At this year’s International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival, Rachel directs HMS Pinafore, National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company, The Yeomen of the Guard, Forbear! Theatre and The Pirates of Penzance, Forbear! Theatre
Rachel Middle is a director, performer and writer living in London who has had a very close relationship with the works of Gilbert and Sullivan since she joined the University of St. Andrews Gilbert and Sullivan Society in 2004. Rachel was a regular performer G&S Festival, notably winning ‘Best Female Performer’ for her portrayal of Mercury in Thespis in 2014.
Since graduating from the RSAMD in 2010 with an MA in Musical Theatre Performance, Rachel has performed in a variety of settings and styles, including singing Beyonce covers on Cruise ships, making beds on Deliveroo adverts, and playing Anne Boleyn at the Medieval Banquet in St. Katherine Docks.
However, most of Rachel’s acting career has comprised of appearing in Shakespeare plays in such far-flung places as Israel, Turkey, and Japan, as well as China on seven different occasions.
Said Rachel, “By performing so extensively in such a wide array of cultures, it becomes very apparent what the most universal and crucial elements of story-telling are. Even with pieces like HMS Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance, that we think we know back to front, there is such joy to be found in revisiting the text and uncovering new depths of understanding for the story and the characters, as well as focusing on just how well Sullivan set Gilbert’s text, and how we can use movement to emphasise this.”
In 2015, Rachel founded Forbear! Theatre with the express intention of bringing new life to the Gilbert and Sullivan operas. Her productions of ‘Iolanthe’ in 2018 and ‘Patience’ in 2019 were exceptionally well-received at the Festival in Harrogate. Their eight-person ensemble production of ‘The Grand Duke’ in 2018 has been particularly praised, Mike Leigh saying: “The unique youthful freshness of Forbear! is a joy to behold. This highly talented ensemble group combine their unique blend of sophisticated wit and theatrical and musical professionalism with an anarchic freedom that breathes new life into Gilbert and Sullivan in an exciting and quite unprecedented way”
Don’t miss Rachel’s much-anticipated new productions for 2021 in Buxton Opera House and The Royal Hall, Harrogate.
Buxton Opera House: Sat 31st July, 2:00pm // Sat 31st July, 7:00pm // Fri 6th August, 7:00pm
Royal Hall, Harrogate: Sun 8th August, 2:00pm // Thu 12th August, 7:00pm // Sun 15th August, 7:00pm // Wed 18th August, 7:00pm
The Yeomen of the Guard
Buxton Opera House: Mon 2nd August, 7:00pm
Royal Hall, Harrogate: Tue 10th August, 7:00pm
The Pirates of Penzance
Buxton Opera House: Thu 5th August, 2:00pm // Thu 5th August, 7:00pm
Royal Hall, Harrogate: Fri 13th August, 7:00pm // Sun 15th August, 2:00pm