How Buxton gave birth to an international festival

As the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival celebrates its Silver Jubilee, Nicola Lisle chats to founder Ian Smith about the festival’s genesis in Buxton and what’s on this year.

IT WAS THE SUMMER OF 1994, and in Buxton something extraordinary was happening.
Lifelong G&S enthusiast Ian Smith, concerned that the G&S repertoire was being neglected, had been inspired to set up a festival that would become a showcase for the operas. He had sent a rallying call to other enthusiasts and now here they were – keen amateur performers, seasoned professionals and eager audiences descending on the town from all over the world…