A Lynn theatre group is set to return to their roots by performing their next production back at the town’s Arts Centre for the first time in 15 years.
West Norfolk Gilbert and Sullivan Operatic Society (WNG&SOS) have made a series of changes in anticipation of their next show and are looking forward to performing their annual operetta in this intimate and historical venue.
Amanda Arterton, vice-president of the group, said: “It will actually feel like going home. I have many happy memories of performing there, going back 40 years.”
Members have previously performed at Lynn’s Corn Exchange, but insist the Arts Centre will provide a perfect theatrical space for them to perform the Comic Operatta, The Sorcerer, in January.
The cast, orchestra and singers are set to meet under a new musical director, Derek Oldfield, a respected conductor, director and musician who promises to bring a lifetime’s experience to the show.
Mrs Arterton added: “Derek is a very talented but very modest man, and many would be amazed at the length and depth of his pedigree. Derek was musical director for the West End show Company, starring Elaine Stritch and Julia McKenzie.
“He was conductor and composer for the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 60’s and 70’s and also composed music for BBC Radio Plays, again in the 60’s and 70’s. He played French Horn for The Halle Orchestra, BBC Northern Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic and Birmingham Symphony Orchestras. His most exciting gig was playing at La Scala Milan for the legendary Maria Callas.
“Locally, he formed the Iceni Orchestra and conducted the Kings Lynn Chorus, still teaches privately, and recently retired from teaching at Springwood High School.”
She added: “An amateur group such as WNG&SOS are extremely lucky to have Derek with us, licking us all into musical shape. Derek will be working alongside the society’s preferred professional director, the award-winning Andrew Nicklin who has directed some of the groups most critically-acclaimed shows including Iolanthe, The Mikado, Princess Ida, The Gondoliers and last year’s HMS Pinafore and Trial by Jury.”
The Sorcerer will be supporting four different charities, one on each performance of the show. They have twinned a local business with the charities, which include, Macmillan Cancer Relief, Age UK, Headway and Tapping House Hospice.
The business will sponsor both the society and the charity so everyone should benefit and learn more about these worthwhile causes.
Mrs Arterton said: “Three local, large firms have already been secured and they are actively seeking a fourth so anyone interested in supporting the arts and a local charity should call me on 01553 776659.”
For the first time in years, the society will hold open auditions in mid-October, with no membership fees needing to be paid ahead of auditions to give directors the best possible choice of talented performers.
Mrs Arterton said: “They are keen to encourage new members to get involved and invite anyone interested in being on stage, or of helping back stage, to come along to their first get together of the season at North Wootton Village Hall on Thursday, September 12, at 7.30pm.”
Anyone interested in auditioning and finding out more about the show should contact the secretary, Ros Ridley, on 01553 674715.