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HMS Pinafore keeps Gilbert and Sullivan society legacy afloat at Sheringham

PUBLISHED: 11:59 04 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:02 04 October 2017

Opera Anywhere in Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore, which runs at Sheringham Little Theatre this weekend. Photo: OPERA ANYWHERE

Opera Anywhere in Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore, which runs at Sheringham Little Theatre this weekend. Photo: OPERA ANYWHERE

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Classic comic opera returns to Sheringham Little Theatre this weekend, as part of a legacy left by a defunct north Norfolk Gilbert and Sullivan Society.

Opera Anywhere in Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore, which runs at Sheringham Little Theatre this weekend. Photo: OPERA ANYWHERE Opera Anywhere in Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore, which runs at Sheringham Little Theatre this weekend. Photo: OPERA ANYWHERE

A touring performance of HMS Pinafore, by Opera Anywhere, sails into town on Friday and Saturday, four years after it was performed as the swan song for the long-running Sheringham Savoyards Gilbert and Sullivan group.

Founded in 1979, the group, whose first ever production was also HMS Pinafore, foundered in 2013 due to a shortage of members, ending a 34 year tradition that saw them stage more than 60 shows at the Little Theatre and other north Norfolk venues.

Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson said that, as the Savoyard’s home, the venue had pledged to support Gilbert and Sullivan and wanted to get local people involved.

Oxfordshire-based Opera Anywhere, who have previously staged two other Gilbert and Sullivan operas at Sheringham, was set up in 2000 by husband and wife team Mike and Vanessa Woodward, who wanted to stage popular and less well-known productions in theatres and festivals, as well as at new and unusual venues.

The pair have since toured all over the UK and, in their third visit to Sheringham, will be again be giving roles to local young people.

“A bonus is that leading role appearances by Zach Green, from Fakenham, and Katie Thompson, from Knapton, have helped them achieve their dream of getting to drama schools,” Mrs Thompson said. “Zach has won a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Katie has a place at Leeds University to study performing arts.”

HMS Pinafore tells the tale of a mismatched love affair between lowly sailor Ralph and captain’s daughter Josephine, whose father has his sights set on marrying her off to Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty.

But, when the captain discovers the pair’s plan to elope, a surprise disclosure leads to a turning of the tables, and harmony and happiness for all concerned.

HMS Pinafore, presented by Opera Anywhere, will run at Sheringham Little Theatre on Friday and Saturday, October 6 and 7. Tickets, priced £17 (£12 under 16s and students) are available from the box office on 01263 822347 or from www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

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