The reality of COVID-19 and its repercussions on the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival hit home with a vengeance at the beginning of April. One of our first steps was to look critically at our spending. We had money in the bank and calculated out how long we could last on zero revenue and our current spending levels. Answer: not long!
In a week, we went from potentially having our best financial year in the last twenty-six, to probably our worst on record!
If the Festival was going to survive for eighteen months without any income stream, we needed to move fast, and we needed to think quickly. Our first action was to cut any costs that we could without jeopardising the future of the company once life started to return to normal.
Not all of the changes we’ve made have been in reducing costs. For example, we upgraded our website package with our TV addition and worked night and day to bring gsopera.tv to our customers. We are very proud of our achievement in such a short space of time, and it is now paying its way in helping to fill the gap left by the cancellation of the Festival. But we need to do much, much more.
We will announce the 2021 programme on Friday, 22 May on our Facebook Page (“Like” Us Here). The Festival will take place in Buxton Opera House from July 31st, to August 7th and in The Royal Hall, Harrogate from August 8th to August 22nd
Other plans in the pipeline and fundraising ideas are:-
• An exciting new range of webinars – “Getting to know the G&S Operas” with the Secretary of the Sir Arthur Sullivan Society and Festival favourite Stephen Turnbull. You will be able to watch these on gsopera.tv from the end of June, and we can’t wait!
• The Cash Bonanza Lottery is a fantastic way to raise funds. Members have the opportunity of winning some exceptional prizes, and the odds are excellent! One of our G&S supporters won £1000 in May, and there is an opportunity to win a cruise for 2, weekly cash prizes, £200 gift voucher for gsopera.tv and many many more. You can join in here.
• Members of the “Friends of the G&S Association” really are the lifeblood of the Festival. Thank you to everyone who is a member. We couldn’t do it without you. You can join this fantastic community here from as little as £35 per annum.
• We have a weekend break and three nights in the Royal Hall planned in Harrogate in January subject, of course, to government restrictions and advice. If it can happen, it will be wonderful and the tonic we all need right now. Starting on Saturday, 2 January, we will have our annual Gala Concert with the National Festival Orchestra. On Sunday, there will be two professional Gilbert & Sullivan performances, and on Monday, 3 January, we will have a fabulous “Together Again” concert starring members of the National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera company. Fingers firmly crossed, please!
• We are planning our G&S weekend in May 2021 in the beautiful hotel we visited in Torquay a few years ago. Fresh sea air, good food, great company and fantastic entertainment. What more do you want?
• We have a fantastic, brand new Theatrical Adventures cruise down the Seine next Spring and more exciting trips planned for Autumn 2021. Simply perfect. And another exciting Adventure visiting the Christmas markets along the Danube. Brochures will be available soon. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
• We will go to print with our newsletter later this week, and it will be jam-packed with more information about our plans.