Production Of "The Pirates Of Penzance" With The Girls Grammar School: May 1962

Richard Evans recounts his memories of the 1962 production of "The Pirates of Penzance", along with associated documents of the occasion:

Pirates 1

"Every year at the end of the autumn term, it was a tradition at BGS that the School Play was performed. In fact I remember that in February 1955 the Old Boys also put on a play. Anyway, in 1961 it was decided that Borden and the Girls Grammar School should get together for a further production to be performed in May. For the initial year, 2 short pieces were chosen. The first was "Trial by Jury" a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, which was followed after the interval by "Androcles and the Lion" a play by George Bernard Shaw. 

Producing two different works on the same evening would have been quite a task, but it must have been considered a success because in the following year it was decided to do a full length Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, "The Pirates of Penzance".

I didn't take part in the 1961 production, probably because I was studying for A levels, but I did play a part the following year in 1962, as by that time I only had one further A level to worry about.

My main memory of taking part was that it was so enjoyable, not least because the girls school had just been completed and had up-to-date stage facilities. Getting to know those strange creatures called girls that up until then we had only be allowed to have limited contact with in A level maths classes, was an additional pleasure.

Pirates 2

Looking at the programme and the photographs, I'm amazed by the sheer number of people that it involved. Producing all those costumes must have been a major operation for the needlework classes at the girls school.

But, it was Trevor Webb, the music teacher at the girls school, who deserved the most plaudits.  When someone hit a wrong note or the tempo ground to a halt and we all dissolved into laughter, he never got angry with us, all the time showing patience and giving us encouragement until we got it right. Why couldn't all of school have been like that? It must have been a major operation for the needlework classes at the girls school.

In May 1963, another G&S operetta "HMS Pinafore" was produced,  but by then I had left Borden for the big world outside."


Richard Evans