The 27th Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate
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The 27th Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate


Dramatist W. S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan and jointly created fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known.

Harrogate is once again part of the Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, now in its 27th year. The festival has just finished a run in the Buxton Opera House and is now in Harrogate, at the Royal Hall from the 8 to 18 August 2021.

Founding organiser, Ian Smith, died in 2019, meaning this will be the first festival to run without him, but the wife Janet and sons Neil and Oliver have made sure it continues.

Janet Smith
Janet Smith

Janet Smith said:

This is the 27th festival, with the first being in 1994 in Buxton.

My late husband, Ian, was a very keen amateur performer, and had a society of his own, the West Yorkshire Savoyards. They used to go to Waterford, but then it came to the point where there was nowhere to go and compete, so he decided to start his own festival. That year he sent letters to Gilbert and Sullivan societies all over the world, and many came over that year.

That first year in Buxton was very small, but it all started from there, with it just growing over the years.

But one of the things that has happened is the amateur societies not doing as well as they used to. We still have the amateurs, but not this year.

At the last festival we had what we called a uni-fest, that was particularly Ian’s baby as he wanted to introduce young people to Gilbert and Sullivan. But they can bring the most fantastic productions, they come from many universities, some bring their own orchestras or we provide one. We use a separate 200 seater theatre setup in the the HCC.

We have a youth production here, so young people from 8 to 18 can join in, they come from Harrogate, they come from all over such as  Sweden  or France.

We have our own opera company, but this year we have run a reduced company. It is very much still in fashion. But when the festival started all those years ago it was very much out of fashion. It has definitely increased the appeal, and brought Gilbert and Sullivan to a new and young audience.

It was written over 100 years ago, but still topical and very funny. They poked fun at the establishment, the Government and House of Lords, those jokes are still relevant today, and still funny.

We get a lot of people from America that love it, and from Australia, Japan, all over. We also have performing groups that come to perform. They will bring 40 people, costumes, the whole lot, and have a ball.

The festival is unique, and that is difficult to explain, but there’s a huge amount of passion from the people here.

There’s the people that just happen to be on holiday on Harrogate or those that know every word, and love it.

We have noticed that the audience is getting younger, which is fantastic.

 

To book tickets https://www.gsfestivals.org/

Photographs from 13 August 2021 at the Royal Hall with the Pirates of Penzanze.

The 27th Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate The 27th Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate The 27th Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate The 27th Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate

The 27th Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate The 27th Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate The 27th Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate The 27th Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate The 27th Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate



The Royal Hall, Harrogate, Programme

Sunday, 8 August 2021
2.00 pm – HMS Pinafore, National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company
7.00 pm – The Mikado, National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company

Monday, 9 August 2021
7.00 pm – Patience, National G&S Opera Company
Tuesday, August 10
7.00 pm – The Yeomen of the Guard, Forbear! Theatre

Wednesday, 11 August 2021
2.00 pm and 7.00 pm Iolanthe, Charles Court Opera

Thursday, 12 August 2021
2.00 pm – G&S Express, Charles Court Opera
7.00 pm – HMS Pinafore, National G&S Opera Company

Friday, 13 August 2021
2.00 pm – The Diary of a Nobody, Simon Butteriss
7.00 pm – The Pirates of Penzance, Forbear! Theatre

Saturday, 14 August 2021
2.00 pm Patience – National G&S Opera Company
7.00 pm The Mikado – National G&S Opera Company

Sunday, 15 August 2021
2.00 pm The Pirates of Penzance, National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company
7.00 pm HMS Pinafore, National G&S Opera Company

Monday, 16 August 2021
7.00 pm The Sorcerer, Festival Production

Tuesday, 17 August 2021
2.00 pm G&S Express, Charles Court Opera
7.00 pm HMS Pinafore, National G&S Opera Company

Box Office: 01422 323252

www.gsfestivals.org


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