What’s happening at the 22nd International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate?

For three weeks every year, the majestic Royal Hall and other venues in and around Harrogate plays host to a very special celebration – the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival. In 2015, it will be the 22nd time the festival has been held, and the events list is looking bigger and better than ever.

The International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival, one of the best-attended festivals in Harrogate and one of the most famous in the world, will be held from 1st to 23rd August. Visitors can expect dozens of world-class performances honouring the much-loved theatrical partnership of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Here’s a quick rundown of the festival highlights:

  • 17 performances by the critically acclaimed National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company – including four completely new productions. The Company will be staging HMS Pinafore, Patience, The Mikado and The Gondoliers for the very first time.
  • A rare performance by rising star James Hendry of The Golden Legend in the magnificent Ripon Cathedral
  • Performances by National G&S Opera Company soloists Bruce Graham and Sylvia Clark, backed by the Leeds Philharmonic Chorus and the 40-piece Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra
  • Dozens of speakers, including both enthusiasts and experts, as part of a packed programme of fringe events
  • The nightly Gilbert & Sullivan Festival Club, open from 10pm until the early hours while the festival is running
  • Performances from opera companies from all over the world, from New York to Cape Town

New to G&S? Prepare to be hooked

This world-famous festival is a magnet for lovers of Gilbert & Sullivan’s enduringly popular operas, attracting thousands of visitors every year. However, if you are new to the partnership and happen to find yourself in Leeds or Harrogate this August, the festival could well be worth a visit. Festival organiser Ian Smith explains what it has to offer:

“Gilbert and Sullivan remain the world’s favourite theatrical partnership.

“The festival offers audiences – young and old alike – the opportunity to enjoy the wit and magic of Gilbert and Sullivan performed by some of the country’s leading exponents of these world famous Savoy operas – artistes renowned for their work in these quintessentially British masterpieces.”

Where to stay for the festival

With so much going on over the three weeks, dedicated Gilbert & Sullivan fans will want to stay for as much of the festival as they possibly can. However, unless you live nearby, commuting to and from the Harrogate venues every day can be a bit of a hassle. It could be a good idea to look for places to stay in Leeds, such as Weetwood Hall, just 4 miles from Leeds city centre.

With comfortable, elegant rooms and a convenient yet picturesque location, the 4-star Weetwood Hall could be the perfect base camp from which to immerse yourself in the festival. If you’re travelling from afar for multiple days of the festival, it could be just as cost-effective (and far more convenient) to book a stay rather than paying for public transport every day.


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