International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival launches opera TV streaming service after August event’s cancellation

A night at the light opera: The International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival at the Royal Hall, Harrogate, in a past year

THIS summer’s 27th International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival at the Royal Hall, Harrogate, may have been cancelled, but the show must go on…online.

In response to the Covid-19 strictures, the festival is launching a new streaming service of past productions at

“We shall be streaming the very best of our National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company and G&S Festival productions at home and abroad since 1994, plus many other G&S classics,” says festival trustee Bernard Lockett.

“Unfortunately, there’s no International G&S Festival in 2020 because of Covid-19, but here, as is said in The Mikado, is our ‘substitute’: Full programme details will be available later.”

What delights lie in store, Bernard? “There’s something for everyone, and our content will be constantly updated with new, exciting films for you to enjoy from the best seat in your house. Sign in now on and there’s even a ten per cent discount until May 14. There’s free content to watch there too,” he says.

“You can watch on your tablet, laptop, smart TV, smartphone or PC – anywhere with the internet. It’s easy to use and your purchases can be accessed on all your internet-connected devices forever.”

What else? “Keep an eye out for our new weekly podcasts and webinars starring your festival favourites and Gilbert & Sullivan experts,” says Bernard. “They are coming soon and we can’t wait to share them with you.

“We’re selecting some outstanding films for an eagerly awaited virtual festival in August, so this year you can simply stay safely at home and enjoy being entertained. Our streaming service will let you re-live treasured memories and enjoy those magical performances that have made the Gilbert & Sullivan Festival such an amazing and unique event.”

Bernard also confirmed the G&S Festival will be “back in earnest” in 2021 at two locations: the festival’s original home of Buxton Opera House, from July 31 to August 7, and the Royal Hall, Harrogate, from August 8 to 22.

This summer’s festival run in Harrogate from August 9 to 23 would have featured five new National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company productions: The Pirates Of Penzance and The Sorcerer, directed by Richard Gauntlett; rising star Rachel Middle’s HMS Pinafore; Simon Butteriss’s Patience and Alan Borthwick’s The Emerald Isle (or The Caves Of Carrig-Cleena), a work staged only rarely.

Further highlights were to have been Charles Court Opera’s smart, stylish new take on The Mikado, directed by John Savournin, and their new production of Iolanthe, plus Rachel Middle’s production of The Yeomen Of The Guard for Forbear! Theatre.