Rehearsal Blog: 2nd Oct – Zoe

The first couple of rehearsals of the 2023-24 season have gone really well, it’s nice to be back in Moss Lane with its generous acoustic, and it’s lovely to see a lot of new faces in the hall, as well as some returners who may not be staying for the show itself, but who have come along to enjoy the singing for the first few music rehearsals. MD David has taken on doing vocal warm-ups at the start which have been fun, particularly in the clapping and ‘doh, ray, me’ exercises, and it’s good to see that Simon’s old favourite of ‘too many monks in a minivan’ hasn’t been completely ditched. Eyes on David at all times to watch the tempo changing! 

From my perspective, not having either seen or performed Patience before, the music, especially for the chorus, is fantastic. I can’t believe the amazing sound the entire ensemble are already making, the Dragoon guards sound particularly hale and hearty from the back of the room. I can’t help but think from an audience perspective that in particular the act one finale is going to be a riproaring romp.

First rehearsal back after casting is always an interesting one, up till now everybody’s been ‘singing all parts in’ alongside the wannabes singing in the parts they want, however now we know who is cast, the pressure is on for those people to now work hard to learn their parts (including the libretto) in preparation for floor rehearsals in a few weeks time. The old G&S hands have, of course done this one before, but there’s several of us who haven’t, so all of the music is new, which requires a lot of dedication and time behind the scenes to learn the music. It’s super helpful that Piers has, as usual, put up the practice tracks for the chorus parts. It’s definitely a resource that helps things along if you can’t sight sing.

2024 show – Meet the Patience Cast

Well done to everyone who put themselves forward for the Patience auditions! The Director and Musical Director are thrilled to announce the following cast:

Patience: Becky Lucas
Lady Angela: Katie Plummer
Lady Saphir: Zoe Avern
Lady Ella: Melanie Bright
Lady Jane: Alex Lawrence
Reginald Bunthorne: Joel Parkinson
Archibald Grosvenor: Alec Evans
Colonel Calverley: Richard Arthur
Major Murgatroyd: Lee Power
Lt. The Duke of Dunstable: Tim Dutton

It’s going to be a fantastic show!

Pirates now in February 2023

Rehearsals are now underway for The Pirates of Penzance which was postponed from February 2022

It will now be performed in February 2023. See our tickets page for more details.

“A Regular Royal Celebration” – 18th June 2022

Our June Concerts will be a fizzling section of G&S and other favourites, all with a Royal connection. Accompanied by our very own professional orchestra, this promises to be an event not to be missed.

February production postponed

Our February production of The Pirates of Penzance has been postponed.

Further details will be published soon.

2022 – Pirates is cast


THE PIRATE KING – Simon Wilson

SAMUEL – Joel Parkinson



MABEL – Katie Plummer

EDITH – Marina Turner

KATE – Zoe Avern

ISABEL – Melanie Bright

RUTH – Alex Lawrence 

Full music rehearsals have started. There is still time to join us if you would like to be part of the production.

NODA review of ‘Ruddigore’ is in.

Following two wonderful show weeks and 10 marvellous performances of our latest show ‘Ruddigore’, the scenery was struck, the costumes carefully put on a truck headed back up North with the Costumiers, and cast and crew celebrated with a fun After-show party. But all eyes were directed to the NODA website as we eagerly awaited the official review… We knew the audience feedback had been brilliant every single night, with the words “well balanced”, “best in years” repeatedly being heard, and the NODA review you can read below, backs up those opinions 100%, with praise for everyone involved in putting on this superb production.

Date 21st March 2020
Society Godalming Operatic Society
Venue Godalming Borough Hall
Type of Production G&S
Director Ian Henderson
Musical Director David Wright


Author: Pauline Surrey

A satire of 19th Century Gothic drama, this operetta, which premiered in 1887, is full of beautiful heroines, dastardly villains, and a wonderfully costumed variety of ghosts! Despite a shaky first reception, coming as it did so hot on the heels of the Mikado, Ruddigore became over time a great success, and is considered by many to be a favourite. Having so enjoyed this GOS production, I can quite see why!

A good deal of thought goes into GOS’s programmes, and I always really enjoy reading them, they are so informative. This one was no exception, with a good double page spread on the opera itself – its history, its reception, its inspiration, which was so useful. A page on the Director and Musical Director; a G and S quiz; a list of the musical items; cast profiles; an excellent and necessary synopsis of this complicated plot; a history of the society; and a piece on Ghoulies and Ghosties in our culture, all made fine reading. A nice touch was also a piece on GOS’s long-serving Stage Manager – good to see recognition of the skills of the Production Team, and I look forward to more such pieces in the future. Photos of the chorus and the orchestra, and of past productions of Ruddigore, were also a great addition.

