Iolanthe poster design

Written at the height of their creative powers, Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘Fairy Opera’ is regarded by many as their best collaboration.

Iolanthe sees the House of Lords (the bastion of ineffectiveness and privilege) and the political system come in for criticism, with the suggestion that the peerage should no longer be hereditary, but obtainable by ‘competitive examination’.

First performed in 1882, the topic is still very relevant today and shows how far (or not) we have come in 130 years!

Strephon, an Arcadian shepherd and son of Iolanthe, wants to marry Phyllis, a Ward of Chancery, but Phyllis’ guardian, the Lord Chancellor, and half the peers in the House of Lords are in love with her and are determined to prevent the marriage from taking place.

Strephon, however, has a secret: he is half a fairy and the Fairy Queen is a powerful enemy. Soon the Peers and the Fairies are at war…

You can read the review of Iolanthe in the York Press here:


  • Director – Lucy Thomson-Smith
  • Musical Director – Matthew Collins

Cast List

  • The Lord Chancellor– Paul Blenkiron
  • Earl of Mountarrat – Mark Simmonds
  • Earl Tolloller – Stuart Roberts
  • Private Willis – Derek Thomson
  • Strephon – Alex Schofield
  • Queen of the Fairies – Maggy Lamb
  • Iolanthe – Lois Cross
  • Phyllis – Clare Rachel Greener
  • Leila – Karen Kitching
  • Celia – Georgie Martin
  • Fleta – Lisa Valentine

Chorus of Fairies
Dorrie Beckett, Jennifer Carter-Shaw, Julia Cormack, Wendy Jackson, Margaret Noblett, Isobel Thomson, Louise Wyatt

Chorus of Peers
James Hirst, Nigel Hobman, Derek Thomson, Samuel Valentine