Ahoy! Pirates on the horizon in King’s Lynn

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West Norfolk Gilbert and Sullivan Society are making preparations for their January show – Pirates of Penzance – as a former star of the production plans to pass the torch to upcoming talent.

Publicity manager for the group, Amanda Arterton, plans to step down after the production, when she will be handing over the reigns to Gemma Gryko, who will also take on responsibility for the group’s charity twinning project.

Not only are they working hand-in-hand behind the scenes, but Gemma is also taking up the role of Kate in Priates of Penzance, a role that Amanda previously played on stage in 1996.

Amanda said: “I remember playing Kate very well and with great affection apart from the bruises I received when being man-handled by Samuel the Pirate King’s right hand man!”

A local girl who studied at Springwood High School, Gemma’s family come from Lynn and her late father was a partner in Rowlinson’s sports shop in Norfolk Street. With experience in marketing and promotion, she previously ran her own trophy winning cheerleading squad, The Fury Gems, whilst studying at university.

She has travelled the world singing and working as a personal fitness trainer on cruise ships, but returned with her husband to her Norfolk roots to be closer to her mother.

Gemma said: “I joined WNG&S last year for The Sorcerer and was amazed at the high standard of singing, I and was plonked next to Amanda for the first rehearsal who made me feel most welcome, but I didn’t at that time know what she had in store for me!

“I was thrilled to be cast as Kate for Pirates this year and am really enjoying learning the role. Marketing amateur shows is so important and finding innovative ways to raise funds are vital to keep the money coming in to cover the ever increasing cost of mounting a show, and I am looking forward to taking over from Amanda. She is already teaching me the ropes!”

Pirates of Penzance will also see the group welcoming back Laurence Panter, who played Alexis for them at short notice for The Sorcerer, in the role of Frederic which he has already played in Derby and Harrogate.

West Norfolk Gilbert and Sullivan Society will be taking to the stage at Lynn Arts Centre in the last week of January, with what has been dubbed one of the best operettas in Gilbert & Sullivan’s cannon – a favourite with everyone, not just devotees.

Amanda said: “I never tire of watching Pirates it is so much fun, with the hapless Pirates and ineffectual Policemen and when you add the hyperactive daughters of Major General Stanley, the show cannot fail to delight audiences!”

The Pirates of Penzance is being directed by the same team as The Sorcerer, which was hailed a huge success,. Andrew Nicklin is directing, and Derek Oldfield is musical director.

It opens at the Arts Centre on Wednesday, January 28, until Saturday, January 31, with two performances on Saturday. For tickets, contact the Box Office on 01553 764864.