Actor/Director Timothy West is to direct the Carl Rosa Company’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore starring former Doctor Who Colin Baker as Sir Joseph Porter. The production premieres at the Malvern Festival Theatre on Tuesday 22 July.

With an extensive career boasting credits on stage, screen and radio, Timothy West has worked as a director before when he was Artistic Director of the Old Vic Theatre in the early 80s, and again when he became Associate Director of the Bristol Old Vic Company in 1990. Recently he starred in King Lear at the Old Vic Theatre.

HMS Pinafore was first seen in London in 1878 at the Opera Comique, becoming Gilbert and Sullivan’s first smash hit with a successful run of 571 performances. Satirising the snobbery and hypocrisy of the English social system of its day, HMS Pinafore is a comic tale of love, class pretensions and mistaken identities.

The Carl Rosa Opera is one of Britain’s best-loved opera companies, established in 1873. Over the past five years the company has built a strong reputation, both nationally and internationally, for its authentic, traditional productions. This new production follows successful tours of The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, Iolanthe and Yeomen of the Guard.

Joining TV regular Colin Baker, fresh from the tour of Corpse!, the company features twenty-four singers and a full orchestra with Stephen Page, David Stephenson, Riccardo Simonetti, Richard Coxon and Nick Sales among the principals. Two finalists from Channel 4’s Operatunity, Margaret Rapacioli and John Foley join the company, making their debut professional appearances. The production is designed by Christine Edzard and lighting is by James Whiteside.

The tour opens at the Malvern Festival Theatre before calling at York, Darlington, Grimsby, Cardiff, Wycombe, Bromley, Belfast, Stoke-on-Trent and Cork, with more dates expected to be announced for Spring 2004.

- by Jake Brunger