THE PRODUCTION STAFF
Katherine Nealley, Director
Havertown, Pennsylvania, USA
Kate has been choreographing and directing shows for nearly 30 years. She is returning to the Festival after seven years, having last performed with the G&S Players company in Bruce Montgomery's reconstruction of Thespis. She has stage directed for most of the G&S companies in the Philadelphia area, including The Savoy Co., G&S Soc. of Chester Cty., Rose Valley Chorus & Orch., and The Ardensingers, and has choreographed for many other groups. She previously performed both as soloist and in the corps de ballet with the Miami Ballet company.
Kate is also a fully certificated Scottish Country Dance instructor, and teaches Scottish Ladies' Step dance. She will be directing The Merry Widow for Rose Valley Chorus & Orch. in 2008.
Florrie Marks, Music Director
Philadelphia, PA, USA
Named Best Musical Director of the 3rd International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival, Florrie has achieved the rare distinction of having conducted all 14 G&S operas. She is well-known for her thoughtful interpretation of the G&S canon, with Festival adjudicator David Turner saying of her work, "I thought precision, interpretation, thoughtfulness were there throughout; I thought it was musical direction of a very high order." Born in Chicago, Illinois, she grew up in Stamford, Connecticut and Ridgewood, New Jersey. She credits her parents for introducing her to and fostering her love for G&S, through their involvement with the Troupers Light Opera Company and the Ridgewood Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company. She began playing the violin in the Ridgewood G&S orchestra at the age of 13, eventually serving as Concertmaster, and later "graduated" to conducting some performances. After moving from New Jersey, she returned to the company in 1987 as a guest conductor for several performances of Iolanthe during the company's 50th anniversary season. Since 1992, she has been Music Director of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Chester County, and she was also Music Director of the Ardensingers' 2005 production of Utopia, Limited.
Florrie's musical direction credits go beyond G&S, and include the Ridgewood High School Alumni Band; the Glen Rock (NJ) Pops Orchestra; the Allenberry Playhouse, a professional theater in the Harrisburg, PA area; and the world-premiere production of Moll Flanders, an original musical. For many years a professional violinist in New York City, Florrie studied with famed concert virtuoso Ruggiero Ricci and former New York Philharmonic Concertmaster David Nadien; she later played with the Greensboro (NC), Reading (PA), and North Carolina Symphony Orchestras. She studied composition and violin at the Juilliard School, and she has a B.S.Mus.Ed. from Gettysburg College and an M.M. in Violin Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she was Assistant Director of the Collegium Musicum. Florrie is also active as a church musician: she is Associate Director of Music Ministries at Temple Lutheran Church in Havertown, PA, and the Worship & Praise Leader at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Clifton Heights, PA.
Peter Crichton, Producer
Peter runs his own computer business with his wife Carol (who is also a SavoyNetter), specialising in software for the passenger transport industry mainly in the UK, but also with users in Hong Kong and New Zealand. His interests include G&S, singing, computers, electronic gadgets, transport history and more recently model railways. To keep the G&S connection, he has a model steam locomotive called a Mikado.
His interest in G&S started at school after seeing a school production of H.M.S. Pinafore, and then the year after, The Mikado. The following year, he was able to be in the production of The Gondoliers, and two years later got his first part in Trial By Jury as the Counsel for the Plantiff.
After leaving school, Peter had a short twenty year break from performing G&S returning in 1999. Since then Peter has appeared in all the operas excluding Utopia and The Grand Duke, and in these has sung all the major tenor roles except The Duke of Dunstable and Lord Tolloller. (He transgressed and sang the baritone roles Grosvenor and Strephon, instead.) Peter played Colonel Fairfax in the SavoyNet production of The Yeomen of the Guard in 2000.
Recent roles include Ralph Rackstraw with The West Yorkshire Savoyard; Fairfax with Greenacres OS, Oldham; and Nanki-Poo with Sale G&S, which he will be playing again at Buxton at this year's festival. Later this year he will be playing Strephon with The West Yorkshire Savoyards and his fourth Ralph Rackstraw with Greenacres OS. He says he does try and fit some work in between his G&S activities!!!
Keith Drage, Stage Manager
I have been active in technical activities backstage since school, ranging from stage manager to lighting designer to master carpenter to sound engineer, down to lowly scene shifter. My first Gilbert and Sullivan show was as lighting designer at Hull University. My first show at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival was in 1996.
