International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival performers gearing up for return to Buxton Opera House stage

Final preparations are under way for the return of the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival to Buxton Opera House next month.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 12:58 pm

After a Covid-enforced year off, the event will begin its first week in Buxton on Saturday, July 31, before moving to the Royal Hall, Harrogate from Sunday, August 8, until Wednesday, August 18.

Festival director Janet Smith said: “After the horrible year we have all endured, we cannot wait to get back into the theatre. Our seating plan in the theatre is socially distanced, and only 40 per cent of the usual seats are available, so we expect tickets to sell out quickly.

“We will have to wait to hear the Government announcements about easing restrictions, when hopefully we will be allowed to open up more seats.”

The Pirates of Penzance performed by the National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company. Photo by Jane Stokes.

Ongoing restrictions mean that the productions have to be adapted this year to ensure the safety of performers, audience members and backstage staff, but festival organisers are confident that these changes will not detract from the enjoyment of the performances.

The acclaimed National G&S Opera Company will be opening the festival with a performance of the HMS Pinafore, and follow up with The Mikado, directed by and starring Simon Butteriss, and a brand new production of Patience.

The closing night in Buxton will see the award-winning Charles Court Opera present their enchanting – and timely – production of Iolanthe, a sharp satire of power, privilege and parliamentary democracy.

Also in the first week, rising talent Rachel Middle will direct Forbear! Theatre productions of The Pirates of Penzance and The Yeomen of the Guard.

And for something completely different, on Friday, August 6, Simon Butteriss will present The Diary of a Nobody. The comic masterpiece by Gilbert and Sullivan’s leading man George Grossmith and his brother Weedon has been a best-selling novel since its publication in 1892, and Butteriss has now adapted it into a hilarious one man show.

For anyone wanting to learn more about the giants of Victorian theatre, there will also be a fringe programme of morning talks, masterclasses and afternoon concerts in Buxton.

More information and tickets for all performances are available now via or 01298 72190.

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