The curtain opened onto a pretty village scene with a beautiful coastal backdrop, which was very pleasing. In Act 2 we were transported into the Murgatroyd baronial hall, with its ominous gallery of family portraits. The bridesmaids carried pretty flowery arches in the wedding scene.

Costumes were sumptuous and delightful, and makeup was so effective, that I failed to recognise some members of the cast quite well-known to me over the years! The bridesmaids looked charming in their white gowns, and pretty white red-bowed shoes, with flowers in their hair. Mad Meg’s wildness was emphasised in her wild, flowing dress, and equally wild hair, in the first act, before she was transformed into modest Victorian black-clad, soberly coiffed wife in the second. Rose appeared in a couple of stunning gowns with pretty bonnets. The gentlemen of the chorus looked very smart and attractive in Act 1, no wonder they were greeted with glee by those village girls! These gentlemen then, of course, emerged from the portraits in the second half, clad in such a variety of costumes – cardinal, knight, admiral and so on, that I couldn’t stop gazing at them. Wardrobe Mistress Elizabeth Atkinson really knows her stuff, obviously, and great costumes do so add to the enjoyment of a G and S opera.

Musically, we knew we were in for a treat right at the start, with Musical Director David Wright conducting a very fine overture. The orchestra were excellent throughout, and the balance of singers and instruments was just right.

So, such a pleasing start – the fine overture, the beautiful set, and then the opening chorus of stunning bridesmaids: ‘Fair is Rose’. Attention to detail is something that ensures a fantastic production, and here the Cornish accents were a really nice touch, sustained throughout. Also the fine arrangement of the bridesmaids whilst Hannah was singing ‘Sir Rupert Murgatroyd his leisure’ impressed me. As professional bridesmaids they were obviously well practised in arranging themselves so prettily. The liberetto was very finely enunciated, and I especially appreciated the pronunciation of the ‘ed’ on the end of past participles, as in belovED. famED, unclaimED. This clarity enhanced the audience’s understanding of the text.

Rose and Robin Oakapple (Katie Plummer and Alec Evans) gave us a fine rendering of the duet: ‘I know a youth’, and Rose used her book of etiquette very humorously, then, and throughout the proceedings. Never more so, perhaps, than when she conversed with our jaunty mariner Richard Dauntless (Tim Dutton), who thrilled us all with his nifty hornpipe! Their trio: In sailing o’er life’s ocean wide’ was wonderfully well balanced, a joy.

Then suddenly, here was Mad Meg (Zoe Avern). We were spellbound by her mad, wild laughter and screeching, as well as by her story, and her dramatic and beautiful ‘Cheerily carols the lark’ with the ensuing ballad ‘To a garden full of roses’.

All change in Act 2, as Old Adam Goodheart (excellently played by Richard Arthur) appears finely dressed as the Valet de Chambre of Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd (Robin Oakapple as was). The scene has changed, of course, to the ominously gloomy picture gallery in Ruddigore Castle.

The emergence from their portraits of all those alarming, and then rueful ancestors, who then ‘tortured’ poor reluctant Sir Ruthven (Robin) into realising that he really did have to carry out one crime per day, was a delight. Sir Despard Murgatroyd (Simon Wilson), the dastardly villain who had so mistreated Mad Meg, was then the dutiful, if starchy, reformed husband of the same lady in Act 2. Both performers here were wonderful – full of humour, they acted and sang so well. I loved Margaret’s relapses into mental instability, and Despard’s frantic calls of ‘Basingstoke!’ to restore the dutiful District Visitor, as she had latterly become, to the necessary sobriety.

The reluctant Sir Ruthven orders the abduction of a lady from the village. Adam Goodheart returns with a very indignant Hannah, of all people. Once the witch’s curse is reversed, Hannah and Sir Roderick are reunited. Nora Price, of course, made a wonderful Hannah, she sings, she acts so well. And GOS, having discovered that the performer originally cast as Sir Roderick was indisposed, was lucky enough to engage at extremely short notice, the very man, Lee Power, who partnered Nora Price in that role in 2008. What joy! A fine ‘There grew a little flower’ ensued.

Director Ian Henderson gave us a marvellous and refreshing Ruddigore, well cast, with great acting, fine voices, impeccable timing, bringing out all the humour there was to be had. The chorus were superb in every way, as one has come to expect from GOS. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable evening revelling in the glories that are G and S.


Box Office goes live on all channels!

The Ruddigore Box Office went live to the general public on 16th December both via the traditional and Online box channels. With all Patrons having been given a priority bite at the cherry, now it’s the turn of our beloved audiences and Society members to snaffle the dates they want for family and friends to see the show.

