G&S Festival

The 28th International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival gets underway this weekend with a packed eight day programme of music and entertainment.

By Louise Cooper
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 6:24 pm

The annual event, known as the ‘friendliest opera festival in the world, runs from July 30 to August 6 at Buxton Opera House, featuring plenty of opera alongside a fringe programme of talks and concerts.

Highlights of this year’s festival will include three new productions by the acclaimed National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company (NGSOC). The all-time favourite, The Pirates of Penzance, will be directed by Sarah Helsby Hughes and stars James Cleverton as the dashing Pirate King.

And the must-see NGSOC show of the 2022 season is the rarely performed Utopia Limited, directed by Jeff Clarke and starring Richard Suart as King Paramount. Last staged by the company in 2011, this promises to be an exciting and visually stunning production.

Jeff Clarke commented: "What Utopia is really about is the sending up of Victorian Society and British morals and mores. And surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly, not a lot of those have changed, and there is a lot that is still incredibly relevant to our society today".

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    John Savournin will direct a brand new production of Iolanthe starring Matthew Kellett as the Lord Chancellor. This satirical fantasy conjures the escapism we all need right now with a hilarious story and an abundance of fairies and dim-witted members of the House of Lords.

    Jeff Clarke also brings his much celebrated and much-loved production of Opera della Luna's HMS Pinafore to the festival. John Savournin brings Charles Court Opera's Patience and their acclaimed Express G&S - "When Agatha Christie meets Gilbert and Sullivan" parlour production while Forbear! Theatre will perform a brand new production of The Gondoliers.

    Competing amateur groups at the festival include Peak Opera with “The Mikado”.

    Running alongside the Festival is a jam-packed fringe programme including talks and concerts as the festival returns to full strength for 2022.

    For the full listings see https://gsfestivals.org/ and to book tickets, see the Buxton Opera House website at https://buxtonoperahouse.org.uk/ or call the box office on 01298 72190.