Festival ticket sales off to a record start

National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company performing HMS Pinafore at last year's festival (s).
National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company performing HMS Pinafore at last year's festival (s).

It’s been a record-breaking week at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival box office with fans eager to secure their seats.

Tickets for this year’s 25th anniversary event went on open sale last week and in the first three days six times as many tickets were sold as over the same period last year.

Chairman and founder of the festival Ian Smith said: This is our Silver Jubilee Year and we are absolutely delighted at this fantastic and unprecedented response.

“The phone hasn’t stopped ringing and we have people coming to Harrogate from all corners of the UK, Australia, USA; literally from around the world.

“We now have to ensure that we deliver a first-class programme and fantastic entertainment.

“The festival is an absolute gem and quite simply one of the friendliest that you will find anywhere in the world.”

The International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival will host 33 performing societies who will present an astonishing 48 full-scale performances, with orchestra, in Harrogate Royal Hall and Harrogate Theatre between August 8th and 27.

The festival’s own professional National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera will perform six new productions: Ruddigore, The Pirates of Penzance, Iolanthe, Trial by Jury, Haddon Hall and The Sorcerer.

Last year their riveting production of Princess Ida won five-star press reviews and wowed festival audiences.

“The annual Bus Pass Opera for performers over 60 is a hoot, but make no mistake, these seniors can still deliver some outstanding performances, said Mr Smith.

“With a combined age of over 2,500 years these stars of yesterday show they still have got what it takes today,” he said.

This summer, 92 year old Gordon Ford is flying from New Zealand to take part in this year’s production of The Yeomen of the Guard.

He broke his pelvis three weeks ago but assures us that doctors have told him he will be 100 per cent by August.

At the other end of the age range, the Festival Youth Production for youngsters between the ages of 9 and 19 always delivers a cracking show.

Following one week of rehearsals with a professional director they perform their show in Harrogate Theatre and for many it is the start of lifelong love of acting, singing and opera.

A four-day symposium, the Magic of Gilbert & Sullivan delves into the history, the music and all things G&S.

Experts from around the world will take part in this fascinating insight into the UK’s first musical theatre partnership that paved the way for Rodgers and Hammerstein, Rice and Lloyd Webber and many more.

The festival runs from August 8th through to August 27. The box office is on 01422 323252.