It was 50 years ago that the Spondon Musical Society decided to try their hand at a full production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore.
They had been spurred on by the rave reviews they had to a concert version of Trial By Jury the year before. The plaudits they then received for the full show resulted in an annual G&S production in the school hall for the next 13 years.
By then they had outgrown the school stage and made a brave move to the more professional surroundings of The Derby Playhouse and changing their name to the Derby Gilbert and Sullivan Company into the bargain.
With the guidance and direction of one of the founder members Andrew Nicklin the company has become one of the best in the country and has won an enviable list of awards at the International G&S Festival.
The talented singers and actors have jetted around the world to perform their shows, but always make sure they take to the stage somewhere in Derbyshire each year.
They have been seen at Derby Theatre, the Duchess Theatre in Long Eaton, Chatsworth’s amazing Victorian Theatre and of course Buxton Opera House. It is the latter to which they will be heading at the beginning of March, to continue their 50th anniversary celebrations.
First up on March 8 is Puccini’s Madam Butterfly which will be led by Sarah Helsby-Hughes and Nicholas Sales with a full orchestra.
The next day Donald Maxwell, a regular and favourite performer in Buxton, will join Andrew Nicklin to present the songs of Flanders and Swann and others.
The Gilbert and Sullivan treats start on Friday, March 10, with a performance of The Sorcerer. It is less well known than the Mikado but contains delicious humour and beautiful and exciting music, including the famous patter song My Name is John Wellington Wells.
The main event of the mini-festival will be two performances of The Mikado on Saturday, March 11, at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.
This new production by Andrew Nicklin will, as always, poke fun at the British Establishment and remains as potent as it has ever been – especially post Brexit. Ko-Ko’s Little List will inevitably be updated to take into account the news of early 2017.
For ticket details go http://www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk