Eastbourne G&S back live again for first time in more than two years

Finally getting back to live performance, Eastbourne G&S are presenting A Celebration with Gilbert & Sullivan at Eastbourne bandstand on Sunday, August 8 – a piece which tells the story of a teenager’s first G&S performance.

A previous bandstand concert
A previous bandstand concert

Rowan Stanfield, from the company, said: “We have chosen an especially joyful selection of G&S songs to reflect our delight at being back in front of a live audience for the first time since May 2019, and we’ll also be doing a preview of our November production, The Pirates of Penzance. Tickets are from the seafront office: https://www.eastbournebandstand.co.uk/gands.”

The show has been written and directed by Margaret Amey.

Margaret said: “It’s been a rough year-and-a-half for the arts, with so many productions being put on hold, cancelled or distrupted by Covid.

Eastbourne G&S has ploughed ahead as best we can, putting on a few virtual productions, including a pantomime, a beginner’s guide to G&S, a couple of radio plays and some topical spoofs, all of which can be found on our YouTube channel but we hadn’t been able to get together in person until a few weeks ago, when we started rehearsing outdoors for a performance at Eastbourne bandstand, A Celebration with Gilbert & Sullivan.

“It’s been so lovely to be back together, enjoying the social side as well as singing as a group again. Sadly, some members have not been able to rejoin for different reasons, but we have been busy recruiting and are really happy to have some bright new young talent amongst us. The society’s mission is ‘keeping Gilbert & Sullivan alive’ and one of the best ways of doing this is passing on the passion for it to the next generation.

“We’ve put together a one-off show which is all about celebrating the great tradition of Gilbert & Sullivan, but we didn’t want it to be just the usual selection of songs with anecdotes in between.”

So Margaret came up with the idea of exploring what it’s like to love G&S through the eyes of a longstanding performer. She’s written an original script which follows a grandparent (played by Peter Tucknott) reminiscing about his days in all the different shows, and inspiring his grandson (Lester Seale), who is doing his first G&S production.

“We’ve also woven in a preview of our main November production, The Pirates of Penzance, an enduring favourite. It should be a really fun night and we hope that the fact it’s an outdoor production will encourage lots of people to come along, even in these uncertain times. As a society, we’re really excited to be getting back up in front of a live audience.”