25th International Gilbert & Sullivan festival
The Royal Harrogate and Harrogate Theatre, North Yorkshire
8-27 August 2018
THE NATIONAL GILBERT & SULLIVAN OPERA COMPANY is the resident Company at the annual International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival. For twenty-five years the Festival has attracted a world-wide audience to its annual “jamboree” and this Silver Anniversary year is no exception. Almost one hundred Canadian performers and supporters are flying all the way from British Columbia to Harrogate with a performance of “The Gondoliers” and America’s oldest G&S Society, the Savoy Company from Philadelphia are returning to Harrogate with a performance of Iolanthe. Each group will spend almost a week in the town enjoying the Festival and the sights and sounds of Harrogate and North Yorkshire.
Said Festival Chairman, Ian Smith, “The Gilbert and Sullivan operas are as popular today as ever. English National Opera are performing Iolanthe to full houses in the Coliseum London. Opera North attracted thousands to their recent production of Trial by Jury. English Touring Opera toured the country last season with Patience and Sasha Regan’s all male ensemble receive rave reviews wherever they appear. Gilbert & Sullivan is being performed currently in St Petersburg, Russia; France, Germany and even in Japan – in Japanese!”
An undoubted highlight of the G&S Festival in Harrogate is the Festival’s own, professional National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company which this year will present six brand new productions – The Pirates of Penzance, Ruddigore, Iolanthe, Trial by Jury and The Sorcerer and Haddon Hall during its three-week run in Harrogate’s Royal Hall. The company presents nothing but Gilbert and Sullivan and enjoys five-star reviews from national theatre critics. Unlike many of the national opera companies it receives no public funding support and has to stand very much on its own.
Some visitors will spend the whole three weeks at this year’s Festival, with wall to wall Gilbert & Sullivan from 9am every morning to the early hours of the following morning. A jam-packed daytime fringe programme gives ten British universities the opportunity to bring their own full-scale production to Harrogate Theatre for the special UNIFest competition.
A four-day conference entitled “The Magic of Gilbert and Sullivan” will feature thirty speakers travelling to Harrogate from Australia, America, Canada, Russia, Germany, Switzerland and the length and breadth of the UK with presentations on the life and times of England’s most famous theatrical partnership.
But the “international” element of the Festival doesn’t stop there. This year’s Festival Youth Production of “The Sorcerer” has a cast of youngsters from around the UK, America and Europe and the very popular Bus Pass Opera for the over 60s is attracting one 92-year-old participant flying all the way from New Zealand just to appear in their production of The Yeomen of The Guard.
Approximately 2000 people will perform on stage or backstage at this year’s Festival – the biggest celebration of Gilbert and Sullivan that the world has ever seen.
Known around the world for being simply the friendliest and happiest Festival there is, this celebration of 25 years of Sir Arthur Sullivan’s glorious music and W S Gilbert’s razor-sharp, witty dialogue – as relevant today as it was all those years ago – should be on everyone’s “must see” list this summer.
The Festival opens in the magnificent Royal Hall, Harrogate on August 8th through to August 27th. For more information call the Box Office on 01422 323252 or go to www.gsfestivals.org