By Gilbert and Sullivan

Season 8-23 April 1994
Venue Belconnen Theatre


Act 1 - A group of fairies is lamenting the absence of Iolanthe, banished 25 years previously for marrying a mortal. This offence is normally punishable by death, but the Fairy Queen was so fond of Iolanthe that she commuted her sentence to banishment on condition that she never see her husband again. Yielding to the fairies' request, the Queen summons Iolanthe and pardons her. Iolanthe's son Strephon, a shepherd, joins in the rejoicing and announces he intends to marry Phyllis, despite opposition from her guardian, the Lord Chancellor. The Queen approves and plans to use her influence to have Strephon elected to Parliament.

After Phyllis and Strephon determine to be married without delay, the peers enter and appeal to the Lord Chancellor to give her to whichever of their number she may elect. The two leading peers, Lord Mountararat and Lord Tolloller, put their claims but Phyllis rejects them. Iolanthe enters to speak with her son. Since, like all fairies, she looks like a girl of seventeen, Phyllis and the peers misinterpret the situation; they ridicule Strephon's claim that Iolanthe is his mother and Phyllis bow declares she will marry either Mountararat of Tolloller. Outraged by the rudeness of the peers, the Queen states that not only will Strephon enter Parliament but that all his bills will be passed. The prospect of losing their established privileges horrifies the peers.

Act 2 - As Private Willis philosophises while on sentry duty, the fairies trip in, rejoicing that 'Strephon's a member of Parliament'. The peers enter expressing their consternation, and although the fairies are by now very attracted to the peers, it is too late to stop Strephon. The Queen reproaches her subjects, then confesses to a weakness for Private Willis. Tolloller and Mountararat realise that family honour require them to fight to the death over Phyllis and decide that their friendship is more important. The Lord Chancellor is preoccupied with Phyllis's charms and the two earls urge him on.

Meanwhile, Strephon tells Phyllis that his mother is a fairy and they are reconciled. They persuade Iolanthe to appeal to the Lord Chancellor for them and she reveals to him that she is his wife, incurring again the death penalty. All the fairies announce to the Queen that they have married peers. The Lord Chancellor resolves the problem by inserting a word to change the fairy law, so that all fairies must marry mortals or die. The Queen herself marries Private Willis, and everyone departs for fairyland.


Director Barbara Denham-O'Brien
Musical Director - Vocal David Priddle
Musical Director - Orchestra Les Smith
Choreographer Elisabeth Senftleben
Assistant Choreographer Tina La Puma
Production Manager Eileen Boyldew
Stage Manager Elva Clarke
Set Design James Stone
Costume Design Jennifer Hird
Lighting Design Annie Alsford with Carl Makim


Strephon Andrew Dark
Phyllis Elizabeth Senftleben
Fairy Queen Joan Richards
Iolanthe Katrin Hingee
Lord Chancellor James Stone
Lord Tolloller Phil Perman
Lord Mountararat Brian Hurrell
Lelia Victoria Gniel
Fleta Susanna Taylor
Private Willis Peter Smith
Celia Suzette Skobier
Peers Phillip Battisson, Mick Bower, Chris Boyldew, Conrad Burden, Bill Curnow, Frank Farrell, David Hill, Robert Macaulay, Ray Osmotherly
Fairies Anne Beard, Jessica Coates, Sarea Coates, Christine Cullen, Edith Gray
Valkyries Shirley Barrett, Eileen Boyldew, Pamela McMannus, Carole Osmotherly, Margot Reynolds
Baby Fairies Gemma Beard, Anita Davenport, Kate Osmotherly, Melanie Portelli, Lauren Weatherstone
Page Tristan Flynn


Conductor Les Smith
Piano Jenni Mersiades
Violins Barbara Hewitt, Greg Toomey, Chris Eade
Violas Mandy Souter, Marie Cook, Heather Powrie
Cellos Olga Howell, Maria Prickett, Justine Gibbings
Flute Ruth Dillon
Oboe Kirsten Jakobsen
Clarinet Tony Rowlands
Horn Iain Hercus
Trumpet Andrew Terracini