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

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Harrogate here we come!

Well - it's finally here! This coming Saturday 22nd at 2.30pm we'll be taking the stage at Harrogate Theatre alongside fellow society Wolverton G&S, for our spectacular double bill of Trial by Jury and The Zoo! This will be the fourth time that PBGS has appeared at the International Festival (formerly held in Buxton). In 2000 we took The Gondoliers, in 2004 it was Princess Ida, and in 2011 we took our unique G&S Sketch Show to the Festival Fringe.

Local supporters who've seen these productions will know that the Harrogate audience is in for a treat, with two sparkling operettas that are very different from anything they will have seen before!

'Break a leg', as they say, to all our performers in both Societies!

Tickets are still available for those at the Festival who want to support us.


Wednesday 29 July 2015

Booking for Harrogate

Harrogate Theatre
Time to book your tickets to see us perform our fabulous fairy tale version of Trial by Jury on the 22nd August 2015 at 2.30pm at Harrogate Theatre. We will be taking our production up north as part of the Fringe event for the International Festival of Gilbert and Sullivan. And, in a double bill, Wolverton G&S will be joining us and taking their modern day version of The Zoo as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations.

Alison Gibbs's Noda Award Nominated production of Trial was a huge success when we performed it at the Queen Mother Theatre in Hitchin in 2013, and we are thrilled to be performing it again in such a beautiful venue as part of an international event. If you would like to be there to support us, tickets are already going fast. They can be booked Via the Harrogate Theatre Website:

Harrogate Theatre.

We would love to see our friends there to cheer us on!

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Time to buy your PBGS Polo Shirt!

Check out our smart new PBGS Polo Shirts! Produced in navy, they are top quality shirts and are available in a wide rage of sizes for only £15. They are available at rehearsals or by ordering via info@pbgs.org. Perfect for rehearsing in and for all those show promotions we do!

We will be sporting these all around Harrogate when we take part in the Interntational G&S Festival  on the 22nd August. Nobody's going to miss that logo!


Monday 13 July 2015

HMS Pinafore Review

Many thanks to Nova Horley of Noda for her review of our June production of HMs Pinafore:
"PBGS really does G&S well – we had a super set and great costumes, with some interesting direction from new Director Amanda Sayers."
"The costumes were colourful, I loved the ladies red and blue dresses – very fetching, and also the turquoise that Hebe and Jebe wore. As always with PBGS they looked fresh and managed to suit everyone."
"The two stand out characters for me were Graham Breeze as Captain Corcoran and Paula Fraser as Josephine – they both gave their parts energy and expression along with a real understanding of the meaning of the words, both sung and spoken, combined with humour and angst where relevant. Well done to you both." 
Read Nova's full review which you can also download here as a PDF.

Photo: XMO4 Productions

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Trial by Jury at Harrogate

Remember Trial By Jury? Hopefully you do, because it's time for us to dust off our fairytale characters as we start (resume?) rehearsals this coming Sunday for our performance at the Harrogate International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival. We will be taking the stage on the afternoon of 22th August as part of the Festival Fringe.

Our ranks will be swelled by members of Wolverton G&S who we look forward to welcoming into the fold! We are forming a unique partnership with Wolverton, 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.

Reahearsals start at 3pm on Sunday 12th July at Streatley Village Hall.  

Photos by XMO4 Productions 

Tuesday 9 June 2015

A Message from our Presidents

A lovely message to all of us from our Presidents Elected:
To Putt,

We’d just like to add our congratulations and thanks to you all for entertaining us so well on Friday and Saturday. It was a joy to be in the audience and, as Alistair said, “I haven’t seen so much movement in Pinafore”. You all seemed to be having a wonderful time too – and in our book, that’s what makes it all so well worthwhile (and the hard work of its organisation and money raising!).

Thank you to all those ladies who helped with costumes too. It was greatly appreciated.

No doubt we’ll see you next at Harrogate and we look forward to that very much.

Sincerely yours,

Anne & Tony Critchley
Our thanks also go to Anne and Tony whose sterling support for PBGS is invaluable!

Sunday 7 June 2015

Thank you to our audiences!

A big thank you to all who joined us onboard HMS Pinafore this week. Your support and appreciation has meant that we have had a fantastic time! Pinafore may have docked, but there is still plenty going on:

We are off to Harrogate on the 22nd August 2015 when we will 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. We will be forming a unique partnership with Wolverton Gilbert & Sullivan Society, who are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, and who will be taking their production of The Zoo to perform on the same afternoon. Any Gilbert and Sullivan lovers who would like to attend the Festival and cheer us on will find more information at www.gsfestivals.org.

Our next local production will be an autumn concert at the Queen Mother Theatre where we will present The Best of All Musical Worlds from 9th - 10th October 2015. Watch this space for more details! And in Spring 2016 we will be back with Gilbert and Sullivan's battle of the sexes in a production of Princess Ida.

Tuesday 2 June 2015

HMS Pinafore sets sail!

Now give three cheers, we'll lead the way - Hoorah, Hoorah, Hooray! Our sparkling production of HMS Pinafore opens Wednesday at the Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin. We are now under full sail on the 'ocean blue', bringing you the full G&S mix of romance triumphant against unlikely odds, surprising secrets, mistaken identity, mixed up babies and quality singing!

Pinafore runs from Wednesday to Saturday with a Saturday Matinee. Tickets available from the Queen Mother Theatre. Book now to avoid disappointment as our shows are always popular!

Wednesday 27 May 2015

One week to Pinafore!

One week to go until we take the stage at the Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin, with our fabulous production of HMS Pinafore. There will be a few G&S surprises along the way in this extended show!


As you can see from our rehearsal photos, we are working very hard in a show that will be full of movement and humour as Ralph, the lowliest Tar who ploughs the water, seeks the hand of Josephine, the Captain's Daughter, despite the best efforts of Dick Deadeye, Sir Joseph Porter and her Father.

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.

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 www.thetimes.co.uk.

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