Gay Soper

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Gay Soper is an English actress. She is perhaps best known for her performance in the musical Godspell in 1971, as well as Mme. Thenardier on the Complete Symphonic Recording of Les Misérables. She also performed all the voices for The Flumps, a famous children's TV series in Britain, and created the role of Mrs Bennett in Bernard J. Taylor's musical version of Pride and Prejudice.

Gay was educated at a convent in Surrey, St Anne’s College, and trained as an actress at LAMDA. Her career has spanned almost fifty years, beginning with playing Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady on the original national tour in 1965. In 1974 she was an original cast member of the musical Billy based on the story of Billy Liar with Michael Crawford and Elaine Paige. Her film roles include the British sex comedies Love Is a Splendid Illusion (1970) and The Ups and Downs of a Handyman (1975), opposite her then-husband Barry Stokes.

Her theatre work includes: Good (RSC); Mother Courage (National Theatre); and Sunday in the Park with George, Jorrocks, The Canterbury Tales, Godspell, Billy, Side by Side by Sondheim, The Mitford Girls, Les Misérables, Which Witch, and Salad Days (West End). She was in the original cast of the 1970s musical Betjemania based on the poems of John Betjeman. In 2010, she appeared with Opera della Luna as Little Buttercup in Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore.

In 2011 at the Brighton Festival she played Rattigan’s mother Vera in The Art of Concealment, a new play; and toured the UK as Norah in Star Quality by Noël Coward, as Matron in Doctor In The House, as Verity Carr in Morse, in House of Ghosts, and as Helena in Maurice’s Jubilee by Nichola MacAuliffe. She was Mrs Pearce in My Fair Lady at Kilworth House Theatre, 2013; Gay later played Mrs Higgins in the musical on a tour of Denmark. At the Birmingham Rep she was the Storyteller in Stiles and Drew’s new musical version of Peter Pan, and Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret at Frankfurt; played in Cole in Hong Kong, Betjemania and Narnia in New York, and Ruth in Blithe Spirit in Stockholm, and Cherry May Waterton in Coward's Nude with Violin at the Royal Exchange Manchester for Marianne Elliott.

She has made many TV appearances - perhaps most famously in series 3 and 4 of Romany Jones - and appears in the 2004 film version of A Christmas Carol with Kelsey Grammer. She can be heard on the London cast recordings of Les Misérables and Sunday in the Park with George. Her solo album, Flying Fish and Fallen Angels, was released on the Dress Circle label.

In 2008, Gay performed the lead role of Sister Wendy Beckett in Postcards from God - The Sister Wendy Musical at Hackney Empire Studio and reprised the role for the concept cast recording in 2010.[citation needed]

She is currently appearing in the West End in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Gielgud Theatre.

Selected filmography[edit]


  • Simon Sheridan Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema (Titan books) (4th edition 2011)
  • Simon Sheridan The A to Z of Classic Children's Television (Reynolds & Hearn books, 2004, reprinted 2007) ISBN 1-903111-27-7.

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