The Fishergate Bollard is claiming centre stage in a starring role in a comic opera performed in Preston.
Famous for being knocked down by motorists overlooking the bollard’s diminutive stature, it has won favour with members of the city’s Gilbert and Sullivan Society.
Philip Walsh, director of Ruddigore, now playing at the Playhouse in Market Street West, felt it was only right that Preston’s favourite inanimate object should get a key role in the production - and without an audition as well.
He said: “While we are giving light-hearted publicity to our stone friend, one of our own members was one of its first victims and scraped her car on the bollard. That was in December 2014. The lady in question was trying to locate St George’s Church Hall for a rehearsal of The Pirates of Penzance and was not familiar with the new road layout.”
It was as players were beginning to construct their Act 1 set – The Fishing Village of Rederring, in Cornwall when Philip decided that a bollard on the harbour wall would make the set complete.
“A bollard was originally described as a post on a ship or quay used principally for mooring boats,” he said. “So it was a must that a bollard was part of the set.”
Speaking of the production, Philip added: “We have the priggishly good mannered poor-but-virtuous heroine, the snake-in-the-grass sailor who claims to be following his heart, a villain who carries off a maiden, a hero in disguise, his faithful old retainer, the wild mad girl, professional bridesmaids and ghosts coming to life. It’s typical Gilbert, full of topsy-turvydom and lots of lovely music by Sullivan.”
Performances are now taking place at the Preston Playhouse until Saturday, March 10. For tickets call 07779 738607 or see ticketsource.co.uk/prestongass