Words by W.S. Gilbert and Music by Arthur Sullivan
The Guildhall,
March 1979
Director: Pam Hoskins
Cast List
Major-General Stanley
The Pirate King
Sergeant of Police
Pirate Lad

Notes on this performance

52. The Pirates of Penzance                                                                                                                                                                 

And back to G&S…

Although the Society still only performed one main show a year, it did not enter into hibernation as soon as March was over. After Carmen finished, members could enjoy a cricket match, go to a garden party at Eva Thorne’s house, enjoy a barbeque at Pam and John Hoskins’ beach hut, partake in a treasure hunt or a beer and skittles evening and even attend a jumble sale – all these were squeezed in besides nine performances of Trial by Jury at the Southampton Show. Attention then turned to the next main show and back to the security of G&S with The Pirates of Penzance.

Neither June Palmer nor Ward Gardner were invited to continue as the directing team for Pirates and both left complaining of the people who ‘drifted in and out and spoilt the efforts of the hard working nucleus’. Pamela Hoskins (assisted by Anne Starbuck) and Peter Robson took over as Producer and MD respectively. Murray Bigby also decided that Carmen was his last show as Chairman and Sally Thompson replaced him. Grace Bound agreed to make (and order) costumes for the show.

Brian Howard undertook research into the practicality of performing Ruddigore at The Nuffield Theatre in June and the draft budget looked very promising, but the provisional booking was finally cancelled due to poor support from the members. The Guildhall also invoiced the Society for Performing Rights Charges for Pirates and regretted that they would also have to charge for all shows from 1975 – initially panic set in but Bob Gibson solved the problem by pointing out that, apart from Carmen, the shows in question were all out of copyright.

Philip de Grouchy made his debut for SOS as the Major General whilst the two parts that a previous MD claimed could not be cast from within the Society were taken by David Lewis (Frederic) and Jill Charnley (Mabel). Peter Hill (making his entrance on a vintage bicycle borrowed from Beaulieu Motor Museum) played the Sergeant of Police - a role he was to reprise 35 years later! There was criticism of the casting as soprano Hazel Kilham was given the part of Kate, causing complaints from the altos.

Unusually, the Echo report failed to mention any of the principal performers and concentrated on the production itself, stating that it, ‘maintained the high standards we have come to expect over the years. For Pamela Hoskins, who has sung with the society for 25 years, this is her first major production, while a change of musical director brings Peter Robson, another seasoned performer, to the rostrum. As last year the orchestra is part of the versatile City of Southampton Orchestra. The opening chorus set the scene on what was to be a lively and enjoyable evening’s entertainment. The production has several original touches – most notably when the policemen form a close-harmony group for an encore in Act 2.’

The Pirates of Penzance made a spectacular profit of £1531 and the Society felt able to donate to charities once again, giving £200 to the Mayoral Appeal Fund, £100 to Southampton Hospital Broadcasting Association, £50 to St. John’s Ambulance Brigade and £100 to the Marie Curie Memorial Foundation.

Terry O'Farrell

Photo of Lords

Philip de Grouchy (Sergeant-Major Stanley), Anne Starbuck (Isabel), Hazel Killham (Kate), Avril Botto (Edith), Peter Hill (Sergeant of Police), Jillian Charnley (Mabel)

Photo of Pirates

Front Row: Douglas Huggins, John Hoskins (Samuel), Dennis Gooch (The Pirate King), Catherine Baker (Ruth)

Photo Of Pete

Publicity Photo: Peter Hill (Sergeant of Police) on the bicycle that he used on stage.

 LB books dog

Coming to you in January 2022!