THE PLAYERS' HISTORY

The Players' History


Amateur productions of Savoy operas in Peterborough began in April 1901 when the Peterborough Amateur Operatic Society staged Iolanthe. In the period to 1929, with only a four-year break for WW1, an annual production was mounted. Of these shows 18 were Gilbert & Sullivan operas including; Yeomen, Iolanthe, Mikado, Patience, The Gondoliers, Princess Ida, Pirates, Pinafore, Ruddigore and Utopia. Other works staged included; Merrie England, The Emerald Isle and Haddon Hall.

However, on 25 October 1923 a group of friends staged a performance of Trial by Jury in St Mary's Church Hall in aid of hall funds. Of the 32 acting members on stage, 12 were members of the Peterborough Amateur Operatic Society - including 4 of the 8 principals. The evening was an artistic and a financial success and was repeated in 1926. In 1928 this team then staged a comic opera called "The French Baron". The book was written by Arnold R Maxwell, the son of the late vicar of Peterborough with the music composed by Dr Henry Coleman, the organist at Peterborough Cathedral. The local paper reported ".... the strength and beauty of some of the melodies (almost Sullivanian) speak, in more than a whisper, of genius" - Praise indeed!

In 1929 there commenced a run of staging Savoy operas on an annual basis, interrupted only from 1939 to 1947 by WW2, to the present day. In November 1933 their production was Iolanthe and saw the adoption of the name Gilbert and Sullivan Players for the first time. The local paper (Peterborough Advertiser) describes it as follows: "The term Gilbert and Sullivan Players may sound strange because this name was not adopted until this year, but it serves a definite need by clarifying the status of a company that anyone might call as he pleased. 'A group of players under the direction of Mr. Stanley Hill' was the description adopted in some quarters but was hardly satisfactory, as the public does like a title that can be remembered and when a company goes back half-a-dozen years it surely deserves one".

In time for their production in 1936, Peterborough Amateur Operatic Society changed its name to Peterborough Operatic and Dramatic Society. PODS continues its success story to the present day in the area of mainstream operatic shows - but has not staged a single Savoy Opera in this time. Due to the timing of the societies' respective shows, spring and autumn, it has been possible for members to participate in both shows each season, and over the years the links have remained strong.

Over the past 80 plus years, Peterborough G & S Players has only performed at 5 venues; 6 times at St Mary's Church Hall, twice at the Queen's Hall, 25 times at the Elwes Hall, 8 times at the Regional Technical College and 29 times at the Key Theatre on the Embankment - our current venue. In addition, the 2002 and 2003 productions were also performed at the International G & S Festival in the Buxton Opera House, Derbyshire.

For many years the Players have also given concert performances for local charities which, together with our annual production, have given us a dedicated following in the City and surrounding areas. This has enabled us to build up a patrons list of many hundreds among whom we are proud to include several ex-members of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company including Peggy Ann Jones, Philip Potter and Geoffrey Shovelton.
Our 50th anniversary in 1973 was attended by Princess Alice, the then Duchess of Gloucester and our 75th anniversary in 1998 was attended by her daughter-in-law (elected!) the present Duchess of Gloucester. Who knows whom we might persuade to attend our 100th anniversary in 2023 ...........



Amateur productions of Savoy operas in Peterborough began in April 1901 when the Peterborough Amateur Operatic Society staged Iolanthe. In the period to 1929, with only a four-year break for WW1, an annual production was mounted. Of these shows 18 were Gilbert & Sullivan operas including; Yeomen, Iolanthe, Mikado, Patience, The Gondoliers, Princess Ida, Pirates, Pinafore, Ruddigore and Utopia. Other works staged included; Merrie England, The Emerald Isle and Haddon Hall.

However, on 25 October 1923 a group of friends staged a performance of Trial by Jury in St Mary's Church Hall in aid of hall funds. Of the 32 acting members on stage, 12 were members of the Peterborough Amateur Operatic Society - including 4 of the 8 principals. The evening was an artistic and a financial success and was repeated in 1926. In 1928 this team then staged a comic opera called "The French Baron". The book was written by Arnold R Maxwell, the son of the late vicar of Peterborough with the music composed by Dr Henry Coleman, the organist at Peterborough Cathedral. The local paper reported ".... the strength and beauty of some of the melodies (almost Sullivanian) speak, in more than a whisper, of genius" - Praise indeed!

