The Mikado 2009

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The Mikado was the 37th show performed by the society. It was performed in Central Hall from 26th-28th February 2009.

The chair was Chris Armstrong.

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Artistic Directors
Lauren Mathews
Morven Hamilton

Musical Director
J. Mark Pim

Technical Director
Bill Ruddock


The Mikado- James Gaughan
Nanki-Poo- J. Raphael Richards
Ko-Ko- James Knowles
Pooh-Bah- Chris Charlton
Pish-Tush- Michael Houston
Yum-Yum- Elizabeth Chadwick
Pitti-Sing- Jenny Draper
Peep-Bo- Emma Bradley
Katisha- Helena Culliney

Cecily Blench
Megan Bryan
James E. Butterworth
Lois Cross
Alison Foster
Sarah Lester
Assel Mussagulova
Danielle Neville
Katharine Newman
Lucy Pell-Walpole
Stuart Roberts
Jackie Smithers
Esme Wise


Conductor- J. Mark Pim
Violin 1- Victoria Inge
Violin 2- Michael Sanders
Viola- Yonathan Van Den Brink
Violoncello- Paul Sild
Flute- Amy Aumeer, Rowan Smales
Oboe- Tim Olive-Besley
Clarinet- Rachel Baguley, Ellie Scott
Bassoon- Natalie Rukuts
French Horn- Alex Milne
Trumpet- Jon Tandy, Lucy Martin
Trombone- Darryl Rayner
Percussion- Peter Chiles

Production Team

Technical Director- Bill Ruddock
Stage Manager- Chris Armstrong
Assistant Stage Manager- Morven Hamilton
Lighting- Mingyu Lin, Ellen Cain, Nick Hall
Sound- Peter Harbottle, Sarah Case, Clare Hammond
Backstage Crew- Ian Shaw, Karrie Liu
Front of House Manager- Jessica Price
Set and Costumes- Emma Bradley, Elizabeth Chadwick, Lois Cross, Helena Culliney, Jenny Draper, Morven Hamilton, Clare Hammond, Michael Houston, Lauren Mathews, J. Raphael Richards, Stuart Roberts, Bill Ruddock

Rehearsal accompanist- Koki Imada


Chair- Chris Armstrong
Secretary- Megan Bryan
Treasurer- James Gaughan
Webmaster- Bill Ruddock
Press & Publicity- James Knowles, J. Mark Pim, Jackie Smithers
Ordinary Members- Lois Cross, Morven Hamilton, Michael Houston, Katharine Newman


The sun whose rays are all ablaze

Extended Programme

Message from the Chair

Welcome to our 2009 production of W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan's "The Mikado"!

While working through our archives recently, we happened upon an interesting fact; after counting up our G&S shows, our Summer Shows and the various smaller semi-staged productions that we've done this will be the 50th show in our society's 36-year history. It is certainly a great testament to the passion and commitment of every member of the Society, past and present, to have reached such a milestone.

From performing the music and dialogue that has been amusing theatre goers for over a century to making the sets and costumes that bring those notes and words to life, the Society has always prided itself on putting on the best performances that it can. This show is the product of over sixteen weeks of intense and excitable activity by the cast, crew, orchestra and committee, and all on a budget that would make professional West End producers weep! The Society also prides itself on having as much fun as it can; you're just as likely to see us laughing in the bar or dancing a ceilidh as you are to see us stressing about choreography or that a prop doesn't look realistic enough. Sometimes, it doesn't seem like a chore at all despite the difficulties we face.

Please, laugh at the absurdity of the "Lord High Everything Else", cheer as Nanki-Poo gets the girl, but above all, please applaud the work put into this by every single person on and off the stage. As Chair of the University of York Gilbert and Sullivan Society, I hope you enjoy the few short hours we have to entertain you.

-Chris Armstrong

Message from the Directors

We've been struggling to write this note without breaking into epic power ballads or quoting from the show. It's a sad state of affairs. But sooner or later it must be done.

Must it? We're not so sure about that.

Anyway. We didn't realise when we started The Mikado that it would eat our lives. With fava beans and a nice Chianti. We were warned by other directors, but we didn't believe them. Despite one of us actually being one of them. (Yes, she warned herself.) We've had some good times, some bad times, some auditions, some more auditions, and in the end, none of it took as long to do as writing this note. Except the auditions. They're still going now.

We do have an awesome cast though, without which none of this would have been possible. Alas, our two-woman version of The Mikado was frowned upon by the musical director. And society at large. Seriously though, they've been brilliant, and we couldn't ask for better.