I have worked with many companies in Nottingham and Derby, and frequently support 6 or 7 different shows a year in Buxton Opera House. Companies include Savoynet (since 2000), Derby Gilbert and Sullivan Company, Trent Opera, Nottingham Festival Opera, Present Company and Present Opera, Derby Opera Company, Rolls-Royce Operatic Society. I admit my first preference is to work on Grand Opera and shows by Sondheim.
I have worked the whole G&S canon, and done the book for the entire canon except Patience. At previous festivals, I have been DSM for the following winning shows: Princess Ida (Derby G&S Company, 1997), The Yeomen of the Guard (Derby G&S Company, 2000), and Ruddigore (Derby G&S Company, 2003). I have also participated in the Waterford International Festival of Light Opera an number of times, and been DSM for the following winning shows: Pacific Overtures(Nottingham Festival Opera, 2001) and A Little Night Music (Trent Opera, 2004). As well as thePrincess Ida listed above which took place on the Philadelphia, USA leg of the festival, I have also been DSM for the Derby G&S Company visit with Iolanthe to Seattle in 2003, and will shortly be doing the same job for their visit to Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, Canada with H.M.S. Pinafore, making my third overseas country.
When not working on shows, my real job is for Lucent Technologies (Bell Labs) specifying standards defining network protocols for mobile phone operation, primarily working on Voice over IP in both the 3rd Generation Partnership project and the Internet Engineering Task Force.
Kathryn Barton, Wardrobe Mistress
Little Sandhurst, Berkshire, UK
Originally from Yorkshire, Kathryn now lives in Little Sandhurst, Berkshire. After performing in a production of Trial By Jury when at school in Lincolnshire, Kathryn realized that (1) she loved G&S, but (2) hated being on stage. Kathryn has been front-of-house manager for the Savoy Singers (Camberley, Surrey) and has assisted with SavoyNet costumes and props since our production of Yeomen in 2000. Three years ago, Kathryn took over responsibility as SayoyNet wardrobe mistress and custodian of the cast's confidential personal statistics. In real life, Kathryn is an assistant manger of a day centre for adults with learning difficulties in Wokingham, Berkshire, and enjoys crosswords, knitting, gardening and flower arranging.
Rachel Keegan, Repetiteur
Ashford, Middlesex, England
Rachel was educated at grammar schools in Bristol and Twickenham and at Oxford University where she read Chemistry. For a number of years she was an Examiner at the UK Patent Office and since 1988 she has been working for BP as a Patent Information Analyst.
Rachel's earliest experiences as an accompanist were with her school choir. She was talked into becoming rehearsal pianist for Hatton Operatic Society (based near London's Heathrow Airport) two days after leaving Oxford. Little did she know that she would still be there thirty-four years later! In recent years she has also made a few appearances as Musical Director; she particularly enjoys working with small ensembles which she can direct from the keyboard. For The Pirates of Penzance in 2002 she produced her own reduced orchestration which has since been used by groups in the USA and Canada. Other shows as MD include Salad Days,Oklahoma!, Mack and Mabel, Anything Goes and The Boy Friend. She has also arranged and directed the music for concerts, music halls and pantomimes.
Rachel first became involved in SavoyNet when she answered an appeal for a pianist for an informal weekend gathering in 2002. Since then she has played for several other such SavoyNet events (known in the UK as QWERTs) and has been one of the rehearsal pianists for the Savoynet productions at Buxton since 2003.
In her spare time Rachel runs the Hatton Operatic Society web site and is a keen digital photographer.
Claire Little, Assistant Stage Manager, Costume Assistant
London, England, UK
Claire Little was born in York, and currently lives and works in London, which is definitely the wrong end of the country. She has been singing G&S and other musical theatre since 1997, most recently with Grosvenor Light Opera Company, and her roles have included a French maid, a spicy pasta sauce and a tenor pirate. H.M.S. Pinafore will be her seventh production at Buxton with SavoyNet, including 5 appearances in the chorus, and two as costume assistant. Trying to combine a chorus place with costuming Ruddygore last year proved almost impossible, so this year she is trying to combine costuming with the Assistant Stage Manager job instead! In September 2006 Claire crewed for Trent Opera/Nottingham Festival Opera at the International Festival of Light Opera in Waterford, and the combination of too much beer and not enough sleep proved so much fun she is going back this year.