In 1929 there commenced a run of staging Savoy operas on an annual basis, interrupted only from 1939 to 1947 by WW2, to the present day. In November 1933 their production was Iolanthe and saw the adoption of the name Gilbert and Sullivan Players for the first time. The local paper (Peterborough Advertiser) describes it as follows: "The term Gilbert and Sullivan Players may sound strange because this name was not adopted until this year, but it serves a definite need by clarifying the status of a company that anyone might call as he pleased. 'A group of players under the direction of Mr. Stanley Hill' was the description adopted in some quarters but was hardly satisfactory, as the public does like a title that can be remembered and when a company goes back half-a-dozen years it surely deserves one".

In time for their production in 1936, Peterborough Amateur Operatic Society changed its name to Peterborough Operatic and Dramatic Society. PODS continues its success story to the present day in the area of mainstream operatic shows - but has not staged a single Savoy Opera in this time. Due to the timing of the societies' respective shows, spring and autumn, it has been possible for members to participate in both shows each season, and over the years the links have remained strong.

Over the past 80 plus years, Peterborough G & S Players has only performed at 5 venues; 6 times at St Mary's Church Hall, twice at the Queen's Hall, 25 times at the Elwes Hall, 8 times at the Regional Technical College and 29 times at the Key Theatre on the Embankment - our current venue. In addition, the 2002 and 2003 productions were also performed at the International G & S Festival in the Buxton Opera House, Derbyshire.

For many years the Players have also given concert performances for local charities which, together with our annual production, have given us a dedicated following in the City and surrounding areas. This has enabled us to build up a patrons list of many hundreds among whom we are proud to include several ex-members of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company including Peggy Ann Jones, Philip Potter and Geoffrey Shovelton.
Our 50th anniversary in 1973 was attended by Princess Alice, the then Duchess of Gloucester and our 75th anniversary in 1998 was attended by her daughter-in-law (elected!) the present Duchess of Gloucester. Who knows whom we might persuade to attend our 100th anniversary in 2023 ...........



Amateur productions of Savoy operas in Peterborough began in April 1901 when the Peterborough Amateur Operatic Society staged Iolanthe. In the period to 1929, with only a four-year break for WW1, an annual production was mounted. Of these shows 18 were Gilbert & Sullivan operas including; Yeomen, Iolanthe, Mikado, Patience, The Gondoliers, Princess Ida, Pirates, Pinafore, Ruddigore and Utopia. Other works staged included; Merrie England, The Emerald Isle and Haddon Hall.

However, on 25 October 1923 a group of friends staged a performance of Trial by Jury in St Mary's Church Hall in aid of hall funds. Of the 32 acting members on stage, 12 were members of the Peterborough Amateur Operatic Society - including 4 of the 8 principals. The evening was an artistic and a financial success and was repeated in 1926. In 1928 this team then staged a comic opera called "The French Baron". The book was written by Arnold R Maxwell, the son of the late vicar of Peterborough with the music composed by Dr Henry Coleman, the organist at Peterborough Cathedral. The local paper reported ".... the strength and beauty of some of the melodies (almost Sullivanian) speak, in more than a whisper, of genius" - Praise indeed!

In 1929 there commenced a run of staging Savoy operas on an annual basis, interrupted only from 1939 to 1947 by WW2, to the present day. In November 1933 their production was Iolanthe and saw the adoption of the name Gilbert and Sullivan Players for the first time. The local paper (Peterborough Advertiser) describes it as follows: "The term Gilbert and Sullivan Players may sound strange because this name was not adopted until this year, but it serves a definite need by clarifying the status of a company that anyone might call as he pleased. 'A group of players under the direction of Mr. Stanley Hill' was the description adopted in some quarters but was hardly satisfactory, as the public does like a title that can be remembered and when a company goes back half-a-dozen years it surely deserves one".

In time for their production in 1936, Peterborough Amateur Operatic Society changed its name to Peterborough Operatic and Dramatic Society. PODS continues its success story to the present day in the area of mainstream operatic shows - but has not staged a single Savoy Opera in this time. Due to the timing of the societies' respective shows, spring and autumn, it has been possible for members to participate in both shows each season, and over the years the links have remained strong.