We hope you enjoy the show, and we'll see you again in the summer term, when a new set of prey- we mean, pupils- will follow in out rather fetching directorial footsteps.

-Morven Hamilton and Lauren Mathews, Artistic Directors

It is little wonder to me, and I'm sure you'll agree, that The Mikado is the most performed and probably best-loved of the Savoy operas of Gilbert and Sullivan. Sullivan's music for me manages to strike the ideal balance of all the best qualities of his writing; it's at times touching, humorous, subdued and powerful, but always extremely tuneful and thoroughly enjoyable to hear.

The chorus, principals and orchestra have all worked tirelessly to do this magnificent work justice and I have nothing but admiration for their talents and dedication. I hope that the pleasure it has been to prepare and perform this show is evident to you in the stalls and that you leave humming all the tunes!

-J. Mark Pim, Musical Director

Set building has been particularly challenging this year, with competition for necessary rooms being high. So we've moved from our well-tested Saturday sessions to weekdays; unsurprisingly many of our society seem to work during the week so we've been a little short-handed.

For four years you have seen the set of Princess Ida in slightly varying formats and it's about time to send it off to the retirement home. That's why this year, you can see two pagodas dominating the stage and we even have room for a bridge at the front.

We originally wanted a real willow for Ko-Ko to sing of and to flood the orchestra pit as a pond for the end of the stream, but perhaps that would be impractical and I don't particularly want to put our talented musicians at risk of pneumonia!

-Bill Ruddock, Technical Director


Lauren Mathews- Artistic Director
Lauren likes kittens and fluffy bunnies. Her greatest wish is for world peace. And she looks great in a swimsuit. These qualities failed to get her noticed as Miss York, but successfully won her the right to direct The Mikado, which she took on gladly- as past Chair of the Society, it couldn't be more stressful, surely? Six months, many hours of choreographing, and a marathon stint of costume-making later, she now knows better… and if it all goes wrong she will demonstrate her limbo talent in lieu of a second act!

Morven Hamilton- Artistic Director
Morven expected her name to get her placs, but instead, she's stuck in a small Northern city with a bunch of ne'er-do-well thespians who use it to make parodies of songs by Boston and the Beegees. Of course, Northern is a relative term; och aye, Morven's Scottish ceilidh-dancing ways always seem to sneak into her choreography. Well that, and shamelessly ripping off other musicals; as a two-bit two-time Artistic Director, she's got that skill honed. Maybe when the show's over, she'll use it to write her Politics dissertation. Maybe not.

J. Mark Pim- Musical Director
During his near seven-year stint in the society mark has variously been a lord, a banker, a duke, a spaceman, a rugby player, a phantom, a Colonel, a missionary, a sailor, the ruler of the Queen's Navee, a director, a chairman, a videographer, a minibus driver and now a musical director. And has loved every minute of it! Having not had enough of York or the society after five years at university, Mark now works as a software developer in Clifton and has an unhealthy obsession with the TV show Lost. Do not engage him in conversation about either…

Bill Ruddock- Technical Director
Bill has spent three years onstage with G&S and has, until now, fulfilled his technical needs elsewhere. Now is the time to leap from the stage straight to the position of Technical Director, and that's a big jump- straight over most of the audience. He is one of many Computer Scientists to pass through the society and has no more clue as to the link than you do. He hopes that the show will look and sound great and that you enjoy it.


J. Raphael Richards- Nanki-Poo
Raph joined the society last year and made his debut in the society's summer show. He had his mid-life crisis shortly afterwards, and on graduating his Masters degree in Chemistry, started a second one in Music- he hence expects to live to the tender age of 44. Like a true actor, his ego is like a large glass planet (hollow, not solid, or else the metaphor fails). In his spare time, he enjoys looking pretty, being adored and making light witticisms over coffee and classy baked goods.

Elizabeth Chadwick- Yum-Yum
Liz studied at Cumbria Institute of the Arts where she gained a BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre and Drama. During her studies, Liz performed many different vocal styles and genres with various choirs and vocal ensembles as well as performing many principal roles in numerous musicals and plays including 'Mother' in Lorca's Blood Wedding and 'Madame Thenardier' in Les Miserables. Since graduating, Liz has performed with the Lakeland Opera in their semi-professional performances of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci which had a small tour around the Lake District. In late March, Liz is jetting off to Majorca to be an Entertainer with Thomas Cook for the summer season. Liz is happy to be playing the role of Yum-Yum and proud to be a part of the show.

