The Beggar's Opera by John Gay

14th - 17th May 2008, Joseph Rowntree Theatre

The first and most famous of ballad operas, The Beggar's Opera is a lively satire of eighteenth century political life, in which beggars, thieves, fences, lawyers, prostitutes and gaolers clash and squabble, in their attempt to worm money out of all and sundry (and each other!).

First performed in 1728, the piece pokes fun at operatic convention by being based on low-life characters - the hero is an amoral highwayman who marries for convenience, pretends to marry two wives simultaneously and is betrayed by his 'so-called' friends.

Written by John Gay, The Beggar's Opera uses songs culled from contemporary songbooks, from other composers and from the traditional folk area. York Opera are using the Frederick Austin score, and the show will be directed by Clive Marshall and musically directed by Steve Griffiths.

Ticket details

Tickets £10
Concessions(unwaged, students) £8,
Children £5
from Richard Shouksmith (see our bookings page for details). Tickets also on sale from the Theatre Royal Box Office (01904 623568) but please be aware that any sales through the Theatre Royal are subject to a commission so if possible order direct through York Opera.


Mrs Peachum
Polly Peachum
Lucy Lockitt

Matt of the Mint
Mrs Trapes
Jenny Diver

Ian Small
Pauline Chadwick
Claire Holdich
Paul Richardson
Tracy Bowen
Alex Holland

Peter Nicholson
Claire Duckworth
Steve Griffiths
Trish Campbell
Clive Marshall
Giffard Hogge


Robin Walton
Olivia Hayworth
Gabrielle Power
plus Ladies of the Chorus

Highwaymen, Drawer, Prisoners in Chains, Turnkey, Constables, Jailor, Servant will be played by Gentlemen (and Ladies) of the Chorus.

If you are interested in being a part of this production, we still need to do a lot of painting and sewing! Please contact beggarsopera@yorkopera.org.

Registered charity 700279