From the Evening Gazette, 9th November 1976...
Marton Parish Church Operatic and Dramatic Society's production
of "Iolanthe" opened last night at the Church Hall, Preston Old-road.
This is the society's 40th production and will run each night until Saturday.
The last time the society put on this Gilbert and Sullivan favourite was in 1957. [Not quite right actually - it was 1965!] Last night's audience were agreed that this year's production is as good as anything before it.
All the cast worked hard in making it a pleasant evening for the near-capacity audience.
"Iolanthe" is about fairies and peers of the realm.
Set in the years between 1700 and 1882, the opera tells the story of how a shepherd boy (Strephon) engages the help of the Fairy Queen to win over his true love.
Iolanthe, his mother, was played by petite Tina Bywater, who had a strong and clear voice which belied her stature.
David Chard (Strephon) and Jacqueline Veazey (Queen of the Fairies) clearly enjoyed the evening and showed no sign of nerves.
Eddie Baldwin (The Lord Chancellor) played his part with humour and fine timing and was obviously an audience favourite.
Other principals include Michael Hilton (Earl of Mountararat), Eric Gilfoy (Earl Tolloller), Alan Brown (Private Willis), Margaret Elkin (Phyllis) and the three principal fairies were played by Arlene Rogers, Bebe Hilton and Christine Todd. Producer is Isabel Straughton and the musical director is Robert Atherton.