NEWS


Sept 2017: Noda Win!


Congratulations to Emma Crew, Katharine Crew and Bryony Growdon for winning the Noda East District 3 award for 'Most Interesting Grouping' for their wonderful Essex performances as Kate, Isobel and Edith in our recent production of 'The Pirates of Penzance'. Just totes amazeballs!

July 2017: PBGS has four NODA Nominations


PBGS is delighted to announce that members have been nominated in the Noda East – District 3 awards in four categories for our recent production of The Pirates of Penzance and also for a performance in The Merry Widow: Best Director - Richard Fraser (Pirates), Best Musical Director - Graham Thompson (Pirates), Best Male in a Musical - David Crew as the Major General (Pirates) and as Baron Zeta (Widow), and finally Most Interesting Grouping - Bryony Growden, Emma Crew and Katharine Crew as Edith, Kate and Isabel (Pirates). Many thanks to our rep, Nova Horley, and congratulations on the nominations to Richard, Graham, David, Bryony, Emma and Katharine, you did us proud!



July 2017: PBGS at Benslow Music's Open Day


PBGS members had a very enjoyable day entertaining visitors at Benslow Music Trust's Open Day in Hitchin, with two half hour slots. Excerpts from Pirates of Penzance, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Gondoliers, and a chance to promote our wonderful society to a really appreciative audience who were plainly having a great time. They even got the chance to sing and do the movements to 'A Policemans Lot'! Thanks to Sue Trost for keeping us in line from behind the keyboard, Paula Fraser, Richard Fraser, Vikki Rehm, Graham Breeze, Bryony Reynolds, Jo Bigg, Richard Dean and Sue Wookey.

June 2017: Remembering Maisie Smith


We are sad to announce that long term Honorary Life Member Maisie Smith has passed away. Maisie was one of our founder members and performed with PBGS for over 20 years from our earliest shows in the 1970s to the late 1990s, along with her husband Peter, our first Stage Manager, and daughter Ruth. As well as performing on stage, Maisie helped with costumes and was always ready with a needle to save us from a frock disaster! Her gentle humour and kindness were much missed when she finally retired from the Society. The photo above shows Maisie regally medieval in our 1984 Production of 'Princess Ida'.

 Feb 2017: Remembering Nigel Beare

Nigel as KoKo with PBGS in 1986
PBGS is sad to learn of the unexpected death in Thailand of one of our former members, Nigel Beare. Nigel played many leading baritone roles with us in our earliest days including Guiseppe in The Gondoliers in 1982, Robin Oakapple in Ruddigore in 1983 and KoKo in The Mikado in 1986. Nigel really excelled in comedy where he had a light and sure touch, and it was always fun to share a stage and rehearsals with him. Our thoughts are with his family.


December 2016: New Honorary Life Members

Three long serving and valuable PBGSers have been made Honorary Life Members. We don't know where we'd be without Clive Wheeler, Paula Fraser and Richard Fraser, so many congratulations from all of us. You deserve it so much after years of working hard for us all.

 
Clive Wheeler as the Mikado
Paula Fraser as Josephine in HMS Pinafore
Richard Fraser in Jack the Ripper

Aug 2016: PBGS has two NODA Nominations

Yet more Noda East District 3 Nominations! We are thrilled that our spring PBGS production of Princess Ida garnered two in a new category - Best Adult Grouping in a Musical:

Ian Boughton, Barny, Shergold and Peter Johnson as the Soldier Trio and Gordon Hodges, Stephen Hoath and Joe Emler as Hilarion, Florian and Cyril. 

Although we didn't win it's good that so much talent and hard work was recognised.


Ian Boughton, Barny, Shergold and Peter Johnson as the Soldier Trio
Stephen Hoath and Joe Emler as Hilarion, Florian and Cyril

 Barny Shergold receiving a runner up certificate with Ian Boughton (right)

4th January 2016: New Year Plaudits for PBGS!

Graham Breeze and Paula Fraser in HMS Pinafore
From our regional NODA rep Nova Horley's review of the local theatrical year for The Luton News. 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 n-ovation.co.uk.


December 2015: PBGS sings at a wedding in 
Henley-on-Thames

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 on 21 December. 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

November 2015: Remembering 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.


SEPT 2015: PBGS wins NODA Best Costume 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


22nd August 2015: PBGS and Wolverton at the International G&S Festival Fringe

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 backstage
Margaret and Mike in The Pit

March 2015: Remembering 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.

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

Feb 2015: PBGS takes Trial by Jury to the International Festival of Gilbert and Sullivan

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.


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 our November 2014 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!


 September 2014: David wins Noda District 3 Award for Pooh Bah in our 2014 PBGS Mikado

David as Pooh Bah
Congratulations to David Crew who won Best Male Performance in a Musical in the 2014 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!

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.

Remembering June Game

June playing at out G&S Singathon in 2007
The society is sad to announce the death of 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.

Her enjoyment was infectious and her gentle humour made every rehearsal a delight, together with her superb skills on the keyboard. Within the last decade, she accompanied 6 hours of Gilbert and Sullivan music during a 12 hour Singathon to raise funds for the society, and was always willing to play at events and fundraisers to help PBGS. Her contribution was awarded by the company with her appointment as an Honorary Life Member and when she decided to retire from the piano for the society, it was still a delight to speak to her about the shows and see her in the audience.

The society will miss our first lady of the keyboard.

Noda District 3 Nomination 2013


 Brian as Prince Charming in 'Trial by Jury'

Congratulations to Brian Miles who was nominated for Best Male Performance in a Musical for his outstanding Carboy and Defendant in our Spring 2013 Triple Bill!


PBGS performs in the West End!



On 25th June, six PBGS performers, one Musical Director and 2 Wolverton G&S performers - with a technical Chairman - headed to the Harold Pinter Theatre in London's West End. Given one weeks' notice by the BBC's "The One Show" to perform the opening chorus from Iolanthe, we dragged the costumes out of the garage, choreographed the number, organised 2 rehearsals and gathered as much fairy dust as possible! Read the full report of our adventure here and watch this space for more photos of our fairies all lit up. Although the sequence ended up on the cutting room floor due to time constraints on the day, we loved being involved in this!


Noda Eastern District Award Nomination 2012


Our wonderfully funny Spring 2012 Production of Patience was one of three musicals nominated for a NODA Eastern Region Best Musical Award! Although we didn't win, being nominated is a considerable achievement against some very stiff competition.

Congratulations to our Producer, Alison Gibbs and our MD Margaret Johnson for getting the best out of us and giving us a fantastic show, and to everyone on stage and off who put everything into the production. The show was hugely enjoyed by our enthusiastic audiences and it's wonderful to see all our efforts recognised.



PBGS Celebrates 40 years of performing

Our October 2011 performance of the G&S Sketch Show in Hitchin marked the end of our 40th Anniversary Celebrations which have taken us from our performance of Ruddigore at the Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin, in May, through to performing the Sketch Show in Henlow, Buxton and at finally at Hitchin. It's been a busy year for PBGS!


JULY 31 2011 Putteridge Bury performs at the Buxon International G&S Festival Fringe


©Sue Wookey

Putteridge Bury took the G&S Sketch Show to the 2011 Buxton International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival as part of the Festival Fringe. The show went down a storm with an appreciative Festival audience. See our blog page for the full story!

©Sue Wookey