Tuesday, February 26, 2013
A long-running Gilbert and Sullivan society in north Norfolk is set to take its final bow after deciding to fold - but is keen to go out with a rousing finale.
Sheringham Savoyards have decided to call it a day after falling membership, particularly men, made it difficult to stage the popular Victorian comic operas.
But they are hoping former colleagues will return for two farewell productions - a “come and sing” Pirates of Penzance session in March and concert version of HMS Pinafore in June.
President and founder chairman Alan Stables said: “It is sad , but we have a lot of achievements to look back on.”
The society has regularly staged a annual show and smaller concert since it formed in 1979. Last year however it scrapped both, mainly due to lack of male lead singers, but was determined to bounce back in 2013 with a revamped programme with events planned at Overstrand and Ludham as well as its home town.
Committee member Jason Bell said a drive for new members had not met with any success, so they made the difficult decision to wind up the society in the summer.
Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas had been a joy to perform and he felt the humour did not date with the words poking fun at the House of Lords and class structure.
He hoped the swansong performance of Pinafore at the Sheringham Little Theatre would see the society draw a fantastic chorus of former members, and hoped for “the biggest chorus ever on the Little Theatre stage, no matter how many headaches it may cause.”
Mr Stables, who took comic baritone roles such as KoKo in the Mikado and the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe, said the plots and music were brilliant, and could be updated - as the Savoyards did with a production of Ruddigore which they set in the 1920s.
Former members are being encouraged to take part in the grand finale events. The “come and sing” Pirates of Penzance is at St Andrew’s Methodist Church on March 23 at 7.30pm
The farewell HMS Pinafore is at Sheringham Little Theatre on June 20 and 21 at 7.30pm. The show was also the society’s first ever performance, so it was fitting it would also be its last, said Mr Bell, who will be producer. Ro Curtis, who played Josephine in 1979, will be musical director and Lester Shaw will be accompanist.
Any former members who would like to take part should contact society secretary Kath Whiting on 01263 821185 or Jason Bell on 01263 822105.