About the Society

The Cambridge University Gilbert and Sullivan Society exists to put on high quality productions of (mostly) the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan, and to provide an opportunity for lovers of singing, dancing, acting and terrible puns to meet and socialise. See the Get Involved page for details on how to join the society and keep up to date with shows and events.

The founding of the society was not originally done by a committee as one may assume but by a couple of people working almost entirely on their own. These two founding members who had been friends at school together were amazed to discover that the university did not already have a Gilbert & Sullivan Society. They, of course, decided to rectify this, led by Paul Welch and set about making the necessary arrangements for the society’s first production, The Mikado at the ADC Theatre in 1961. The show was cast through Paul asking his friends and others who may be interested in taking part as opposed to auditioning, with Paul acting as Ko-Ko, Director, Producer and Lord-high-almost-everybody-else! The orchestra was fixed in a similar way by Paul’s old school-friend, Christopher Hogwood and the Cambridge University Gilbert and Sullivan Society was born!

Nowadays the society puts on five productions a year: the freshers’ show in Michaelmas, The main show in Lent term, a May Week show, a performance at the International Gilbert & Sullivan festival and a large scale production at the prestigious Minack Theatre on the cliffs of Porthcurno in Cornwall. Each show involves a different level of commitment with it ranging from a week’s rehearsal (more or less) for the May Week show to a two week, intensive rehearsal process for the Minack show. The society also enjoys a vibrant social life, including regular sing-throughs of Gilbert & Sullivan operettas (ending with a free-for-all sing along to whatever scores you bring with you..!). This, along with an abundance of pub trips make CUG&SS what it is today: a musical, friendly and most importantly, fun society where everyone is welcome!

View the society's constitution here