Tuesday 27 April 2021

PBGS 50 Years Singing #3: Expanding our horizons

Brigadoon 1993

By 1979 PBGS was expanding rapidly so the decision was made to move productions from the refectory at Putteridge Bury to Luton Library Theatre. Our first show there was a production of The Mikado, although rehearsals continued at Putteridge Bury until it became part of the University of Luton (now the University of Bedfordshire) in 1992. 

After Peter Jenkyn's retirement, Margaret Blenkin (then Patterson) became MD and then our Chairwoman. Under her leadership the Society's horizons expanded further and PBGS diversified to perform its first non-G&S shows, always playing to the Society's strengths of strong operatic soloists and wonderful chorus sound. Our first foray outside the G&S Genre was Brigadoon in 1993, followed over the next few years by Die Fledermaus, Orpheus in the Underworld and Carmen. But the core of our repertoire was, and still is, Gilbert & Sullivan.

Die Fledermaus 1994

Orpehus in the Underworld 1995

Tuesday 13 April 2021

PBGS 50 Years singing #2: Early days at Putteridge Bury

After being founded at the Putteridge Bury Teacher Training College in 1971, early G&S productions took place in the College Refectory during the October half-term holidays. The Society's growing reputation for high musical standards and witty productions meant it expanded beyond a College Society, drawing its membership from across three counties! Even when the Society moved its main productions to Luton Library Theatre (now St Georges), we still performed summer concerts at Putteridge Bury and rehearsed there until 1992. It was a great pleasure to work in such a beautiful building surrounded by lovely grounds. Here are some photos of ‘The Crowd’ from our 1978 Trial by Jury (performed at Putteridge Bury) and our 1980 production of The Pirates of Penzance at Luton Library Theatre.

1980 Pirates of Penzance

1980 Pirates of Penzance

1980 Pirates of Penzance

1978 Trial by Jury - 'The Crowd'


Tuesday 6 April 2021

PBGS 50 Years Singing #1: How PBGS started!

Peter Jenkyns, Ruddigore 1983

As this is PBGS’s 50th Anniversary we will be posting some snippets about our history throughout the year, so look out for our ‘PBGS 50 Years Singing’ Specials! So – how did our Society start? PBGS was founded in 1971 by Peter Jenkyns, lecturer at what was then the Putteridge Bury Teacher Training College just outside Luton, and June Pickard who was studying to become a teacher there. Peter was an accomplished singer, composer of children's vocal music and MD - even sought after by the D'Oyly Carte as a patter baritone - and June was an experienced performer and producer who had trained at the Royal College of Music. The first PBGS members were all students who were part of the Department known as 'Music Main' and their very first production was that perennial favourite, The Pirates of Penzance. Above is Peter, in a great photo taken by The Luton News in 1983 to promote Ruddigore, and below a programme from our 1973 Gondoliers and a photo from our 1976 production of The Yeomen of the Guard!


Photo of Peter Jenkyns © The Luton News