Claire works as a business information researcher at the Institute of Directors, and in her spare time, enjoys sky-diving, taxidermy and wondering if anyone ever reads these biogs.
Eric Peterson, Rehearsal Accompanist
Queens, New York, USA
Eric Peterson is a New Yorker and has appeared in two Savoynet productions: Utopia, Ltd. (Phantis) and Ruddygore (Sir Jasper). Eric has sung and accompanied at North American east coast G&S gatherings for years, but conducting kept him from the NYC stage until this past year, where he was seen as Mr. Lindquist in St. Bart's Players' A Little Night Music, the priest in Blue Hill Troupe's Yeomen and the Foreman in LOONY's Trial by Jury. He will be music-directing BHT's fall show,Mame, in November. Outside of rehearsals, Eric is a technical writer and business analyst in the software industry and lives in historic Jackson Heights, Queens with partner Charles Keiser.
Elizabeth Lee Pugh, Costume Committee
Yukon Territory, Canada
Elizabeth Pugh (known as Lee to most people in Canada) was born in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire and in 1966 went to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory, Canada for a year, where she ended up getting married and raising a family of three daughters and still lives there. Her love of G&S began when she was about 14 years old and was taken to see the old D'Oyly Carte during one of their seasons at the Golders Green Hippodrome in the 1950s.
While her daughters were growing up, she began sewing for her family and became involved with the costumes for various school productions, figure skating "carnivals" and other community productions, and is now able to use her sewing skills helping with the Savoynet productions. She originally thought her first year with Savoynet at Buxton would be her only, but she enjoyed it so much she is now back for the fourth time. Her mother and two brothers still live in Wisbech so she is able to combine a visit "home" with the Buxton Festival; especially as two of her daughters are now back in Whitehorse and she can leave her house and the dogs and cat in their care for a few weeks.
Elizabeth still sews quite a lot, having taken up quilting in the past couple of years, and she always has some knitting on the go, too. She is also a very keen genealogist and has managed to trace most of her great great great grandparents, with some of the families going back quite a bit further. She also enjoys hiking and walking her dogs, camping, hunting and fishing in the beautiful country she now calls home.
J. Donald Smith
East Taunton, Massachusetts, USA
I have been involved with G&S for more years than it is usually politic to admit - as a fan and audience member, as a collector of memorabilia, in the pit for several productions and more recently both on stage and back stage. With Savoynet I have been associated with every production, from backstage for Cox and Box, as the Associate in Trial (my only solo role, so far), in the chorus for Ruddigore, Yeomenand Patience and with walk-ons in Sorcerer and Utopia as well as being Production Assistant for Pirates. I have also been able to attend every leg of every one of the Festivals (Philadelphia, Berkeley and Eastbourne, as well as Buxton) although not in full.) Since my retirement five years ago, I have had the time and opportunity to do G&S during the year as well.
Rebecca Hains, Josephine
Peabody, Massachusetts, USA
Rebecca is pleased to return to the Buxton Opera House stage for the fourth time, having previously appeared at the International G&S Festival as Mabel and Phyllis with Savoynet, and as Princess Zara with Bruce Montgomery's G&S Players. Other G&S credits include Rose Maybud, Casilda, Patience, Edith, and Lisa, performed with groups in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
Rebecca recently released an independently produced CD, The Gilbert & Sullivan Soprano Arias, on which she sings 20 songs by Gilbert & Sullivan, plus a bonus track from Sullivan's Rose of Persia. More information on Rebecca's CD is available from her web site or her Myspace artist page.
Rebecca's non-G&S credits include Cunegonde (Candide), Maria (The Sound of Music), Jo March (Little Women), and The Witch (Into the Woods). Rebecca is a member of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the official chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and serves as a member at large for the New England Gilbert & Sullivan Society.
This year, Rebecca's major production was the completion of a Ph.D. in Mass Media and Communication from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is now an assistant professor of communications at Salem State College, located in America's historic and infamous "witch city"--Salem, Massachusetts.
Ian Henderson, Captain Corcoran
Davron Hicks, Ralph Rackstraw
Davron studied voice at the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Upon leaving college, Davron continued his voice coaching with Pamela Field, ex Principal with the D'Oyly Carte with whom he has sung in a number of G & S concerts.
