Sing up if it’s your round.
Amateur operatic enthusiasts are preparing to swap the poop deck for the pub for a unique production of a Gilbert and Sullivan classic.
Marton Operatic Society members are building their very own JD Wetherspoon pub for next month’s production of Trial by Jury and HMS Pinafore at Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion.
And the national chain is right behind the group, lending a hand with licensing and props – even providing a couple of members of bar staff to serve on stage during the shows.
And members of the cast were given a taste of life on the other side of the bar at Lytham’s Railway Inn as they gear up for opening night.
Director Phillip Walsh came up with the idea for the unusual setting while enjoying a pint in the Lake District.
He explained:”I have to admit, I do like Wetherspoon pubs.
“Earlier this year my wife Susan and I visited a Wetherspoon pub in Keswick called The Chief Justice of the Common Pleas.
“This was the magistrates’ court and police station until 2000 and is Grade two listed.
“The pub boasts a near complete contemporary interior, with canopied witness stand, magistrates’ bench, prisoners’ dock and recorders’ bench.
“The police station retains cells with massive iron doors where you can sit and eat a substantial meal rather than a ‘dinner of bread and water’.
“We were lucky enough to be able to eat our meal on the magistrates’ bench and observe the surroundings.
“While supping a pint I picked up a copy of Wetherspoon News.
“I discovered an article about the old Tunbridge Wells Opera House (now a Wetherspoon pub) hosting a live stage production of Puccini’s La Bohème performed by the Merry Opera Company.
“That was my Eureka moment. “That’s it”, I said, “Let’s perform Trial and Pinafore in a Wetherspoon pub setting”.
“Susan and I talked at length about such a context for the show. Everything seemed to fit.”
Trial by Jury will be set in The Court of the Exchequer - a Wetherspoon pub inspired by the real life Keswick ale house – where the Wetherspoon Operatic Society will be busy planning their next show.
There’ll be plenty of modern twists on the traditional Gilbert and Sullivan presentation as ‘Trial’ is played out... the audience then invited to join the group at another pub down the road, The Pinafore.
Phillip was determined to use the Wetherspoon name, writing to chairman and founder Tim Martin for permission.
He said: “I cannot thank the company enough for the support they have given. Particularly, I must thank John Fothergill, manager of the Railway Hotel, Lytham without whose help with props and advice this production would not be possible.”
Planning the show involved several ‘fact finding’ missions to The Railway – something the cast and crew were more than happy to get involved with.
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “It is a great compliment to Wetherspoon that the Marton Operatic Society is recreating a Wetherspoon pub for their forthcoming production.
“Our pubs in the region, including those in Blackpool, Poulton, Lytham and Fleetwood, are extremely popular and we are certain that many of those attending the Gilbert and Sullivan classic will feel right at home.
“The perfect night out will be a visit to see the opera followed by a visit to one of the Wetherspoon pubs.
“We wish the Society all the best in what sounds like a brilliant production.”
The show runs at Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion from Tuesday October 11 to Saturday October 15. Performances are at 7.30pm Tuesday to Friday with a 2.30pm matinee on Saturday.
Tickets, priced £12 for adults are on sale now from the Lowther Pavilion box office.
During the production Marton Operatic Society will be raising funds for the RNLI.