Nimax Theatres have added a second night for Sasha Regan’s all-male take on W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ at the Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. The show will now run on Saturday 12th December and Sunday 13th December 2020 at 7:00pm. News of the run was received today, 18th November, on the late W. S. Gilbert’s 184th Birthday year.
The show’s producers, Sasha Regan and Ben De Wynter are delighted to extend the run. “We have been inundated with requests for more dates,” explains Regan. “There is a real demand from theatregoers who are crying out to see Gilbert & Sullivan’s much-loved operetta. Post-lockdown people want to see something that makes them smile again. Gilbert & Sullivan’s traditional and very funny Victorian comic opera provides the perfect laughter tonic. It’s ideal for families.”
Despite the current lockdown, theatregoers have not been dissuaded from booking ahead. “Quite the opposite,” explains Regan. “We’ve all been cooped up for a long time and families just want to see a Christmas show. Nimax Theatres have rigorous cleaning regimes and strict Coronavirus rules on social distancing. We are all just trying to keep some of the oldest theatres in London running. I can’t thank Nimax enough for believing in this show and getting behind us.”
The production was first staged at her original 50-seater Union Theatre in Southwark over a decade ago. From day one it became a critically acclaimed overnight hit, winning Best Off-West End production in the 2009 WhatsOnStage Awards. Following several sell-out runs in the UK, the merry band of pirates toured Australia including a month-long run at Cate Blanchett’s Sydney Theatre – a tremendous feat for a small Off West End company.
The ornate Victorian Palace Theatre, originally known as the Royal English Opera House, was commissioned and founded by the late theatrical impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte and designed by Thomas Edward Collcutt in the late 1880s. Carte who was already producing comic operas at his Savoy Theatre, decided to commission the Opera House as a home for grand operas. The Royal English Opera House opened 10 years after the Savoy Theatre which championed Gilbert & Sullivan’s well-known “Savoy operas”. Although their operettas never ran at the Royal English Opera House, it opened in January 1891 with Sir Arthur Sullivan’s ‘Ivanhoe’. Sadly, Carte’s cherished opera house came under financial pressure leaving him with no alternative but to lease it and eventually sell it within one year of opening.
Throughout his life, Carte managed Gilbert & Sullivan and nurtured their careers including setting up the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company. Together these talented men introduced a new way of presenting light opera to families, touring these works to bring them out to the wider community.
After performing at The Prince of Wales Theatre for the WhatsonStage Awards in 2010, Sasha Regan’s all-male ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ transferred to Wilton’s Music Hall and then moved to The Rose Theatre, Kingston before completing a Number One tour of Australia. The All Male Company also toured with ‘Iolanthe’ (Critics Choice & Time Out’s top 10 musicals of 2010) which transferred to Wilton’s Music Hall where its sell-out run broke their box office records. The all-male ‘Mikado’ opened at the Theatre Royal, Bath, before touring to cities including Winchester, Edinburgh, London, Exeter and Salford in 2017 and next year the all-male ‘H.M.S. Pinafore’ is set for another comeback tour which was postponed earlier this year due to Coronavirus.
Sasha explains: “Today, 18th November, marks the librettist W.S Gilbert’s 184th Birthday year. What a lovely day to receive this news!”