Roles within the G&S repertoire are Defendant, Colonel Fairfax, Captain Fitzbattleaxe and Earl Tolloller. Non G&S roles have included Pilate (Jesus Christ Superstar), Billy Bigelow (Carousel), Curly (Oklahoma), Mr Bumble (Oliver), Don Jose (Carmen), Paris (La Belle Helene), Camille (The Merry Widow) and Sou Chong (Land of Smiles).
He is also principal tenor with the Ivor Novello Appreciation Bureau, whose aim is to keep the music of Ivor alive by singing his music in various concerts around the country.
Since 2000 Davron has taken up directing and has produced a number of shows for various societies within South Wales. He was honoured to have won the NODA Western Area award for Best Production for his production of Jekyll and Hyde in 2006.
This is Davron's first time at the Buxton Festival but hopefully not his last!
Jonathan Ichikawa, Dick Deadeye
New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
Jonathan is excited about his fourth year in Buxton, and his fourth year to perform with Savoynet. He lives in New Brunswick, NJ (USA), where he is completing his Ph.D. in philosophy.
Angela Lowe, Little Buttercup
Laura Schatz, Hebe
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Sam Silvers, Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B.
New York, NY, USA
Sam has been a member of SavoyNet since 1995 and has been attending the International G&S Festival since 1996, when he played Private Willis in a Festival Production. Since then, Sam has played about a dozen more roles at the Festival. He also performs with the Blue Hill Troupe in New York. A business lawyer by day, Sam edits G&S and musicals articles on Wikipedia in his spare time. He is also a member of the G&S Society of New York.
Charles Smith, Midshipmite
Tony Smith, Bill Bobstay
Tony has been a G&S enthusiast since being taken to see a production of Iolanthe at the tender age of 5. His opportunity to perform was delayed until only relatively recently, 1986, however since then he has made up for lost time by appearing in almost all the operas and has had the "privilege and pleasure" of playing most of the bass/baritone principal roles. Favourites include The Sergeant of Police, The Usher, Colonel Calverley, Pooh Bah, Sir Despard, Shadbolt, Don Alhambra, Bouncer and of course Willis. Apart from a recent break in 2003/4 he has attended all the G&S Festivals and appeared many times on the Opera House Stage having had principal roles in 7 Festival and 3 Savoynet productions.
Non G&S roles have included Daddy Warbucks in Annie, Emile De Bec in South Pacific (which was incidentally performed at the Buxton Opera House) and Tevye in Fiddler. He is looking forward to rejoining the Savoynet team for what is certain to be a well polished and professional production.
Laurence Weissbrot, Bob Becket
Glastonbury, Connecticut, USA
Laurie was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Queens. His first introduction to G&S was before he entered elementary school, when his older brother's school mounted a production of Pinafore. He did a little acting in High School and college, and then stayed away from the stage as he pursued a career as an actuary. When his children were studying Suzuki violin, he began studying voice with their music theory teacher. A successful audition for chorus launched his singing career with Simsbury Light Opera Company near Hartford, Connecticut. After five years in the Simsbury chorus and understudying 14 roles without ever getting a chance at a lead, he joined Connecticut Gilbert and Sullivan Society, which cast him as Grosvenor. Subsequently he has had the great fortune to play Tipseon, Bill Bobstay, the Pirate King (also with Actorsingers in Nashua, New Hampshire), Antonio, the Usher, Pish Tush, Marmaduke, Private Willis, Wilfred Shadbolt, Dick Deadeye, Roderic, Arac, Sergeant of Police, Don Alhambra and The Mikado.
Since discovering Savoynet, Laurie has met many new G&S friends at a variety of Sing-outs, Sing-ins and QWERTs. His three-octave range allowed him to try the high baritone of Luiz at the recent QWERTY/Conn III.
He says, "Performing Gilbert and Sullivan is the most fun you can have with someone else's clothes on."