James Gaughan- The Mikado

James has had, if possible, too much fun preparing for the role of Emperor of Japan. He's found the most difficult part of playing a whimsical megalomaniac the attempt to prove to those around him that he's been acting at all. Though this has probably failed, he feels it's a price worth paying and would now call it method acting in any case.

James Knowles- Ko-Ko
James just cannot seem to escape from being on stage, even when directing the Summer Show of 2007! (Having to heroically step in at the last moment… as they say, the show must go on!) After finally landing the part of Ko-Ko, he has noticed a running pattern with his artistic style for the more light-hearted roles, where the only directorial noted received for The Mikado have been 'be less gay and less American'. Now a working man, James is learning the joy that is free time, which was hugely taken for granted during student life!

Chris Charlton- Pooh-Bah
Chris has been here so long that he can remember the last time we did The Mikado, and doesn't get tired of telling us all. Consequently, he views Raph as the second-best Nanki-Poo of the millennium. Having directed, chaired, acted and sung in various roles for the past few years, he keeps suggesting that this will be his last show. Don't get your hopes up, however, as he has been suggesting that since 2005.

In his spare time, Chris is a raconteur, aesthete, collector of eighteenth-century Portuguese escritoires, and law student.

Michael Houston- Pish-Tush
Michael eventually joined the society in 2006, after several years successfully avoiding doing so. His first performance, in the chorus for Pirates of Penzance, was followed by the dual roles of Brad (Rocky Horror Show) and Judas (Godspell) which formed parts of 2007's Kaleidoshow. Returning to the chorus for Ruddigore last year, Michael has also held past positions on committee as webmaster, and Technical Director for the summer show last year. Michael enjoys procrastination, crumpets and brewing beer, and leads a secret double life as the head of a shadowy international organisation dedicated to eradicating the 9-5 standard working day.

Jenny Draper- Pitti-Sing
Jenny enjoys playing the piano, snowball fights and eating pizza (though not necessarily at the same time). (Though not necessarily NOT at the same time.) Past roles have included being stabbed in the chest, being possessed by a dragon, and converting a disused tyre factory into a time machine (with power steering), all of which, despite being brilliant roles, must make method acting rather difficult.

To say that she is well-versed in the works of Gilbert and Sullivan would, in fact be a lie. Also she's a Linguistics student, and what is that? What do they even do in their lectures? 'As you can see, this is also a sentence. 'Another sentence here guys… this one has an adjective in it…' She probably thinks she's really high-and-mighty just becasue she knows when to say 'who' and when to say 'whom', and in the end, who really cares? What a cow.

Emma Bradley- Peep-Bo
Emma is a twenty-something blonde thespianite who has always dreamed of being in stage. A lover of song and operetta who has found a home with the Gilbert and Sullivan society in York. A bubbly, friendly socialite who is always keen to try new things… and her superstar alter-ego is a secondary school teacher from Colchester.

Helena Culliney- Katisha
When Helena first went to see 'The Mikado' at the extemely early age of five, she little knew that, when she grew up, she would not only be 'that scary old lady' in the opera, but also studying for a PhD focussing on Gilbert and Sullivan. Her love of G&S was confirmed as an undergraduate, where her final roles were Lady Angela (Patience, June 2006) and Lady Blanche (Princess Ida, September 2006). Since moving to York, Helena has sung prolifically, and is a member of the Yorkshire Bach Choir, Ebor Singers and Ridings Chamber Singers. Yet, fittingly, her first ever G&S experience has now become her first performance with the G&S Society. Whatever the next couple of decades may bring, she therefore hopes that you enjoy this extended exhibition of her right elbow (it does have a fascination few can resist).



The Mikado 2009 was performed in Central Hall. If we get a more considerable budget in future, the idea of using the Grand Opera House may be brought back into consideration. The orchestra pit was again used with the old railings; due to budget and time constraints Estates were unable to fit a new safety rail before the show.

(Have we yet considered the Joseph Rowntree Theatre?)


The awards for The Mikado 2009 were given out as follows:
Best Female Principal: Helena Culliney
Best Male Principal: James Gaughan
Best Male Chorus Member: James E. Butterworth and Stuart Roberts
Best Female Chorus Member: Esme Wise
Most Worthy Of Wielding A Fan: Helena Culliney
Best Female Arse: Jenny Draper
Best Male Arse: J. Mark Pim
Best Techie: Bill Ruddock
Best Bodger: Michael Houston
Unsung Hero: Jackie Smithers
Most Authentically Japanese: Koki Imada
The Chris Charlton Award For Biggest Ego: Chris Charlton
The Stuart Roberts Award For Extreme Lechery: Stuart Roberts

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