Forbear! is a London-based professional theatre company known for producing innovative Gilbert and Sullivan shows with precise singing and excellent choreography.Since forming in June 2015, we have performed the Baron’s Court Theatre in West London, Ettington Park Opera, and to great praise at the annual International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival.

Creative Team

Rachel Middle - Artistic DirectorRachel Middle was brought up in Cardiff and Birmingham, before going to the University of St. Andrews to study Mediaeval History and Philosophy. It was here she discovered her love of Gilbert & Sullivan. She then completed a Masters in Musical Theatre at the RCS in Glasgow (formally RSAMD).Since graduating in 2010, Rachel has had a wide array of performing opportunities, including a role in the Olivier Award-winning ‘La Boheme’ at the Kings Head Theatre and the Soho Theatre and numerous European Shakespeare tours with TNT Theatre. In 2014, Rachel won Best Female Performer at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival for her role as Mercury in ‘Thespis’. It was in this production where she first worked closely with William Remmers, who quickly became the musical side of Forbear! Theatre.In addition to eleven fully-staged Gilbert & Sullivan productions with Forbear! Theatre, Rachel has directed 'HMS Pinafore' for the National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, and has led Gilbert and Sullivan masterclasses for the London School of Musical Theatre. One of Rachel’s life goals is to ensure that nobody forgets the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, which she considers to be one of the few things British people have to be proud about as a nation, along with Marmite.

William Remmers - Musical DirectorWilliam Remmers is a performer, director, conductor, composer, orchestrator, writer, coach, dramaturg, filmmaker, pianist, guitarist, percussionist, translator, and supertitle designer for hire.Mr. Remmers founded NYC’s Utopia Opera in 2011 and serves as its artistic and musical director. In this capacity, he was featured on the cover of the August 2016 issue of Opera News as one of the “Game Changers” in New York’s indie opera scene, also receiving the notice of New York Observer and The New Yorker.His conducting has been described as “rousing and empathetic” (Opera News) and with “an attention to detail match[ing] his daring in choice of repertory” (Parterre Box). His repertoire includes productions of Falstaff, Ariadne auf Naxos, The Ballad of Baby Doe, The Rape of Lucretia, Cendrillon, Don Quichotte, Susannah, Hydrogen Jukebox, L’italiana in Algeri, Der Freischütz, Pagliacci, Martha, L’enfant et les sortilèges, and almost all of the G&S canon.As a singer and actor, his favorite past roles include Sganarelle (Le médecin malgré lui) and Le Dancaïre (Carmen) as well as over sixteen roles in G&S operas. In 2014, he received the Best Supporting Actor award at the International G&S Festival for his role as Sillimon in SavoyNet’s production of Thespis.Visit utopiaopera.org and williamremmers.com for more information.

Previous Shows

The Gondoliers

For our 2022 season, Forbear! brought The Gondoliers to The International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival, performing in Buxton Opera House and Harrogate Royal Hall.Next, the show was transferred to Ettington Park Opera for two outdoor performances.Cast:
Marco - David Menezes / Leon Waksberg
Giuseppe - Adam Brown
Gianetta - Christina Krawec / Joanna Brabbs
Tessa - Aimee Daniel
Don Alhambra - Roland George Harrad
The Duke of Plaza-Toro - David Jones
The Duchess of Plaza-Toro - Isabelle Paige
Casilda - Rachel Middle
Luiz - Samuel Snowden / William Remmers
Fiametta - Darya Scukina
Vittoria - Cynthia Whitman
Giula/Inez - Katie Paterson
Antonio - Tony Bannister
Francesco - Leon Waksberg / Samuel Snowden
Giorgio - Rob Sanders-Hewett
Annibale - Oli McDonnell
Ensemble - Michelle Kelly, Jonathan Tilley, Michael Nash