Little Sandhurst, Berkshire, UK
Originally from Bristol, Philip now lives in Little Sandhurst, Berkshire. His love of the G&S operas began when he was taken to see a production of The Mikado by the D'Oyly Carte at age three. Starting with performances at school and college, Philip has been active with G&S performing societies based in Stamford, Lincolnshire and in Camberley, Surrey for the past 25 years, and he is currently vice-chairman and treasurer of the Savoy Singers. He has been in several productions of each of the works in the G&S canon (plus The Rose of Persia), and for the past nine years has appeared in productions at Buxton for both the Savoy Singers and for SavoyNet. Much of Philip's career has been spent in the plastic card industry, and a couple of years ago when working in New Jersey he appeared in a production of Pirates for Ridgewood G&S Opera Company. Philip has been treasurer of the SavoyNet Performing Group for the past two years and is a member of the Steering Committee.
St. Andrews, UK
Kim Dahms is thrilled to be experiencing her first year at Buxton. At a mere 19 years of age, she will have performed in 9 of the 14 G&S operettas by the end of the summer, and is hoping to get them all in as soon as possible. She wishes to thank her parents for encouraging her to do all she does.
New York, New York
Carol's home company is New York's Blue Hill Troupe, where she has been happily singing for many years. She also spent a year in Philadelphia (joke there somewhere, I fancy) and sang with the Savoy Company there.
She is on the Board of Directors of the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players and editor of The Palace Peeper, the newsletter of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of New York. Carol was the host of a three-weekend Gilbert & Sullivan symposium in 1999 at NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art, moderating panel discussions and emceeing evening concerts.
Carol was largely responsible for the Blue Hill Troupe bringing their edited Grand Duke to Buxton in 2005, which was highly praised by all (well, nearly all) who saw it. She has also performed in and emceed a number of cabarets at the Festival Club.
Carol, along with partners Rich Miller and Jack Behonek, recently incorporated a professional, not-for-profit operetta company called Light Opera of New York (yes, LOONY!), about which you will be hearing much more in the months and years to come.
This is Carol's fifth trip to Buxton, and she'll keep on doing it as long as time and finances permit.
Washington, DC, USA
Rick has been a G&S fan since the age of seven when, shortly after first seeing H.M.S. Pinafore, he dressed up as Sir Joseph Porter, KCB, for Halloween. His first G&S r�le, as Dr Daly in The Sorcerer, was hailed as "weak and washed-out" by one reviewer, who went on to wonder just what Constance saw in him. He graduated from Harvard University in 2003 with a degree in Classics and has been a secondary school teacher sporadically since then. In his hometown he has performed with the Washington Savoyards and with VLOC (the Victorian Lyric Opera Company). This is his second trip to Buxton; in 2006 he was one of the festival's Young Ambassadors, played the Lord Chancellor in the Young Artists' Iolanthe, and also stepped in as an emergency pianist for several Savoynet Ruddigore rehearsals.
Originally from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Paul now lives on the wrong side of the river. Paul has appeared in the last six SavoyNet productions, as well as being Associate Director for the last two. (You may remember his choreography for "Society has quite forsaken" in Utopia, Ltd. - though six principals are trying hard to forget the bruises). Paul is a bass who screeches top Baritone notes on occasion, he has been seen in the last few years as Strephon, Dick Deadeye, Arac, Pirate King and John Wellington Wells. As well as being in the chorus for Iolanthe at Buxton, this year he will be playing Foreman of the Jury in David Duffey's production, and will be Private Willis in October.
In the little spare time left to him, Paul teaches Maths in a school for emotionally and behaviourally disturbed boys -- where he fits right in.
David Fidler has been involved with G&S since following his brothers into the City Comic Opera Society in Sheffield. Since then he has been involved in both drama and musicals, taking all the roles an amateur drama club and operatic society throw at you! This year will be David's second Savoynet performance. He is currently a member of Stromness Drama Club and the St Magnus Festival pLasyers, both of which are performing at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival the week after H.M.S. Pinafore.
S�o Paulo State University, Brazil
Born in Campinas, Brazil, Guilherme Gama is currently majoring in lyric singing at the S�o Paulo State University (Unesp), a student of the American-born soprano Martha Herr. In association with the NUO (University Opera Company) he has acted as chorus director of Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore, as well as The Threepenny Opera (Weill/Brecht), and upcoming Der Mond (Orff), and as musical director and conductor in Trial by Jury. Other works as a conductor include a pocket production of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro with chamber orchestra and Hugo Bozzano's experimental multimedia project Ianos 2.0".
