Frequently asked Questions
Do I have to be a member of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society in order to perform with the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Victoria?
Yes you do. It is a requirement for that before you take to the stage in any of our shows you must be a member of the Society.
Do I have to be a member of the Society in order to audition for a show?
No you do not. Anyone can and should feel free to audition for any show which interests them. Details are published on this website and in the local press well in advance.
How much time will I need to commit if selected or invited to be in a show?
You will be required to commit two evenings a week if you are selected for a principal role, and some Sundays during the rehearsal period. The rehearsal period usually begins about three months in advance of the performance dates. You will need to be available for occasional working bees or other activities. During the dress rehearsals and run of the show you will be required for many evenings.
How do I audition for a show?
Check this website regularly for details of auditions. Anyone wishing to take on a principal role needs to prepare and present the set audition selection for that role. The set audition selections will be advertised on this website in advance of the audition date and in most cases you will be able to apply for an audition online. A phone number or contact details will also be advertised.
What are your rehearsal venues?
Skipper Holland Hall, cnr Hunter Rd and McCracken Ave, Blackburn South.
What costs are involved in being in a show?
Annual membership of the Society is $45. All performers will pay a performance fee which is $35/$20 (student or Health Care card holders. A score hire service is available at $15, plus refundable deposit, if you choose not to purchase your own score. In addition to this there may be costs associated with costumes which will vary from show to show.
Do you perform works other than those of Gilbert and Sullivan?
Yes. We perform other works of light opera. These commonly include Lehar's The Merry Widow, Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld, Edwardian musical comedy such as The Arcadians as well as other works by Sullivan with words by librettists other than Gilbert.
Who are Gilbert and Sullivan?
The most successful partnership in the history of the English stage, they produced fourteen collaborations between 1871 and 1896. Arthur Sullivan was one of England's leading composers at the time, and W.S. Gilbert one of England's leading dramatists. There are many websites devoted to the history of the operas, including the mammoth G & S Archive and Savoynet, a listserv with over 700 members from all over the world.
What is the Gilbert and Sullivan Society?
The G & S Society of Victoria (Inc) was founded in 1935 and has produced light opera continuously since then. That makes us Australia's longest continually performing musical theatre company. As well as staging performances, we are dedicated to the study and appreciation of the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. We publish a magazine TanTanTara! which includes articles of interest about Gilbert and Sullivan and their world.
What is the difference between the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Victoria and Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Victoria?
Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Victoria is the performing arm of the Society.
How many shows a year do you perform?
Usually three. Two of these are full-length operas, and the third takes a slightly different course. For example in 2009, the first show was a full-length production of The Yeomen of the Guard, the second wasTrial by Jury and Other Legalities in Melba Hall or the Old Melbourne Courthouse, and the third was a full-length production of Cox and Box and HMS Pinafore.
Which theatres do you perform at?
We have developed a strong association with the Alexander Theatre at Monash University, which is the main venue for our shows. We have also performed shows at the St Martin's Theatre at South Yarra; the Malvern Theatre in Burke Road, East Malvern; on board the Polly Woodside in South Melbourne, and in the Old Melbourne Courthouse. The Melba Hall at the University of Melbourne has been the venue for several concert performances, including—in 2008— A Song To Sing O.
Who is GASOVIC?
Ljljana Gasovic was the famous Balkan soprano, responsible for the first performances of Gilbert and Sullivan in Russian. Her husband Gasov Gasovic, was responsible for the first transliterations of the works of Gilbert into the Cyrillic alphabet. For more about this little-known aspect of Gilbert and Sullivan scholarship and lore, please go here.
If I am selected for a show for my singing and acting abilities, will I be expected to do anything other than just sing?
Because we are an amateur society and depend greatly on ticket sales generated by our casts and crews, there are plenty of opportunities to contribute to the success of the show other than by your acting and singing. Such activities might include set construction, assisting with costumes, and assisting in the bumping in and bumping out at the beginning and the end of each season (physically moving the scenery into and out of the theatre). There are various co-ordinating roles backstage that also contribute greatly to the success of a show. All cast members are expected to contribute to the behind-the-scenes production of the show.
What opportunities are there for Directors, Stage Managers, stage crew, costume designers and the like?
Opportunities for these will be advertised on this website and in the society magazine TanTanTara! and in The Age at the requisite times. If you are interested in directing a show, then you will be required to submit a short CV and outline your vision for the show.
If I am not interested in being on the stage, but still love live theatre, how else can I contribute?
As we are an amateur company and depend largely on ticket sales generated by casts and crews and by word of mouth, there are plenty of opportunities. Helping with the administration of ticket sales, front of house, set construction, costumes and assisting backstage during performances are just a few of the ways. Even if you have no interest in being on the stage, you can share in the magic and mystique which is live theatre.
Are there recordings made of your shows, and are these available for sale and/or loan?
Yes. Our performances are being recorded on DVDs by an independent company and these can be ordered online from this website. The Society has a library, the recorded archives of which are growing steadily.
What are the benefits of being a member of the Society?
You receive advance notice of shows and reduced ticket prices, a copy of the magazine TanTanTara! four times a year, social events throughout the year, and the opportunity to perform in shows. You are also entitled to vote at General Meetings and exercise the usual privileges of a member of an Incorporated Association.
How is the Society structured?
A Committee of Management is elected at each Annual General Meeting, comprising a President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary (one year terms) and eight ordinary members (two year terms). Each production is managed by its own team of Directors, Production Manager, Stage Manager and various other personnel, under the supervision of the Committee.
How do I become a member?
Complete the application form and submit it with the annual subscription of $45 to Membership Secretary, G&S Society of Victoria, PO Box 184 Blackburn South Vic 3130.
How do I book to see a show?
You can book through the theatres directly, or from the various links on this website. You can book for individual shows, or for all shows in a year.
Do you have a group bookings scheme?
Bookings of 20 or more attract a discount. To take advantage of this, you need to phone Liz Burman 9885 5276