominations, so what better way to celebrate this than to present it at the biggest International Festival of them all - and this time, with friends! On the 22nd August 2015 at 2.30pm, this society with be performing our production of Trial by Jury at Harrogate Theatre as part of the Fringe event for the International Festival of Gilbert and Sullivan.

But this time we will form a unique partnership with Wolverton Gilbert & Sullivan Society who are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year by taking their production of The Zoo to perform on the same afternoon. In a unique opportunity, performers are able to perform in both productions if they wish, working with different Musical Directors and Directors. It is a marvellous opportunity to see other amateur and professional companies performing top quality G&S shows, to listen to speakers about the world of Gilbert & Sullivan, and a social event for morning to night as a celebration of all things G&S.

YOU CAN BE THERE! If you want to perform or help backstage at the Festival in one or both of the shows, please contact

BUT it is just as important to have supporters as audience to cheer us on. If you want to see us, then further information is available at

Rehearsals will take place from mid-July (Fridays for The Zoo in Stony Stratford and Sundays and Tuesdays for Trial by Jury in Streatley).


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Pinafore Audition results

Congratulation to everyone after some very strong auditions! Here is our cast for our summer show, HMS Pinafore:

Sir Joseph Porter - Peter Sayers
Captain Corcoran - Graham Breeze
Buttercup - Catherine Harvey
Ralph Rackstraw - Brian Miles
Josphine - Paula Fraser
Dick Deadeye - Paul Blunt
Boatswain - Roy Bride
Carpenter - Peter Johnson
Hebe - shared by Louise Thonger, Nicole Santleman and other to be announced


Tuesday, 27 January 2015

HMS Pinafore

After our 'Enchanted Evening', which was a sparkling success thanks to a lot of hard work, a full house and a wonderful audience, we are now full steam ahead for HMS Pinafore!

Tonight is our launch night - there will be a chance to meet our Director and Musical Director and hear about their vision for an unique PBGS show! It will be also be a chance for a jolly good Pinafore singalong.

Auditions for HMS Pinafore will be at 3pm on Sunday 8th February at Streatley Village Hall. If you click on the links below you will find all the information you need about the characters, audition pieces and also our audition slip:

HMS Pinafore Audition Schedule
HMS Pinafore Audition Slip

Everyone is welcome to come and 'sail the ocean blue' at tonight's launch and we look forward to seeing friends old and new for our next adventure.


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

5 days to go...

....until our Concert, An Enchanted Evening!

Don't forget, full Online Booking is now available!

Just click on the BUY TICKETS button wherever you see it to be taken straight to our new PBGS Box Office! You can then place your order and make a secure payment via Paypal.

You can also still ring our 07946 264886 number.

An Enchanted Evening
24th January 2015
St Mary's Church, Pirton

Thursday, 15 January 2015

HMS Pinafore Auditions

The next show after our Pirton Concert will be Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore, 3rd - 6th June 2015. 

Auditions will be held on Sunday 8th February at 3pm at Streatley Village Hall. More details to follow shortly!


Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all our Friends and Members!

We are kicking off 2015 with a musical treat – there are only 4 weeks to go to our January 24th Concert, An Enchanted Evening at St Mary's Church, Pirton.

It’s now time to book to make sure of your tickets. Just click on the BUY TICKETS button wherever you see it on our website to be taken straight to the PBGS Box Office. You can also still ring our 07946 264886 number.

Before we say goodbye to 2014 completely, here is a look back over what has been a wonderful and challenging year for PBGS:

Alison directing the ladies chorus in The Mikado
In April we revisited one of our most favourite G&S places, the town of Titipu, in a sparkling production of The Mikado from Director Alison Gibbs and Musical Director Sue Trost. The audience queued at the door to get in and we could tell by the laughter that they loved every minute.

Into the Woods at the Queen Mother Theatre
In October we ventured Into the Woods clutching our Sondheim scores, following the pathway through the thickets forged by our trusty guides, Director Richard Syms and Musical Director Margaret Johnson, and managed to emerge triumphantly out of them again. Like the characters we felt we’d lived the fairy tale journey!

Along the way we elected two Presidents to keep us in order, Anne and Tony Critchley, saw David Crew awarded 'Best Male Performance in a Musical' in the 2014 Noda East District 3 Awards for his wonderful performance as Pooh Bah, and won runner up for 'Most Colourful and Suitable Costumes' for The Mikado.

David Crew demonstrates the abject grovel
Brian Miles stepped up and took on the mantle of Chairman at our November AGM, and with some techy help from Vice Chairman, Barny Shergold, we developed a new online booking system so you can now order and pay for your tickets directly through our website.

We also said a sad goodbye to 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.

This is a good time to say thanks to all the people behind the scenes and on stage who work so hard to make our Shows successful and also to say thanks to all our Friends and Audiences who support us through the year. We wish you all a very Happy and Musical New Year!


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

A very Merry Christmas to all our members and to all our audiences and friends!

We are looking forward to seeing you all again in the New Year for an evening of wonderful music at St Mary's in Pirton.

An Enchanted Evening
24th January 2015
St Mary's Church, Pirton 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

HMS Pinafore Flash Mob in New York

A taste of our June 2015 Show with the NY Gilbert and Sullivan Players flash mobbing HMS Pinafore in New York. G&S rocks! All together now.... 'a British Tar....'



Friday, 12 December 2014

PBGS Christmas Meal!

Christmas is coming! We had our PBGS Christmas Meal at the Raven in Hexton last night. Great evening and great company, rounded off with a surprise visit from Father Christmas! All those actually wearing their paper hats and sporting festive jumpers get extra Christmas Stars.