Paul Gaskell, Marine
St. Helens, Merseyside, U.K.
A �quiet� Savoynetter since its earlier days, though on a number of occasions present in the audience at Buxton, this is my first on-stage involvement with Savoynet. I first became acquainted with G & S around the age of 9 through my father who was a member of the local G & S Society as well as being involved with other church and male voice choirs.
A retired teacher in special education, I studied Drama and English at De la Salle College of Education in Manchester. The main tutor in the second year of the Drama course was a name vaguely familiar to G&S � Mike Leigh !
Unfortunately due to work and other commitments, I did not become actively involved in G & S until I joined the same Society--the St. Helens G & S Society--in 1990, where I remain up to the present. During this time I have also become a member of Warrington Light Opera. Stage r�les played include Willis, Bo'sun and Giorgio.
North Bergen, New Jersey, USA
Wayne, Pennsylvania, USA
Karen Ann Loxley
Karen studied music and french at Sheffield City College of Education. She has sung with a number of operatic societies, including City Comic Opera Society, Dore Gilbert and Sullivan Society and Birley Carr Methodist Musical and Dramatic Society. She is a recipient of the 25 years Long Service medal from N.O.D.A. and has performed in productions of every show in the G&S canon, playing 21 different roles.
Festival-goers may recognise Karen in a variety of different capacities in which she has appeared at the Festival since its founding in 1994. She has performed on stage in most of the Festival productions and also with the Northern Savoyards and Nomads both in Buxton and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1996) and Berkeley, California (1997). She has taken part in every Savoynet production, including Cox and Box (accompanist's page-turner).
Her interests include costume, and her award-winning paired costumes have been seen in several Buxton costume parades. On Festival evenings she is regularly to be found in the Festival club, either turning pages or singing or both. She has attended several Qwerts - the ones with photos of Philip Potter on top of the piano.
Her non-G&S interests include living history reenacting (1940s) and attending Murder Mystery Evenings.
Feering in Essex, England, UK
Laurie hails from the village of Feering in Essex and has just completed his degree in Classics at Queens' College, Cambridge. Before his matriculation he appeared in numerous school productions, chiefly musicals and pantomimes (playing a villain and a clown in both genres) and as Dr. Nuesslin in D�rrenmatt's The Visit and the Newscaster in the world premiere of The Glastonbury Tales, both at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester.
He became a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan at the age of seventeen thanks to the ENO Mikado and made his first G&S appearance a few months later in his first term at Cambridge, in the chorus ofTrial by Jury. He has since been in the chorus (variously tenor and bass, though he is in truth a mere baritone) of The Sorcerer, The Mikado (Cambridge Arts Theatre) and The Zoo and played Colonel Calverley in Patience and John Wellington Wells in another Sorcerer.
Other roles in Cambridge include one of the chorus of Fellows in Wetmarsh College (a G&S pastiche gently satirising Oxbridge) and the Porter in another production of the same at the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe; Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar; an Assassin in Gardi's - the Opera (a musical about Cambridge's favourite kebab shop),; chorus in Seneca's tragedy Thyestes; and, his favourite production of all, both the Librarian (an orangutan) and Corporal Nobbs (a human, but the only one who has to carry an official document to prove it), among other minor roles, in Terry Pratchett's Maskerade.
He joined Savoynet late in 2005. This is his second visit to the Gilbert and Sullivan Festival but his first as a performer. He is unhealthily obsessed with G&S but a casual fan by Festival and Savoynet standards.
St. Andrews, UK
Mike Nash, Marine
Rugby in Warwickshire, UK
Savoynet performing at the Buxton Festival is all Mike's fault - he produced the first two fully-staged-and-costumed Savoynet shows, Cox & Box in the Paxton Theatre in 1997 and Trial By Jury in the Opera House the following year. In 1999 he produced and wrote the music for a performance of Gilbert's play A Sensation Novel in the Paxton, and sang in the chorus of the first full-length Savoynet show, Ruddigore. In 2000 he played Jack Point in Savoynet's Yeomen and Cheviot Hill in the Evan's Toy production of Engaged.
His G&S career started in 1986 when, aged 22, he joined the chorus of Rugby Operatic Society'sYeomen. In the twenty years that followed he appeared in over 60 productions of G&S, as a chorus member and in principal baritone roles, including John Wellington Wells, King Gama, Robin Oakapple, Wilfred Shadbolt and Don Alhambra. His favourite role is the Lord Chancellor and, as everyone on Savoynet knows, he detests playing Ko-Ko.
