Not only can you support a great show, but a great cause too! Photography by Lesley Walton

Have you ever thought, “Parliament is off with the fairies?” Well in Diamond Valley Singers and the Eltham Community Orchestra’s upcoming production of Iolanthe, Gilbert and Sullivan aim their satirical arrows squarely at the British House of Lords, where peers are a law unto themselves. This is the 25th anniversary of the company teaming up with the community orchestra; as well as all proceeds from the show going to charity. DVS have contributed $115,000 to local and global charities with proceeds from Iolanthe going to both World Visions Haiti Earthquake relief appeal and Ivanhoe’s Open House. To find out a little more about how this initiative came about and what to expect from the show, I spoke with Ian Lowe the producer.
TP: Tell us a little about the show?
Ian: Gilbert pokes fun at the unelected House of Peers by making them deal with some angry fairies! Typical Gilbert and Sullivan social satire with clear contemporary overtones: women in politics, UK and Australian elections, etc. Despite this, the piece is performed exactly as Gilbert wrote it; the links to present day are obvious.
The settings of the two acts are woodland near London, and outside the Houses of Parliament, with Big Ben in the background.
TP: How did the company come across this particular show?
Ian: We last performed it in 1992, but have done most Gilbert and Sullivan shows, as well as a number Broadway shows over our 25 years of existence. Last year we did Carousel.
TP: Was there anything different about the audition process?

Ian: No, we take all-comers!
TP: Tell me a little about the "Think and Act both globally and locally" initiative of the Diamond Valley Singers?
Ian: DVS has donated all its profits over 25 years to charities. The main recipients have been World Vision – through which our money has gone to support projects with street kids in Thailand, and the local (Ivanhoe) youth support organisation "Open House". In the first 25 years we have raised about $115 000. This year World Vision donations will go to support the earthquake victims in Haiti. One of our members works for World Vision and has been the Australian representative in Haiti in recent months.


TP: What are some of the highlights of the show for you?
Ian: Sullivan is best known for ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ but in this show his music is more sensitive and gentle. His mother had just died, which might explain it. There is (also) one particularly funny scene in which two Lords are politely arguing which is to destroy the other, in order to win the hand of the young Phyllis.
The show certainly sounds like an entertaining night out and all proceeds going to charity make it all the more worthwhile. Be sure to book tickets!
8pm – July 2, 3, 7, 9 &10
2pm – July 3, 4 & 10
Tickets: Adult $30, Concession $25, Group 10+ $23, Child $15.
Online bookings can be made at
Phone bookings and enquiries: Angela on 9439 7843