To those of you who are already Friends – we cannot thank you enough. Your support is crucial to the continuation and success of the Festival, and it is only through your generosity that we can plan for the future with confidence.
If you are not already a member, please consider joining today and become part of the G&S family. You will get some great rewards, including access to the priority booking in November, and you can join from as little as £35 per year. Join online at here or call: 01422 323252.
Your support is vital for the Festival’s future.
Meet your Board of Trustees
The Friends of the G&S Festival charity has a Board of seven elected Trustees – Philip Barton, Heather Fitzgerald, Bernard Lockett, Susan Smethurst, Gert Venghaus. Neil Smith and Janet Smith represent the Festival.
We benefit enormously from their wide range of skills and knowledge, and their support has been crucial in the past weeks. If there are any questions that you would like to raise at our next “virtual meeting” please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will find the answer! We will be sorting out how to host our annual AGM in the coming weeks.
I was born into a family completely lacking in any music, but university boyfriend, later husband, had been in G&S productions since schooldays. Running a business, it wasn’t so easy to get time off for the Buxton/Harrogate Festivals, but we eventually had four days there a few years ago. Decided to go back the following year for two weeks, thinking we would maybe have some sightseeing days, visit York or whatever, but on the second morning I was approached by Ian and asked whether I could sew…. And as they say, the rest is history.
G&S has always been part of my life, having been brought up in a G&S mad family in post-war London and with my grandmother telling me how she as a child was taken to the original run of “Utopia Limited” in 1893 (her own parents had seen many of the original shows too). My enjoyment lasted over the years, although I never had any wish to perform myself. It was great to attend my first G&S Festival in 2007 and to be immersed in it ever since. For enthusiasts or simply lovers of musical theatre, our Festival is key to keeping the heritage and legacy of G&S alive and relevant to today’s audiences – and it’s a happy place to be too!
My love of Gilbert and Sullivan started when I heard a group singing ‘Regular Royal Queen’ at a church concert. I joined Dagger Lane Operatic Society in Hull in 1986, and The Sorcerer was my first show. I was hooked! At the second G&S Festival, we were invited to perform The Chieftain in Buxton Opera House. We came almost every year from then on, bought a caravan so that we could come for three weeks, made lifelong friends, and some years attended every show! After many years of enjoying the Festival, volunteering led me into the costume department. I love this Festival and want it to continue for many years!
Having grown up on the Continent, I only learned about the G&S Festival in 2004, and it has been a life-transforming experience. After attending for three years, I started volunteering, and this has involved working backstage, assisting our fantastic singers and actors, setting up, front-of-house and much more and recently the honour and privilege of being a trustee. The Festival is an annual opportunity to meet a wonderful family of G&S enthusiasts from around the world. Anyone who cherishes such an experience would be well advised to become a member of the Association and enjoy the multitude of benefits, ranging from exclusive ticket sales to an incredible and most enjoyable atmosphere at the Festival.
One of my earliest memories was aged 4 being taken by mother to see The Mikado (with Martin Green and Donald Adams) at Bristol Hippodrome. Having been in G&S productions at school and college, I have now performed on stage in all 14 in Stamford, Camberley and, when working in the USA, Ridgewood NJ. I was first introduced to the Festival in 1998 when Camberley’s Savoy Singers first visited and have been in every Savoynet production since 2000. I am currently production manager and treasurer of this international group and have been a trustee of the Association since 2013. Although we moved to Buxton in 2012 just prior to my retirement, this was primarily as a result of my daughter and grandchildren’s move to the High Peak a few years earlier. As a director of Vision Buxton and treasurer of the Town Team, I continue to promote the Festival’s presence in Buxton and look forward to the time when it will be fully operational in both venues.