About The Centenary Company
Based in south-east London, we specialise in performing the comic operas of Gilbert & Sullivan – Victorian Britain’s greatest theatrical partnership, and the inventors of modern musical theatre.
Our productions combine high musical standards with energetic and creative staging – and we have lots of fun! The look of our shows has varied from the traditional to the unconventional (including a Dad’s Army-inspired version of The Sorcerer, and The Gondoliers transposed to Italy and Spain in the 1930s), and we’ve given the world premieres of new adaptations of Utopia (Limited) and The Grand Duke – as well as the first UK production in more than a century of the early Gilbert-without-Sullivan musical No Cards in a double bill with The Pirates of Penzance.
Our performance venues have included Blackheath Halls, Greenwich Theatre, the Broadway Theatre in Catford and Charlton House – and this year we’re excited to be at the Albany in Deptford for the first time.
What do we do?
We typically mount a fully staged production of a G&S opera, with full orchestra, for one week every year (five performances, including a Saturday matinee). This year it’s The Pirates of Penzance, on 21–24 November 2018. If you’d like to be involved, see the Join us page.
We also present concerts featuring choruses, solos and ensembles in a variety of musical styles. These events raise funds for our main productions and for charities; recent beneficiaries have included Action Against Hunger and the Alzheimer’s Society.
In most years we run a scratch ‘G&S opera in a day’ concert performance, which attract G&S lovers from far and wide.
How did we get our name?
In 1995, Blackheath Halls celebrated their centenary, and decided to mark the occasion with a production of HMS Pinafore – the show that had opened the Halls 100 years earlier. To achieve this, our founder Celia Moreton-Prichard gathered together actors and singers with very varying levels of stage experience, and the spark was lit. The participants were keen to do more once the show was over, and the Company was born! Iolanthe (1996), for which Elinor Corp joined us as Music Director, closed the Halls’ centenary celebrations.