The Pirates Of Penzance - Royal Gala Performance

- In the presence of Her Royal Highness The Duchess Of Gloucester

Louise Gold appeared as Isabel, one of Major General Stanley's daughter's, at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, on Monday 17 May 1982, in aid of Children’s Country Holidays Fund & Elizabeth Fitzroy Homes. This was a Gala production preview of The Pirates Of Penzance that opened there on 26th May 1982.

Perhaps one of the most amazing things about this production was the cast, some of whom were already names, and many of whom went on to become better known. In addition the band of Noblemen-turned-Pirates included among their number a real nobleman.



The Pirate King - Tim Curry

Samuel, His Lieutenant - Sylvester McCoy

Frederic - Michael Praed

Ruth, A Pirate Maid - Annie Ross


Major-General Stanley's Daughters - Carolyn Allen, Jackie Downey, Gaynor Miles, & Janet Shaw

Edith - Karen Lancaster

Kate - Bonnie Langford

Isabel - Louise Gold

Mabel - Pamela Stephenson


Major-General Stanley - George Cole

The Sergeant - Chris Langham


Pirates and Police:

Timothy Bentinck, Graham Bickley, Keith Binns, Peppi Borza, Ken Caswll, Mark Davis, Kevin Feighery, Alan Forrester, Andrew Golder, David Hampshire, Paul Hegarty, Simon Howe, Paul Leonard, Clive Packham, & Kevin A. J. Ranson


Back-up Singers:

Neil Braithwaite Christina Collier, John Denton, Michael Lessiter, Anita Pashley, Sarah Shipton, William Snape & David Wheldon-Williams




Pirate King – Chris Langham

Samuel – Andrew Golder

Ruth – Sarah Shipton

Frederic – Graham Bickley

Edith – Louise Gold

Major-General – Kevin A. J. Ranson

Sergeant – David Hampshire

Mabel – Christina Collier

Kate – Carolyn Allen

Isabel – Jackie Downey

Swings – Ray Hatfield, and, Anita Pashley




Conductor – Martin Koch

Clarinets – Richard Blewett, and, Martin Frith

Bassoon – David Miles

Flutes – Carol Brown, and, Alexa Turpin

Trumpets – Malcolm Gosden, and, Tim Hawes

Trombone – Peter Thorley

Keyboards – Tom Gilhooly, and, Andy Reed

Mallets – Nigel Charman

Timpani – Julian Fairbank

Percussion – Tony Bourke

Bass – Lesley Hooson, and, Peter Trundley


Production Team

Producer - Joseph Papp

Presented by - Michael White

Lyrics/Libretti - William S Gilbert

Music - Sir Arthur Sullivan

Original Productions – 30 December 1879 at The Royal Bijou Theatre, Paignton, with Miss Kate Neville as Isabel, and then, 31 December 1879, at The 5th Avenue Theatre, New York, with Miss Billie Barlow as Isabel.

Director - Wilford Leach

Musical Arranger - William Elliott

Choreography - Graciela Daniele

Scenery by - Bob Shaw & Wilford Leach

Costumes by - Patricia McGourty

Lighting by - Jennifer Tipton

Sound by - Don Ketteler

Musical Director - Martin Koch

Associate Producer (London) - Andrew Treagus 

Company Manager – Nick Bromley

Stage Manager – Joanne Connelly

Deputy Stage Manager – Andrew Flint-Shipman

Assistant Stage Managers – Debi Turner, and, Sarah Whiting

Dance Captain – Peppi Borza

Sound Operators – Richard Salzedo, Stephen Williams, and, Miki Jablkowska

Wardrobe Mistress – Eve Barnes

Assistant Wardrobe Mistress – Alison Scott

Wig Supervisor/Stylist – Hugo Byron-Wiggins

Production Manager – Alistair Smith

Assistant to Miss Daniele – Roy Jones

Assistant to Miss Tipton – Spike Gaden

Assistant to Mr Ketteler – Ron Annas

Vocal Coach – Marjorie Rivington

Production Carpenter – Robert Knight

Production Electrician – Jenny Cane

Production Sound Engineer – Philip Clifford

Costume Supervisor – Jean Turnbull

Property Buyer – Buffy Kimm

Production Assistant – Helen Nicholson

Production Photographer – Zoe Dominic

Assistant to Miss Turnbull – Karen Hore


The entire cast went on to appear in The Pirates Of Penzance when it opened officially at Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 26th May 1982.