The Yeomen of the Guard

In 2021, Forbear! brought not one but two shows to The International Gilbert and Sullivan Society, the first of which was The Yeomen of the Guard.
Photos by Jane Stokes Photography
Cast:
Fairfax - David Menezes
Jack Point - Richard Lounds
Sergeant Meryl - Sam Snowden
Wilfred - Roland Harrad
Leonard - Robin Morton
Lieutenant - Tony Bannister
1st Yeoman - Leon Waksberg
2nd Yeoman -Adam Brown
Ensemble Yeomen - Sam Leggett, Rob Sanders-Hewett
1st Citizen - Oliver McDonnell
2nd Citizen - Rob Sanders-Hewett
Citizen/Headsman - Mike Nash
Elsie - Jenni Simmonds
Phoebe - Isabelle Paige
Dame Carruthers - Kim Hawthorn
Kate - Darja Scukina
Ensemble Citizens - Laura Clark, Maria Zicos, Victoria Zicos, Erin Fflur

The Pirates of Penzance (2021)

In 2021, Forbear! brought not one but two shows to The International Gilbert and Sullivan Society, the second of which was The Pirates of Penzance.
Photo by Jane Stokes Photography
Cast:
Major General - Stephen Godward
Frederic - Robin Morton
Pirate King - Roland Harrad
Samuel - Tony Bannister
Sergeant of Police - Adam Brown
Mabel - Christina Krawec
Edith - Kim Hawthorn
Kate - Isabelle Paige
Isabel - Victoria Zicos
Ruth - Erin Fflur
Ensemble - Oliver McDonnell, Leon Waksberg, Sam Leggett, Jonathan Tilley, Rob Sanders-Hewett, Mike Nash, Laura Clark, Jenni Simmonds, Darja Scukina, Maria Zicos

Contact

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The Pirates of Penzance (2020)

In 2020, amid lockdowns and restrictions requiring rehearsals over Zoom, Forbear! succeeded in putting on a fully socially distanced outdoor production of the Pirates of Penzance at Ettington Park Opera.Cast:
Major General - David Jones
Frederic - David Woods
Pirate King - Roland Harrad
Samuel - George Priestley
Sergeant of Police - Peter Brooks
Mabel - Joanna Brabbs
Edith - Helen Clutterbuck
Kate - Jenni Simmonds
Isabel - Rachel Middle
Ruth - Isabelle Paige
MD and Pianist - George Ireland

Patience

Forbear! brought a production of Patience to the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Harrogate in August 2019. We then tranferred to Ettington Park Opera two days later with a reduced cast.The production was praised primarily for its chorus choreography and excellent musicality, but also for it’s cross-gendered depictions of Lady Jane and Grosvenor.Cast:
Colonel Calverley – Peter Brooks / William Remmers
Major Murgatroyd – Roland Harrad
Lieut. The Duke of Dunstable – David Woods / Sam Wright
Reginald Bunthorne – David Jones
Archibald Grosvenor – Jenni Simmonds
Mr Bunthorne’s Solicitor – George Ireland / Jamie Foye
The Lady Angela – Isabelle Paige
The Lady Saphir – Joanna Goldspink
The Lady Ella – Darja Scukina
The Lady Jane – George Priestley
Patience – Helen Clutterbuck
Chorus – Sam Wright, Rob Sanders Hewett, Oliver McDonnell, Leon Waksberg, Peter Whiting, Lizzie Lister, Maria Zicos, Victoria Zicos, Cynthia Whitman, Kim Hawthorn

The Sorcerer

In 2018, Forbear! performed an outdoor production of The Sorcerer at Ettington Park Opera.Alexis – David Woods
Sir Marmaduke – Roland Harrad
Dr. Daly – David Jones
John Wellington Wells – William Remmers
Notary – George Priestley
Old Man – George Ireland
Aline – Helen Clutterbuck Constance – Aimee Daniel
Lady Sangazure – Isabelle Paige
Mrs Partlett – Katie Paterson
Chorus – Jenni Simmonds, Rachel Middle, Peter Whiting

The Grand Duke

In January 2018, Forbear! put on an eight-person production of The Grand Duke in the Baron’s Court Theatre. We were lucky enough to have acclaimed film director Mike Leigh in the audience, who said the following about the show:“In their hilarious and endlessly inventive production of ‘The Grand Duke’, the Forbear Company bring to Gilbert and Sullivan a unique youthful freshness. This, combined with sophisticated wit and impressive theatrical and musical professionalism, not only breathes new life into this neglected show, but in doing so reveals it to be as funny, anarchic and tuneful as any of its more famous siblings, if not more so.”Cast:
Rudolph (The Grand Duke of Pfennig Halbpfennig) - Roland Harrad
Ernest Dummkopf (A theatrical manager) - Samuel Wright
Ludwig (His leading Comedian) - William Remmers
Dr. Tannhuser (A Notary) / The Prince of Monte Carlo - David Jones
The Princess of Monte Carlo (Betrothed to Rudolph) - Joanna Goldspink
The Baroness Caroline von Krakenfeldt (Betrothed to Rudolph) - Isabelle Paige
Julia (An English Comedienne) - Rachel Middle
Lisa (A Soubrette) - Aimée Daniel

