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.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Full Online Booking now available!

Full online booking through our website is now available thanks to some whizzy techy work behind the scenes. To buy your tickets for An Enchanted Evening 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 

Saturday 6 December 2014

Booking open!

Telephone booking is now open for our January concert, An Enchanted Evening, a concert of popular music from Musicals, Opera and Gilbert and Sullivan which we know you will love!

Tickets are £10 and proceeds from refreshments will go to our beautiful venue, St Mary's Church, Pirton.

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

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Our Presidents Elected!

Our Presidents, Anne and Tony Critchley
Many congratulations to Anne and Tony Critchley who have moved from being our Presidents Elect to our Presidents Elected (with overwhelming enthusiasm) at last night's AGM.

This may be a tad of a step down for Anne and Tony as, since our Production of Princess Ida at the Buxton International Festival in 2004, they have been known as Queen Anne and King Tony. Frankly, when it came to supporting us through all the ins and outs of it, they ruled! Anne deserves a special mention for dealing with bags full of wet woolly knitted chain mail. And their support for all things PBGS has been staunch ever since in many practical and important ways. I don't know about everyone else at Putt, but when they turn up at a rehearsal I try extra hard so they can see what we are really capable of. The best kind of Presidents are the ones you want to make proud.

In other words, we don't know what we'd do without them!

Monday 24 November 2014


Just to remind everybody that the PBGS AGM will be this Tuesday 25th November at 7.45pm, at Streatley Village Hall. The AGM will be followed by a rehearsal for our next production, An Enchanted Evening.

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):