This performance was one of a number of charity previews given prior to the official opening, some of the others included: The Pirates Of Penzance (Gala Preview), and, The Pirates Of Penzance (Benefit Preview).

Amusingly, given that at the end of the Operetta The Pirates get let-off because they are noblemen, in this production Louise Gold found herself waltzing around the stage with a real nobleman, namely Timothy Charles Robert Noel Bentinck, who went on to inherit the title of 12th Earl Of Portland, Tim also went on to play David Archer in the BBC Radio 4 soap The Archer's .

Louise Gold, Timothy Bentinck, Peppi Borza, David Hampshire, and Simon Howe had previously appeared in the Papp film version of The Pirates Of Penzance. 

In the film of The Pirates Of Penzance, Louise Gold played the role of Edith. The only one of the three girls whom Louise Gold has not played is Kate, interestingly in the second ever production of The Pirates Of Penzance, at The 5th Avenue Theatre in New York, that role was played by Miss Rosina Brandram, whom Louise Gold would later portray in the film Topsy Turvy.

Most of the cast took part, largely as The Pirates Of Penzance cast, in the 1982 Royal Variety Performance, which that year was actually at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

It is perhaps worth noting that Theatre Royal Drury Lane has witnessed many historical occurrences, in particular connected with royalty, including assassination attempts on two of the King George’s

Many of the cast stand out in their contribution to theatre, and a surprising number of them either had worked together before, or would later be reunited. For example:

Chris Langham had been both a script-writer and a Guest Star on The Muppet Show, so he already knew Louise Gold in her puppeteer guise. Chris Langham’s writing credits with the Muppets include: Muppet Show Music Album, and The Muppets Go To The Movies.

Louise Gold and Chris Langham had previously appeared in The All Time Get Around Sometimes Play Together Every Other Friday Night Vaudeville Show, and on the documentary Of Muppets And Men.

Roy Jones had previously worked as assistant to the choreographer on the film The Great Muppet Caper.

Anita Pashley and Bonnie Langford had previously appeared together in the original company of Cats, immediately prior to their appearing in The Pirates Of Penzance.

Tim Curry later starred as another Pirate, Long John Silver, in the film Muppet Treasure Island, which of course Louise Gold puppeteered on. .

Louise Gold and Pamela Stephenson went on to do voices for Spitting Image, on which Louise Gold was also Leading Puppeteer, and for which Chris Langham did some writing.

Louise Gold, Anita Pashley and Kevin A. J. Ranson, later worked together on Anything Goes.

Sylvester McCoy went on to appear on many Children's TV programmes including: Jigsaw, Eureka and Dr Who, the latter reuniting him with Bonnie Langford; for Christmas 2003 they appeared together again, in panto in Guildford.

Martin Koch went on to become Musical Supervisor for Mamma Mia, and in that capacity was interviewed on television in ABBA - The Reunion.

Jenny Cane went on to become the lighting designer for Follies.

Louise Gold continued her association with the work of Gilbert and Sullivan appearing in the stage show The Metropolitan Mikado and the film Topsy Turvy.

Graham Bickley’s recording credits include The Best Of Broadway Musicals , Encore The Very Best From The Musicals , Great Duets From The Musicals , Cole Porter - Night And Day, The Great Musicals - Wonderful Tales, The Great Musicals – Glamour And Majesty, Simply Musicals, The Great Musicals – Dashing Heroes, Blushing Maidens, Magic Of The Musicals, and, The Great Musicals - From Broadway to Hollywood.

Bonnie Langford went on to appear in Broadway To Brighton.

Louise Gold has gone on to appear on stage in another G&S operetta, The Gondoliers, in 2003.

Paul Leonard and Louise Gold have gone on to appear in The Water Babies, and, Final Chic Cabaret 2003.

Louise Gold and Sylvester McCoy have gone on to appear in Noises Off.

Martin Koch, and, Sylvester McCoy may have gone on to take part in Thing A Thon.

Backstage crew members Nick Bromley, and, Miki Jablkowska went on to work on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang .

Graham Bickley, and, Louise Gold went on to appear in Mexican Hayride.

Louise Gold subsequently returned to Theatre Royal Drury Lane in Oliver!.

Tim Curry, Louise Gold, and, Chris Langham went on to appear on the documentary I Love The Muppets.

George Cole went on to appear on the documentary ITV’s 50 Greatest Shows.


Links about The Pirates Of Penzance Royal Gala Preview

Children’s Country Holidays Fund, website:


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