AS CHAOS and confusion continues to be the order of the day in Parliament, players are embarking upon a comic operetta that mirrors just that.

When Gilbert & Sullivan first produced their comic operetta ‘Iolanthe’ in 1882, the satirical production contained references to workings of Parliament and the House of Lords. Both institutions were infiltrated by Stephon, an Arcadian shepherd, causing the Lords to tremble as their privileges came under threat. Sound familiar?

Haworth West Lane Baptist Amateur Operatic Society, which formed in 1964, is performing Iolanthe this year as a tribute to its former musical director and founder member Terry Lofthouse, who died recently.

“Terry was the choirmaster of the chapel in 1958 after he left the RAF and as something extra the choir began to perform concerts. The, a few years later, he set up the society,” says its current chairman Ron McGill.

Rehearsals for the operetta began in May. “There are around 30 of us, meeting once a week,” says Ron.

The operetta tells how Strephon - who is actually half a fairy - is pushed into Parliament by his fairy family.

In the best Gilbert & Sullivan tradition this is played out in an evening of memorable songs and comic dialogue. The uplifting music has stood the test of time since the original production - the Lord Chancellor’s Nightmare Song and the sentry’s ‘When All Night Long..’ are particular highlights.

Cast member, most of whom live locally, include former member of the prestigious D’Oyly Carte Opera Company James Hutton, who plays the Lord Chancellor. James began his singing career at the society.

“Terry influenced his choice of career,” says Ron, adding: “A number of other younger members - often sons or daughters of members - have gone on to various roles in the performing arts, including professional singing, directing and set design, and their interest has often been nurtured from their involvement.”

New members are very welcome at this friendly society, says Ron, not only to sing, but to fill other roles such as helping with set design, building and lighting. In the week before the shows the church is transformed into a theatre for the production.

“Many of our members are getting older, and in fact a number of local Gilbert & Sullivan societies are struggling to put on shows or have disbanded,” says Ron. “I feel we are very fortunate to be part of a still thriving society, and I am sure that is a lot to do with our close association with the church and the local community.”

The society also holds social events throughout the year.

Iolanthe was Terry’s favourite show and the members intend to do him proud. “Terry was always striving to improve, and to put on the best show we possibly could,” adds Ron.

*Performances of Iolanthe at Haworth West Lane Baptist Church are Monday November 11 to Saturday November 16, at 7.15pm with a matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday November 16.

*Tickets are priced between £5 and £10. Further and booking details can be found at and