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Thespis – An Opera Grotesque

3 Jul, 2016 @ 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

About the Show:

The full name is “Thespis or The Gods Grown Old” and is referred to a ‘grotesque opera’. If is the first collaboration between Gilbert and Sullivan. The script has survived to present day although the score apart from various snippets that were re-used for “The Pirates of Penzance” and “The Grand Duke” or published separately. This version takes music from “The Pirates of Penzance” and “The Grand Duke” (as well as one song from “The Gondoliers”) to fill in the gaps in the score.

The story follows an acting troupe headed by Thespis, who temporarily trade places with the gods on Mount Olympus, who have grown elderly and ignored. The actors turn out to be comically inept rulers. Having seen the ensuing mayhem down below, the angry gods return, sending the actors back to Earth once order is restored.

Even though the show has many elements in common their later works the show is somewhat more ‘bawdy’ or even burlesque (but in the context of Victorian England) than their wider output.

Available Roles:

Mercury: Messenger of the Gods. Soprano (ideally a soubrette) in a trouser role. 2 solos and several other ensemble numbers. Will need to look athletic.

Venus: Goddess of Love. Soprano (with a hint belt) Sings 1 solo and ensemble singing.

Dianna: (Goddess of the moon and Apollo’s sister). Alto. Numerous ensemble songs.

Apollo: God of the Sun. Tenor. Sun of Jupiter (and therefore noticeably younger). Numerous ensemble songs.

Mars: God of War. Baritone. Several ensemble songs. A large frame would be an advantage.

Jupiter: King of the Gods Bass Several ensemble songs.

Daphne: Soprano. Becomes Calliope. One duet (with Nicemis) and other ensemble songs.

Sparkeion: Alto in a trouser role. Engaged to Nicamis. Becomes Apollo. A solo, a duet and several ensemble numbers.

Nicemis: Mezzo Soprano. Engaged to Sparkieon. Becomes Dianna. Two duets and several ensemble songs.

Thespis: Tenor. Theatrical entrepreneur and becomes Jupiter. Several solos including a patter solo. Other ensemble numbers.

Timidon: Baritone. Becomes Mars. One small solo and some ensemble singing.

Sillimon: Baritone. Company Stage Manager. One solo and some ensemble songs.

Preposterous: Comic Bass. Some ensemble songs.

The chorus are involved in the majority of songs. They are divided into 4 parts (SATB). They double between playing Gods and members of the Thespis’s theatrical troupe. There are several non-singing roles that will be drawn from the chorus: Cymon (male), Prettia (female) and Stupidas (male), and Typseion (male)

Audition Preparation:

You will need to prepare 1 song. In English. No pop songs. Approximately 2 pages or 1 minute.

There may also be a script reading and a movement element to the audition.

Audition Contact:

Please contact David Hardie to arrange an audition: davidlhardie@bigpond.com

Show Details:

Show: Thespis – An Opera Grotesque
Author: William Schwenk Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan (Sir)
Venue: Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Lemana Road, Nollamara.
Theatre Company: The Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Western Australia
Show Dates: October 7-9.
Director: Kevin Langoulant.
MD: Michael Brett


3 Jul, 2016
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


Gilbert and Sullivan Society of WA
(+61 8) 9349 4339


Gilbert and Sullivan Society
Lemana Road
Nollamara, Western Australia 6061 Australia
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