Over the past 80 plus years, Peterborough G & S Players has only performed at 5 venues; 6 times at St Mary's Church Hall, twice at the Queen's Hall, 25 times at the Elwes Hall, 8 times at the Regional Technical College and 29 times at the Key Theatre on the Embankment - our current venue. In addition, the 2002 and 2003 productions were also performed at the International G & S Festival in the Buxton Opera House, Derbyshire.

For many years the Players have also given concert performances for local charities which, together with our annual production, have given us a dedicated following in the City and surrounding areas. This has enabled us to build up a patrons list of many hundreds among whom we are proud to include several ex-members of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company including Peggy Ann Jones, Philip Potter and Geoffrey Shovelton.
Our 50th anniversary in 1973 was attended by Princess Alice, the then Duchess of Gloucester and our 75th anniversary in 1998 was attended by her daughter-in-law (elected!) the present Duchess of Gloucester. Who knows whom we might persuade to attend our 100th anniversary in 2023 ...........



Amateur productions of Savoy operas in Peterborough began in April 1901 when the Peterborough Amateur Operatic Society staged Iolanthe. In the period to 1929, with only a four-year break for WW1, an annual production was mounted. Of these shows 18 were Gilbert & Sullivan operas including; Yeomen, Iolanthe, Mikado, Patience, The Gondoliers, Princess Ida, Pirates, Pinafore, Ruddigore and Utopia. Other works staged included; Merrie England, The Emerald Isle and Haddon Hall.

However, on 25 October 1923 a group of friends staged a performance of Trial by Jury in St Mary's Church Hall in aid of hall funds. Of the 32 acting members on stage, 12 were members of the Peterborough Amateur Operatic Society - including 4 of the 8 principals. The evening was an artistic and a financial success and was repeated in 1926. In 1928 this team then staged a comic opera called "The French Baron". The book was written by Arnold R Maxwell, the son of the late vicar of Peterborough with the music composed by Dr Henry Coleman, the organist at Peterborough Cathedral. The local paper reported ".... the strength and beauty of some of the melodies (almost Sullivanian) speak, in more than a whisper, of genius" - Praise indeed!

In 1929 there commenced a run of staging Savoy operas on an annual basis, interrupted only from 1939 to 1947 by WW2, to the present day. In November 1933 their production was Iolanthe and saw the adoption of the name Gilbert and Sullivan Players for the first time. The local paper (Peterborough Advertiser) describes it as follows: "The term Gilbert and Sullivan Players may sound strange because this name was not adopted until this year, but it serves a definite need by clarifying the status of a company that anyone might call as he pleased. 'A group of players under the direction of Mr. Stanley Hill' was the description adopted in some quarters but was hardly satisfactory, as the public does like a title that can be remembered and when a company goes back half-a-dozen years it surely deserves one".

In time for their production in 1936, Peterborough Amateur Operatic Society changed its name to Peterborough Operatic and Dramatic Society. PODS continues its success story to the present day in the area of mainstream operatic shows - but has not staged a single Savoy Opera in this time. Due to the timing of the societies' respective shows, spring and autumn, it has been possible for members to participate in both shows each season, and over the years the links have remained strong.

Over the past 80 plus years, Peterborough G & S Players has only performed at 5 venues; 6 times at St Mary's Church Hall, twice at the Queen's Hall, 25 times at the Elwes Hall, 8 times at the Regional Technical College and 29 times at the Key Theatre on the Embankment - our current venue. In addition, the 2002 and 2003 productions were also performed at the International G & S Festival in the Buxton Opera House, Derbyshire.

For many years the Players have also given concert performances for local charities which, together with our annual production, have given us a dedicated following in the City and surrounding areas. This has enabled us to build up a patrons list of many hundreds among whom we are proud to include several ex-members of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company including Peggy Ann Jones, Philip Potter and Geoffrey Shovelton.
Our 50th anniversary in 1973 was attended by Princess Alice, the then Duchess of Gloucester and our 75th anniversary in 1998 was attended by her daughter-in-law (elected!) the present Duchess of Gloucester. Who knows whom we might persuade to attend our 100th anniversary in 2023 ...........





Share by: