The 24th International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival is one of the UK’s leading arts events and will be staged in the Royal Hall, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, 4th-20th August. This annual event is a celebration of the very best performances of the country’s most successful and enduring musical partnerships – Sir Arthur Sullivan and W S Gilbert.
The Festival features forty full-scale productions staged within the magnificent Harrogate Royal Hall or its adjoining facility, a specially built, 200 seat “Savoy” Theatre for Youth, University and other special interest performances.
This year the Festival’s own professional National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company will perform four brand-new productions of all-time favourites: The Mikado, HMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and Princess Ida. A packed fringe programme includes a fascinating list of speakers and authors from around the world.
Highlights of the Festival include an outstanding “gothic Ruddigore” performed in Spanish by professional opera company Egos Theatre on Friday 18 August. The show played for six months in Barcelona and has received much critical acclaim and awards including the Best Musical (Barcelona Critic’s Award). Described as a “show full of gothic terror and humour but played with excellent musical prowess” the show is nothing quite like any Gilbert & Sullivan seen before and without doubt is the must-see show of the season.
A brand-new production of Princess Ida will be performed by the National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company on Saturday 12 August and Sunday 20 August. Directed by Vivien Coates, stars include Donald Maxwell as King Hildebrand, Richard Suart as King Gama, Emma Walsh as Princess Ida, Nicholas Sales as Cyril and Gaynor Keeble as Lady Blanche.
The Festival offers something for everyone and every age group. From the enchanting Festival Youth Production through to Bus Pass Opera for the over 60s. This year the “golden oldies” will perform “Patience” in the Royal Hall on Thursday 17 August. Last year their combined ages on stage exceeded 2500 years and what a fantastic performance they gave. It just goes to show that you do not need to be written off just because you reach a certain age.
Ian Smith , Festival Chairman, said: Our 2017 programme represents the very best of Gilbert & Sullivan and is simply a delight. We are looking forward to welcoming audiences from the length and breadth of the UK and from all around the world for a stimulating and uplifting visit to Harrogate in the summer. The magic of Gilbert & Sullivan lifts the spirits and our visitors always leave the theatre with a smile on their face and a skip in their step and that is exactly what the Festival is all about.