Mike lives in Rugby in Warwickshire, and is a self-employed blacksmith (so if you need any gyves welding, give him a call). He also plays the drums in a blues/rock band called "Toned F".
Ardmore, PA, USA
Edwin Nealley is returning to the G&S festival for a 3rd time. He was last seen as an underwitted islander with the G&S Players Utopia, Ltd. in 2005, and previously appeared as Apollo in the G&S Players reconstructed Thespis in 2000. He is overjoyed to be joined onstage by his daughter Sara this visit, and to revisit the festival with his wife, Kate. Ed has been performing G&S in the Philadelphia area for over 20 years, and has performed in all 14 G&S operettas, as well as The Zoo. Ed works in the Tech. Dept. of supplyFORCE, a web-based company facilitating industrial distribution. He currently serves as Recording Secretary on the board of the G&S Soc. of Chester Cty.
Ardmore, PA, USA
Sara Nealley has been interested in Gilbert & Sullivan since before she was born, so she is very pleased to make her debut at the Festival this year. She has performed in previous productions of Iolanthe (Fleta), HMS Pinafore, Utopia Ltd., G&S Christmas Carol(Jackie Cheapside), The Zoo, and Trial by Jury. Last fall she performed in Opera Delaware's production of Carmen as a gamin.
Richard has been interested in G&S since listening to his aunt's recordings of Mikadoand Yeomen when a child. His first performance was in Patienc at university and since then he has performed in most of the canon and would like to hear from any group within 50 miles of chelsford who are planning to perform The Grand Duke. As a baritone, he is not too choosy about the roles he plays: his most recent solo G&S parts were Sir Roderic and the Duke of Dunstable. Outside G&S his roles have included Viigand (Chess), Pirelli (Sweeney Todd) and Kecal (Bartered Bride). He has been in the chorus for three previous Savoynet productions at Buxton, and was deputy stage manager for last year'sPirates.
Sarah-Jane Read, Dance Captain
Sarah-Jane was first introduced to G&S at a very young age when her mum used to play her G&S cassette tape to her at night and it soon became one of her favourites. She saw her first G&S show at the age of 6 when she was dragged kicking and screaming to an amateur production of H.M.S. Pinafore. Of course she loved it and apparently the first thing she said after it was......"I'm going to be in that one day Nanna!" Well she finally achieved that dream last year when she was in the chorus of Trial and Pinafore with Ipswich Gilbert and Sullivan Society. With the society, she has also been a chorus member and lead dancer in Patience, Ruddigore, Gondoliers, and Iolanthe, and will also be in the chorus of Ida this November even though she can only make 6 rehearsals.
Sarah's theatrical/musical background covers many different disciplines: Pantos (both onstage and in the pit band playing flute and saxophone), short plays with her local church drama group, playing in orchestras, jazz bands and saxophone quartets, singing in church choirs, acting in school plays and even a stint singing in a friend's rock band.
She has just completed a degree in theatre at Dartington College of Arts in Devon, with electives in Workshop leading skills, for which she taught liturgical dance, and vocal production. While at Dartington she was a member of the Dartington community choir, and two years ago donned her fishnets and suspenders to play a "Transylvanian saxophonist, dancer and backing singer" in the university production of Rocky Horror.
This is Sarah's fourth show with Savoynet and second show as a dance captain so she hopes everyone will be able to "do the moves!" She is currently looking forward to her marriage to fellow cast member Chris Hall in April!
Littlehampton, West Sussex, UK
Born in Colchester, Essex (UK), William studied History of Art at The University of London, and at the same time trained as a singer with soprano Margaret White then with bass-baritone Norman Bailey. During the 1990s he balanced working for English National Opera in various administrative capacities with singing semi-professionally, and in particular premiering song cycles by David Arditti and William Hutchinson.
