The stage beckons for Sheffield mum

Carolyn Bean in dress rehearsal for The Merry Widow in April
Carolyn Bean in dress rehearsal for The Merry Widow in April
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Carolyn Bean has spent a lifetime in amateur theatre - but is only now taking her place in the spotlight.

For after many years in the orchestra pit, playing the oboe for some of Sheffield’s leading theatre companies, Carolyn has decided to step out on stage and take up an acting challenge.

Next month she will take on her biggest theatre role to date in the Dore Gilbert and Sullivan Society production of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow, playing flirtatious aristocrat Valencienne.

“My mum was in both Teachers and Croft House Operatic Societies for many years and my uncle was musical director for both,” said Carolyn, a former teacher who now runs her own dog walking service, Mutts and Moggies, and lives with her family in Beauchief.

“I’d go to watch my mum on stage and my uncle would be in the orchestra pit and I suppose I was just more drawn to the music than the acting – I distinctly remember thinking I wanted to be in the pit.”

All that changed four years ago, when son Alexander decided to join a Gilbert and Sullivan society - but only if his mum joined him.

“I think it was back in 1976 that I saw my mum in The Merry Widow and I’ve played the music many times – it’s a beautiful show, lavish and colourful.

“Playing a part like Valencienne may have taken me out of my comfort zone but I am enjoying myself!”

Dore Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s production of The Merry Widow runs at the Montgomery Theatre in Sheffield from April 9 to 12.

To book call 0114 2507155 or visit