Archive for the ‘Local Art’ Category

A Little Night Music at Buxton Opera House

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

Present Company is delighted to bring this iconic Stephen Sondheim musical to Buxton Opera House for a second time. The first occasion was in 1988 when Jean Gemmell gathered singers together to present the show as part of a Sondheim Celebration Bank Holiday weekend. Since that debut Present Company has performed 70 other musicals, operettas and operas for over 300 performances during the intervening 27 years, giving hundreds of singers an opportunity to show off their singing skills on stage and providing pleasure to the thousands of people who have watched.

For the audience, Stephen Sondheim’s  A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC has everything:  first love . . . last love . . . puppy love . . . sex (a little) . . . pistols at dawn . . . spectacle and above all style, not forgetting the hit song: “Send In The Clowns”

Jean Gemmell, who celebrates more than fifty years as a director, has again brought together some of the best amateur singers and actors from the East Midlands  expressly to create a new production of the show. “A Little Night Music” is a musical with no chorus which requires performers of real acting calibre, with vocal technique of operatic quality, who can also dance!  Little wonder it is rarely tackled. At its premiere, the New York Times reviewer wrote:

“At last a new operetta! . . . heady, civilised, sophisticated, enchanting.

The music is a celebration of waltzes . . . the lyrics are breath-taking . . .

Good God!  An adult musical.”


About the Cast


Laura Brookes is thrilled to be playing the Swedish actress Desirée Armfeldt. Laura joined Present Company (as Laura Orton) for “Beauty and The Beast”, then played Eliza in “My Fair Lady”, Maria in “The Sound of Music” and last year Rose in “Aspects Of Love”. Laura lives in Shepshed.



David Lovell plays the lawyer Frederik Egerman who re-kindles his liaison with Desirée after seeing her again when taking his new young bride to the theatre. David joined Present Company last year to play George in “Aspects Of Love”. David lives in Leicester, where he has sung many leading roles in operettas and in musicals and regularly “frocks up” as the Dame in The Little Theatre’s annual pantomime.



Alice Hands sings Anne Egerman, Frederik’s 18 year old wife in a marriage that has yet to be consummated. This is Alice’s debut with Present Company. She lives in Nottingham and works in the Box Office of the Theatre Royal.



Craig Arme sings Henrik Egerman, Frederik’s 19 year old son, who has fallen hopelessly in love with his step-mother. For Present Company, Craig has previously sung the roles of Marcel “Aspects Of Love” and Perchik “Fiddler On The Roof”.


Jon Morris sings Count Carl-Magnus the dragoon whose current mistress is the actress Desirée Armfeldt. Jon last sang Cornelius in Present Company’s “Hello, Dolly!”. Jon lives in Derby and is a singing teacher.


Rachael-Louise Bray sings Countess Charlotte, the wife of Carl-Magnus and a school friend of Anne Egerman. Rachael’s major roles for Present Company have been Maisie “The Boy Friend”, Jacqueline “Me And My Girl”, Gretel “White Horse Inn”, Tzeitel “Fiddler On The Roof” and Giulietta “ Aspects Of Love”.   Rachael lives in Chesterfield.


Bryony Gilbert (née Thompson) has been a member of Present Company for sixteen years, primarily as a dancer. She sang Fay in “The Boy Friend”, Minnie in “Hello, Dolly!”, Jenny in “Aspects Of Love” and now Bryony sings another teenage role, as Frederika Armfeldt, Desirée’s 13 year old daughter. Bryony lives in Doveridge.


Liebeslieders  Stephen Sondheim included in this musical a group of five singers whose role is to set the scene and comment upon the action on stage like a Greek Chorus. The singers taking these parts are: Andrew Lockwood, Richard Potts, Sarah Potts, Judith Hanson and Susan Dooley. Of these, both Richard Potts and Judith Hanson appeared in Present Company’s original production in 1988, although not both the same parts. Andrew lives in Chesterfield. Richard, Sarah and Susan live in Nottingham, Judith lives in Derby.


Box Office

Tickets          Thursday – Saturday  (7.30pm)  £15.00, £17.00, £19.00

Saturday Matinée  (2.30pm)   £13.50, £15.50, £17.50


Senior Citizen /Disabled /Group 8 or more            £1.50 off    (not Dress Circle)

Children 3 -15 /Student /JSA /Income Sup.           Half Price  (not Dress Circle)

Matcham Card /Buxton Breaks                             12% off (Thursday Half Price)


Box Office   01298 72190

or online:  

About Present Company

Regular visitors to Buxton Opera House since 1988, when they kicked off with Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, Present Company performers have delighted audiences in recent years with: The Boy Friend, The Sound of Music, White Horse Inn, Hello, Dolly! The Merry Widow and Aspects Of Love. The aim has been, and still is, to deliver ambitious musicals, new and old.

If you require further details, more visuals or would like to interview the Artistic Director Jean Gemmell or one of the principal performers please contact me by email or by telephone: 01332 781816



Hayfield photographer recognised at awards

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

A fine art photographer from Hayfield has won industry recognition after her portfolio was judged joint best at a prestigious event.

Sara Porter, who has been a professional full time photographer for five years, was one of two winners of the “Best Portfolio by a Provisional Member” at the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP)/ Towergate Camerasure Fine Art Competition 2013. Judges overseeing the award are directed to look closely at: composition, technical ability, creativity, interpretation and a “wow factor”.

Her work, which is normally given a digital finish, is currently being exhibited at the Leeds City Museum until the 30th June. Sara first took up photography as a hobby at the age on nine and before becoming a full time snapper was a teacher.

Speaking about her triumph she said: “The quality of work produced by my fellow BIPP photographers is so high that to have my work recognised in that way is an achievement I am very proud of”.

“After a fabulous year and having a five month exhibition at Leeds City Museum, this is just the icing on the cake”.

BIPP President, Roy Meiklejon, said of Sarah: ”Her portfolio was of a very high standard, and serves as a testament to the diversity of work produced by members of the BIPP”.

To see more of Sara’s work, visit her website.


Ghislaine Howard launches winter exhibition

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Glossop artist Ghislaine Howard has launched her Winter Exhibition including work from her recent Irish exhibition The Circus Animals’ Desertion and other new work inspired by her trip to Venice in the summer.

Michael Howard and Tracy Cupitt will be showing their still life painting – Tracey’s vibrant and richly detailed watercolours are influenced by her time in Japan whilst Michael’s painterly canvases pay hommage to the artists he loves- Matisse, Cézanne and Braque.

Also on view are a number of intimate monoprints by Cordelia Howard and a small group of works by Glossop born Royal Academician Eileen Cooper RA, watercolours by Harry Ousey and a selection of original nineteenth century Japanese woodblock prints. Full details including opening times here.