Gilbert and Sullivan Society · Exeter · Devon

It all started in 1969 as part of St David’s Church Youth club, which was based at St David’s church in Exeter, where Tom Pritchard was the Vicar, and Sylvia Doidge was the Musical Director.

The club consisted of about thirty youngsters who went to
St David’s Church either in the choir or the congregation, who got very enthusiastic about doing some sort of musical production

Christine Caldwell (who had been a professional producer) was persuaded to be the producer for our first Gilbert & Sullivan production of Patience.  Although funding was not available we took a chance on hiring St James Church Hall for three nights in February 1970 and performed with the minimum use of staging and costume.  It was attended by packed audiences and was extremely well received.  As a result more productions followed and gradually we moved to different venues, and ‘opened’ the Society to a wider membership as it seemed to be attracting more and more people.

For the first couple of years the society presented two productions a year, but since 1973, one main stage production a year has been the standard.

During the subsequent years St. David’s Players have built a formidable reputation for staging Gilbert and/or Sullivan productions to the highest possible ‘professional’ standards. 
These were initially accompanied by two pianos, but since 1985 we have had various orchestral groups to accompanying us.

St David’s Players have introduced Exeter, East and Mid Devon to the delights of Utopia (Limited), The Grand Duke, and also to a number of Sullivan’s non-Gilbert works, including The Zoo, The Rose of Persia and The Emerald Isle. In 1999 the Society had the honour of being commissioned by the Arthur Sullivan Society to perform The Emerald Isle at their conference in Torquay  and this subsequently led to us performing the work at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Buxton, Derbyshire.

We rehearse in central Exeter from April to October each year with a performance at the end of that period. Rehearsals are great fun and we are always delighted to welcome new members both on stage as performers and off stage as helpers.

We also arrange various social events throughout the year including trips to other productions by local companies.

If you would like to join us or wish to know more about
St David’s Players, we shall be delighted to
hear from you.

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