WNG&S Society announce Mikado star role

Musical director Michael Hankinson and the show director Pat O'Connell
Musical director Michael Hankinson and the show director Pat O'Connell

Mancunian tenor Lawrence Thackeray will be taking the role of Nanki-Poo in next month’s production of The Mikado at Lynn Arts Centre.

West Norfolk Gilbert & Sullivan Society have made the announcement as rehearsals continue for the opening night on Wednesday, February 1.

Lawrence Thackeray

Lawrence Thackeray

Lawrence originally trained in acting at The University of Salford before studying musical theatre for a year at The Royal Academy of Music. He then made the change to opera in 2010 and studied classical singing at the D.I.T Conservatory of Music in Dublin before moving to London in 2013.

This will be his second venture into the world of Gilbert & Sullivan having played Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore at Buxton Opera house in 2014. Lawrence and his fellow opera-singer fiancée Alison are now based in South Creake where they teach singing.

Concert performances have seen Lawrence perform as a soloist at the Barbican Hall, LSO St Luke’s, the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, St James’ Piccadilly, Colston Hall in Bristol, the Savoy Hotel and aboard Swan Hellenic’s Minerva.

Future engagements include Il turco in Italia with the Bergen National Opera and performances of Marbhna 1916 Requiem at St Patrick’s Cathedral, New York, and in Toronto, Canada.

The director for the WNG&S production is Pat O’Connell, who was in his teens when he first discovered Gilbert & Sullivan and the many catchy tunes.

He was approached by the society to direct this show in November and it has been a time of manic, hard work with its usual ups and downs during the rehearsal period.

The society’s musical director is Michael Hankinson who returned in 2015 from South Africa where he had lived since the 1970s. He had studied at Trinity College of Music.

While abroad, he revived the Durban Philharmonic, was resident conductor for State Theatre in Pretoria, and composer and conductor laureate to the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and principal conductor to the Cape Town Ballet.

Michael also established the South African Music Education Trust, the largest music education project working with thousands of youngsters.

He has set up the King’s Lynn Sinfonia as a community orchestra and they will be playing at the West Norfolk Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of The Mikado at the Arts Centre from February 1-4.

For tickets and performance details call the Lynn Corn Exchange box office on 01553 764864.