We look forward to the future and hope to be still able to bring you special events to mark the 50th anniversary of the society in late 2021, including a production of The Yeomen of the Guard and a specially recorded audio CD of our Trial by Jury/Sorcerer Double Bill which was originally scheduled for March 2020! Follow us here or on Facebook for updates.
|Penny in our 2003 production of The Pirates of Penzance|
|Catherine in our production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum|
PBGS is very sad to hear of the passing this week of both Penny Trundle and Catherine Robertson.
Penny was PBGS Honorary Life Member and it is hard to learn of her passing so soon after losing her husband Mick, another PBGS Honorary Life Member, last December. Penny performed with the Society throughout the Nineties and early Noughties until retiring from performing. She was very adept with the needle and saved many of us from potential onstage sartorial disasters over the years! She will be much missed by those of us who had the pleasure of sharing the stage with her. Our thoughts are with Penny and Mick's family at this very difficult time.
We were also very sad to learn of the passing of Catherine Robertson following a battle with Cancer. A strong singer and enthusiastic member of the company, she really enjoyed herself in our G&S performances in Harrogate, as well as in cameo roles within "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum". She will be sadly missed and our condolences go to her family.
|Mick in our 2003 production of Pirates of Penzance|
A big man with a big heart who will be sadly missed by all of us who remember him. Our thoughts are with his wife, Penny, also an Honorary Life Member.
|Grand Duke MD Graham Thomson|
Take a listen to this wonderful interview on Three Counties Radio with our Chairwoman Paula Fraser and member Al Saunders on why singing and being a member of a group like PBGS is good for your mental health and welbeing. The interview starts at 0.44.40. Well done, both of you, on speaking so eloquently about such an important subject.
Three Counties Radio: Reflecting on World Suicide prevention day
Congratulations to Paula Fraser, Sue Wookey and Rachel Thomas, all of whom have been nominated for a N-OVAtion Award for 'Best Female Actor in a Musical'. Paula and Rachel for their roles as Desiree and Madam Armfeldt in October 2018's A Little Night Music and Sue for Baroness von Krakenfelt in our last show, The Grand Duke.
And to add to the PBGS roll call, Graham Thompson is nominated for Best MD for The Grand Duke. Well done Graham!
It was really lovely to sing once again at Benslow Music Trust's Open Day and bring a mixed programme of G&S to a small but really appreciative audience! We performed selections from Iolanthe to give everyone a taste of our next show, then launched into excerpts from Ida, Patience, Gondoliers and Mikado. There were lots of smiling faces and we had great fun too. Any excuse to sing and lark about in G&S topsy-turvydom!
What a wonderful show Grand Duke has been. We were fortunate to see it twice on Thursday and Saturday and greatly enjoyed both times.Thanks to Mr and Mrs Parfitt for sharing how much they enjoyed the show with us, Grand Duke is a difficult show to pull-off successfully and encouraging words like these make all the hard work worthwhile! And, yes, we were all having a great time on stage!
This is one of the best productions of GD that we have seen ( and we have seen a few!). Careful editing of the text and tasteful updating plus superb direction gave us a lively, vibrant and colourful production. The set was simple but so effective and lighting well controlled and shaped the emotions of the scenes.
Choreography was fantastic and made full use of the stage. It was lovely to see all the chorus working so hard throughout, but also clearly showing that they were enjoying what they were doing. Strong performances from the Principals gave the finishing touches. All in all a show of which everyone can be proud. Please pass our congratulations and thanks to all.
We look forward to Iolanthe in October.
|Teresa in The Merry Widow|
|Jon Newham explains a policeman's lot...|
PBGS was thrilled to open the Festival Fringe for the 25th Silver Jubilee International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate with our production of The Gondoliers on Thursday 9th August 2018 at Harrogate Theatre. The Festival is a wonderful event to take part in which stretches every company and PBGS rose to the challenge in style, as you can see from the screen grabs of our performance! Thanks to everyone who made this possible and to the International G&S Festival for hosting such a celebration of all things Gilbert and Sullivan. It really was 'too much happiness'.
PBGS are delighted to announce two Noda East District 3 Awards Nominations, both for Best Duo/Trio in a Musical: Sue Wookey and Peter Sayers for Domina and Senex in our Autumn 2017 production of 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum', and Nigel Harvey, Bryony Reynolds and Elizabeth Bottone for the Duke and Duchess of Plaza Toro and their daughter Casilda in our Spring 2018 production of 'The Gondoliers'.
It's wonderful to see performances from both these shows recognised after all the hard work put in by everybody. Congratulations to all those nominated and keep those fingers crossed for awards night in September!
PBGS was thrilled to perform once again at the Benslow Music Trust's Open Day. Seven PBGS members along with MD Sue Trost sang selections from A Little Night Music and The Gondoliers, with a little detour into Pirates half way through to get the audience to sing along with 'A Policeman's Lot'. Benslow Music offers residential and day music courses, and chamber concerts at its beautiful purpose-built campus in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.
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!
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!
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.
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'.
|Nigel as KoKo with PBGS in 1986|
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|
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|
|Graham Breeze and Paula Fraser in HMS Pinafore|
'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.
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|
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.
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|
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|
|Dorothy, on the right, in our 1996 production of Yeomen of the Guard|
|Our 2013 production of Trial by Jury|
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.
|Our Presidents, Anne and Tony Critchley|
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!
|David as Pooh Bah|
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.|
|June playing at out G&S Singathon in 2007|
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!