The Mikado

In August 2017 Forbear! had the opportunity to put together a fully staged opera in just five hours, hosted by Ettington Park Opera.Cast:
The Mikado – Charles Wright
Pooh-Bah – William Remmers
Pish-Tush – George Priestley
Ko-Ko – David Jones
Nanki-Poo – Sam Wright
Katisha – Aimée Daniel
Yum-Yum – Rachel Middle
Pitti-Sing – Elizabeth Chadwick
Peep-Bo – Alexandra Ferrari
Chorus – Sophie Hill, Jamie Foye
Pianist – George Ireland

Iolanthe (2018)

In 2018, Forbear! revived our popular production of Iolanthe for the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival.Cast:
Lord Chancellor – Richard Naxton
Lord Mountararat – Roland Harrad
Lord Tolloller – David Woods
Strephon – David Jones
Private Willis – Peter Brooks
Queen of the Fairies – Kate Lowe
Iolanthe – Aimée Daniel
Celia – Helen Clutterbuck
Leila – Isabelle Paige
Phyllis – Joanna Goldspink
Chorus – Darja Scukina, Lizzie Lister, Katie Paterson, Chloe Philips-Bartlett, George Priestley, Leon Waksburg, Peter Whiting

Iolanthe (2016)

Forbear! performed Iolanthe twice in 2016, at Ettington Park Opera in August and Baron's Court Theatre in December.Cast:
Lord Chancellor – William Remmers
Lord Mountararat – Roland Harrad
Lord Tolloller – George Priestley
Strephon – David Jones
Private Willis/Pianist – George Ireland, Christopher Jacklin
Queen of the Fairies – Caroline Carragher, Kate Lowe
Iolanthe – Aimée Daniel
Celia – Helen Clutterbuck
Leila – Isabelle Paige
Phyllis – Joanna Goldspink / Rachel Middle

Ruddigore

Forbear! put on our first show, Ruddigore, at Baron’s Court Theatre in June/July 2015, and at Ettington Park Opera in August 2015.Cast:
Robin – David Jones
Sir Despard – William Remmers
Richard Dauntless – Sam Wright
Adam/Pianist – George Bryan
Sir Roderic – Roland Harrad
Sir Rupert – Aneurin Pascoe
Rose – Lila Palmer
Margaret – Jennie Jacobs
Hannah – Isabelle Paige / Rachel Middle
Zorah – Rachel Dreese / Beth Moxon
Ruth – Eleanor Janes / Emma Rogers

Friends of Forbear!

The Friends of Forbear! are our valued patrons, who support us financially and contribute to our future projects.

Forbear! Theatre are proud to be completely independent, enabling us to keeping the works of Gilbert and Sullivan alive and fresh for a new generation with our unique approach to the material. The production team come from a professional musical performance background and have an extensive academic appreciation of the material, and we never shy away from reaching out for clarification from experts if needed. We directly study the text and reflect the beauty of the music through movement, while capturing as much of Gilbert's infectious joy and absurdity in the process. Topsy-Turvy it may be, but we take these pieces incredibly seriously.

We are committed to providing opportunities to people from more than just a classical background; in the past we've used musical theatre singers, actors, dancers and comedians. Our company is inclusive for people of all genders, orientations, any neurodivergence, and is committed to becoming more racially diverse in the future as we expand. Therefore our number one priority is our performers' comfort and satisfaction with their working conditions, which is dependent on them receiving a fair wage.The generous donations of the Friends of Forbear! allow us to do just that, and all funds beyond this simple goal pay for costumes and sets of a standard that mean can stand amongst the best when it comes to Gilbert and Sullivan productions.

If you wish to become a Friend of Forbear!, help us allow our dedication and joy to shine through, and help the works of Gilbert and Sullivan survive long into the future, get in touch via our contact page.