|THIRD AGE SAVOYARDS WILL TAKE TO THE BUXTON OPERA HOUSE STAGE THIS SUMMERThey might have passed that 60 years young mark – some of them more years ago than they can remember – but the Over 60s Savoyards are showing no need to slow down as they start rehearsals for their performance of The Mikado at the 20th International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in the magnificent Buxton Opera House on Sunday 28 July.
Ian Smith, who was a co-founder of the original West Yorkshire Halifax Savoyards Appreciation Society in 1975 will direct the show and he will also star as Ko-Ko – the hapless Lord High Executioner in this most popular and certainly the funniest of the Gilbert & Sullivan’s operas. James Newby one of the other co-founders will conduct the show.
Are we heading for the record books with the oldest cast ever to collectively “tread the boards?” The cast has a collective stage experience well in excess of 1,500 years. And they are all still at it! It really does take some thinking about.
Said Ian, “The over 60s form an increasingly important percentage of today’s population and there are scores of activity opportunities available. Many of the so-called ‘Third age’ groups visit the Festival every year and I decided it would be exhilarating to present a show with the entire cast in that special Third Age category.
Ian Smith founded the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival twenty years ago and it was born largely as a result of his own lifetime involvement with Gilbert & Sullivan and, in particular, the Savoyards Appreciation Society which between 1975 and 1985 won more awards at the Waterford International Festival of Light Opera than any other competing group.
Many of those “winners” will be in the cast because it was natural that in planning a “third age” production he should invite many of his old friends from that original group to come back together “just one more time”.
Said Ian. “It is surprising just how many of the original Savoyards are still actively engaged in amateur theatre – as directors, performers and administrators – each giving something back in return for the pleasure they have enjoyed over that cumulative 1500 years.”
The late John Reed, famous principal with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company directed the Savoyards for many years and this will be a traditional John Reed/Ian Smith production of The Mikado. It will be riddled with nostalgia, enthusiasm and talent. Waterford award winners Joan Horsfield (formerly Rawstrom) is Yum-Yum, David Lace – Nanki Poo; Jim Ogden – Pish Tush and Ian Smith – Ko-Ko.
“It is fantastic to have the opportunity to play one of my favourite roles on stage again, along with some of my favourite Savoyards. We know we are going to have a ball and this is one production in Buxton that just cannot be missed!”.
The Mikado, Over 60s Savoyards will take place at 7.30 pm on Sunday 28 July at Buxton Opera House.
Box Office Buxton Opera House: 0845 127 2190 or onlinewww.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk
More information and images: Janet Smith
G&S Festivals, The Old Vicarage, All Souls Road, Halifax HX3 6DR
Tel: 01422 323252 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org