With 10 performances to choose from there’s lots of opportunity, but don’t rest on your laurels – the Saturday Matinee at Godalming is nearly sold out already and other key nights getting booked up fast, so don’t miss out on the best possible seats, get your ticket orders booked either directly with Linda at the Box office on 01252 703376 or online at:

Principal Cast announced for Ruddigore (Feb 2020)

It’s official! We’re thrilled to announce the Principal Cast list for Godalming Operatic Society’s ‘Ruddigore’ performing in February 2020

Character: Rose Maybud
Katie Plummer
Character: Mad Margaret
Zoe Avern
Character: Dame Hannah
Nora Price

Character: Zorah
Alex Lawrence
Character: Ruth
Melanie Bright
Character: Richard Dauntless
Tim Dutton
Character: Robin Oakapple / Ruthven
Alec Evans
Character: Sir Despard
Simon Wilson
Character: Roderick
Gregor Kowalski
Character: Old Adam
Richard Arthur

Thanks to all who took the time to prepare and put themselves forward for audition (no mean feat!) – we are so lucky at GOS to have such a big pool of in-house talent for the Directors to choose from.

Many congratulations go to all those who landed roles. It’s going to be a great show!

Welcome to all our new members!

Lots of new faces at the opening rehearsals of the year with new members in all voice sections, which is wonderful news, keeping the balance just right.

With lots of ‘drilling’ under the supervision of our Musical Director, David Wright, the season is off to a superb start, getting all the right notes in all the right places early on – because once we’re into floor rehearsals in November we can’t have the scores in our hands.

The key? Between each Monday rehearsal, practice, practice, practice – at home, in the car, out in the woods walking, wherever works for you! make those Monday session stick by looking over the music as soon as you can afterwards – it makes everything a lot easier and helps you support the people sitting with you in rehearsals too. Teamwork – even at this early stage. That’s what it’s all about.

Our Open Rehearsal in September

We’ll be repeating our ‘come along and sing’ Open Rehearsal this year, welcoming prospective members to come and join us for the evening as we start rehearsal for our new show. It’s a chance to see how we work, join in the singing (music will be provided) and to meet our members and really get the gossip about what it’s like to be in the Society.

If you’re interested in coming along on Monday 16th September at 7:40pm (until around 9:15pm followed by drinks and nibbles) please do get in touch with Charlotte our Membership Secretary at beforehand so we know to expect you and can provide you with music on the night! All voice parts welcome! Sight-reading is not required, so don’t be put off by that… enthusiasm and decent voice is what counts!

A Night at the Opera

What a fantastic evening it was on the 15th June at the Wilfrid Noyce Centre in Godalming with the G.O.S performer showing off their skills with a wonderful selection of songs from a multitude of grand Operas.

Carefully curated by Musical Director David Wright, the programme offered something for everyone to enjoy, Opera buffs and Musical Theatre lovers alike, all ably accompanied by wonderfully accomplished pianist, Judith Flint.

Playing to a packed house ( as well as small more informal audience in the afternoon – due to popular demand for tickets), our loyal Patrons and followers were treated to works from Bizet, Puccinni, Donizzeti, Purcell, Mozart, as well as more contemporary pieces from Les Miserables, The King and I, Fiddler on the Roof and of course we couldn’t leave out our dear Gilbert and Sullivan, closing the concert with the rousing Finale from our next show: Ruddigore.

Rehearsals started & Principals cast

Rehearsals for H.M.S. Pinafore and Trial By Jury are now well and truly underway, overseen by David Wright, our Musical Director and Ian Henderson, the new GOS Stage Director.

It’s a new and exciting challenge for the cast working with a new Director, some of whom had only ever been directed by Pat O’Connell before, however the friendly, welcoming style exuded by Ian soon had everyone at their ease and ready to put in the hard work required to learn some rather complicated choreography. Ian is definitely keeping both the male and female Chorus on their toes!

This year also saw a bit of a shake up with casting for GOS and with two shows to find principals for, the Audition panel really had their hands full. Luckily GOS is blessed with an abundance of home-grown talent and all principal parts were unanimously filled with members of the Society.

Godalming Bandstand Concert

The Society took part in a Sunday Bandstand concert in Godalming on June 17th in conjunction with the Haslemere and Godalming brass bands conducted by David Wright. Despite the poor weather, there was a good attendance.

Farewell to Pat O’Connell

Pat O'Connell

Pat O’Connell, our Director for the last twelve years, has stepped down, having directed the whole G&S canon (other than Thespis) for us.
The occasion was marked by a farewell dinner and concert featuring songs from all of the shows he has directed for us.