In 1997 illness forced him to abandon singing, but in 2000, now living on the Sussex Coast, he was able to resume, singing principal roles with four local operatic societies: G&S roles include Dr Daly, The Pirate King, Sergeant Meryll, Cox, Robin, Major Murgatroyd, Mountararat, Pish-Tush and Giuseppe. Non-G&S role include Fred (Kiss Me Kate), Danilo, Camille (Merry Widow), Falke, Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus), Paris (La Belle Helene), Raoul (La Vie Parisienne) and Thomas Trout (Bless the Bride). His musical first love is Verdi, and he has performed the title part in Rigoletto, Germont Pere (La Traviata), Ford (Falstaff) and Montano (Otello).
On the professional side, William is a member of Music Theatre 2000, performing scaled-down touring productions of operas, recently playing Dancairo (Carmen) and The Sacristan/Sciarrone (Tosca), and he is a regular with Spaghetti Opera, singing opera arias and ensembles to diners in an Italian restaurant in Brighton.
At the G&S Festival he has played Mr Goldbury, Samuel and Sir Roderic for Savoynet and Counsel for the Plaintiff for Peak Opera. This year at Buxton he will fulfil an ambition, playing his favourite G&S role of all, Dr Daly, for Peak Opera.
NewWoodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, UK
John comes from Woodhall Spa in rural Lincolnshire and has performed in most of the G & S operettas taking minor principal parts and chorus. He is also a member of Nene Opera in Peterborough who are also performing at Buxton this season. Other societies include West Norfolk G & S Society and Boston Operatic where, apart from G & S, he has performed inseveral Musicals recently(Oklahoma, Guys & Dolls, and South Pacific this Autumn).
John is an accountant by trade and owns his own compnay, which is a national chicken-selling and production based company, selling throughout the UK.
John is married with one daughter, who is a hairdresser.
I have sung in all 13 Gilbert & Sullivan Operettas at least once and a number of times at Gawsworth Hall, a Tudor stately home near Macclesfield, in their Summer Opera season.
I have taken part in many shows at the International G&S festival as part of the chorus backing ex-D'Oyly Carte principals such as Kenneth Sandford, Valerie Masterson and Gillian Knight.
I have also been on stage in all of the SavoyNet shows to date, and many 'festival' productions.
Since moving to the Netherlands some years ago I have had to curtail my (UK) choir activities, but I have still managed to sing with the Carols for Christmas! choir at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, Belgium. That was a wonderful experience!
Previously, I have sung with the Hathersage Choir as Pluto in a concert of Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld, a number of opera and musical theatre concerts with the Phoenix Opera Chorus, and I have also been able to sing with the Malcolm Sargent Charity choir in the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.
Sidcup, Kent, UK
Sarah has just been a part of savoynet shows since 1999 and has loved G&S since a young child. She has just completed her degree in sociology and is carrying on her studies to complete the qualification in careers guidance from September. As well as performing in Buxton she performs regularly with Sidcup Operatic Society and the Bob Hope Theatre group, who have just completed a run of the musical Ragtime, and where Sarah made name for herself as the back end of the pantomime cow Buttercup. Sarah is in Buxton for the entire festival and is also involved with Peak Opera, and hopefully the festival production, as well as Savoynet, and she is looking forward to this year's show as she is off cruising again next year.
Chris learnt his G&S young - at the age of two his godfather said he was the youngest child he had ever heard singing "A more humane Mikado." Rather later, his first appearance on stage in the canon was for the Oxford University Gilbert & Sullivan Society in The Yeomen of the Guard, as townsman and headsman's assistant. After some years singing little G&S (except for extracts in a local male voice choir) he rediscovered it at about the same time as the first Buxton festival. He has missed only one Savoynet production since 1998. He believes he was the last Ko-Ko of the 20th century (at any rate in the Greenwich time-zone), having held a QWERT in which The Mikado finished at 11.40 pm on 31st December 2000. He could recently be heard on the battlefield of Waterloo, proclaiming his ability to recall the fifteen decisive battles of the world in order categorical (fortunately, no one tested him). He is the editor of a book called "A fair young curate" (the diary of his father, a curate in 1938), which all G&S bibliophiles who aim at completeness in their collections should make sure and buy for the sake of the title!
Chris also sings with the Keele Chapel Singers. His other interests include politics (he agrees with Private Willis) and the works of Dorothy L Sayers (who was also fond of using quotations from Gilbert & Sullivan). His ambition is to sing "Hail Poetry" in the Antarctic. He also finds time to work at Keele University, where he began as a librarian but now works as a QA manager.
Web Diva: Rebecca Hains