Half a century after a group of fresh-faced youngsters from Maidenhead brought Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance to the stage, they met again for a replay of the production’s wrap-party and a trip down memory lane – with a sing-along, naturally.
On Sunday, ex-pupils from Maidenhead Grammar School, now Desborough College, and Maidenhead High School, now Newlands Girls’ School, met at the home of Malcolm Stork, in Cookham, to re-live the experience.
And for most of the 20 or so cast members who were tracked down it was the first time they had seen each other since they performed together in October 1966.
The reunion was the brainchild of Mr Stork, who played Fredric, the pirate apprentice, and who spent months tracking down as many of the show’s players, musicians and stage hands as he could.
And while some had relatively short journeys, such as Keith Pusey, the production’s Pirate King, who travelled from Winchester, others came from further afield, such as Nick Strong, who played the Major General, who flew in from Ireland.
Wendy Reynolds, who played flute in the production’s orchestra, had travelled from the Falkland Islands to be there.
For Mr Pusey, who went on to be master of music at Winchester College, it was also the first time he had been back to Maidenhead for about 50 years.
He said: “Obviously it’s been a delight to be here and see everyone and it was a really imaginative project, I think, to get people together again after all these years.
“I’ve seen people today who I probably haven’t seen since we were at school. I think we were all on our best behaviour to start with today, but we very soon got down to
reminiscing and the barriers soon fell away and we were soon re-living our youth from the 1960s.”
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The Met Office has issued a yellow alert for Windsor and Maidenhead, Slough and Wokingham, warning that rain moving eastwards across the south of the country may turn to snow in some places.