Who are we?

The Pittsburgh Savoyards, Inc. is a semi-professional, community-based, non-profit theater company funded primarily by local contributions and ticket sales.

We operate for the purposes of perpetuating the heritage of Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas, and providing a hands-on opportunity for interested persons to learn about and experience musical theater. While our focus is the performance of the comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan, we occasionally perform non-Gilbert and Sullivan concerts and other composers’ comic operas. The Company has been in existence since 1938, and is informally affiliated with a number of similar groups throughout the country.

The name “Savoyards” comes from the Savoy Theater in London, where many of the operas premiered and were performed for many years, and is used by groups throughout the world to indicate their devotion to these works. The comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan are historic treasures and only the works of William Shakespeare are performed more often in the tradition of the English theater.

Productions are performed and produced, for the most part, by dedicated volunteers from the greater Pittsburgh area under professional direction. The fully-orchestrated performances also feature many local professional musicians, and members of the Pittsburgh Opera Chorus and Mendelssohn Choir, most of whom are there because they share our love of this body of work, and the friendly atmosphere engendered within the group.

What do we do?

Each season, we present two full stage production runs of Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas with full orchestral accompaniment, as well as two smaller classic plays at our studio theatre in Bellevue. Tickets are offered to the public at an unusually low price. The artistic quality of the Company’s performances is especially high. These productions provide our audience with entertainment which can be enjoyed by young and older people alike. We produce and stage professional quality shows suitable for the entire family; performances have been very well received by both audiences and reviewers. Many of our former members have gone on to pursue professional careers in performing, education, and behind the scenes work in theater.

We encourage outreach to the community in several ways. We encourage high school students to help with technical and artistic aspects of our performances allowing them an opportunity to work & perform in a real theater environment. At each of our regular shows, we provide tickets to interested high schools, convalescent homes, and other non-profit groups, to encourage them to be exposed to this rich cultural medium. We perform in small group ensembles in community events. We encourage and enable beginning and experienced on-stage performers to develop their art.

Where have we been, and where are we going?

For many years, the Company did not have a permanent home. For most of its history, properties were stored in several temporary locations, with frequent moves required as donated or affordable space became available. Early in 1993, the Company was able to secure space in the Andrew Carnegie Free Library Music Hall in Carnegie, Pennsylvania. This historic building is over 100 years old, and has a performance hall which is suitable for the Company’s purposes. It is also very accessible (Carnegie is easily reached from the Parkway West, Interstate 79, State Route 50, and other roads), and has on site and community area parking. Currently, the ACFL&MH (the “Carnegie Carnegie”) is continuing fundraising to restore the beautiful building originally created for the Carnegie area. Visit them at carnegiecarnegie.org. Be sure to attend a performance there and enjoy the great sound and lovely surroundings.

Due to upcoming renovation of the ACFL&MH, for our 85th season we will be performing in the Greater Pittsburgh Masonic Center in Ross Township. We are excited for this opportunity to bring our shows to the North Hills of Pittsburgh!

Recently, the Company was able to acquire a more permanent home for rehearsing and storage of properties and costumes in the heart of Bellevue, PA. We hope it will enable us to reach new levels of artistic quality and stability for years to come. Within a few years of acquiring this space, we were also able to open it up as a black box theatre space for the performance of smaller, classic plays. Thank you to our Capital Campaign donors for your generous donations to assist in this transition! If you would like to contribute, you may find more information on our Donation page.

How do we operate?

The Company is governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees, whose members are elected to staggered two-year terms by the membership at its Annual Meeting.

Membership in the Pittsburgh Savoyards is open to all interested people that wish to learn, participate, perform or support Gilbert & Sullivan performances, whether on the stage, in the orchestra or behind the scenes; Members must be at least 18 years of age and complete membership dues requirements ( dues are $15 per season; active participants are granted a reduced rate of $5 ) .

The Company has no full-time paid staff. Some positions such as the Stage and Music Directors, may receive a stipend for a production. Lead singers, instrumentalists, and some other technical positions may also carry a small stipend to make them more attractive to the skilled artistic staff the Company requires, depending on the production, and to certify their performances in a professional role. Otherwise, all organizational work is performed on a voluntary basis.

Ticket income generally provides more than 90% of the production cost of a performance, with the balance coming from donations, grants, fundraisers, and concessions.

The Pittsburgh Savoyards Inc. is a Federally recognized 501 C3 organization. Donations to the Pittsburgh Savoyards Inc. are recognized as tax-deductible when adhering to IRS regulations.

How do we promote diversity?

The Pittsburgh Savoyards is a semi-professional, cultural, performing arts organization, specializing in the performance of works of light comic opera in the Greater Pittsburgh area by, and for, all peoples of the area and does not discriminate on the basis of age, gender identity, religious identity, physical abilities, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, cultural heritage, cultural identity or international origin.

We provide timely access to information about employment and volunteer opportunities to people in the areas we serve by:

  1. Posting such notifications on our website.
  2. Advertising postings online and on targeted public groups & listings.
  3. Contacting schools and agencies requesting referrals for employment and volunteer positions for diverse populations in the area, and posting in as many public bulletin board posting spaces as possible with volunteer staff, canvassing libraries, schools and other community organizations.

We provide timely access to information about performances to people in the areas we serve by:

  1. Posting such notifications on our website.
  2. Advertising postings online and on targeted public groups & listings.
  3. Contacting schools, agencies and communities in the area for referrals of new and diverse target audiences for performances and offering free or discounted admission to events to groups who have economic hardship gaining access to our type of cultural events.
  4. Distributing and posting flyers and posters for performances as far and wide to area bulletin boards in as many and diverse area communities as possible with volunteer staff, canvassing libraries, schools and other community organizations.

We endeavor to be as inclusive as possible in appointing people of diverse backgrounds to both our governing and advisory boards and to all committees formed to help us accomplish our goals and work. We seek out referrals from other organizations to help fulfill these needs.

Copy of this diversity statement: Diversity statement