Tag Archives: A J Doig

1933: Iolanthe performed by Mitcham County School

The Mitcham County School’s headmaster (1930 – 1952), Alan John DOIG, was an enthusiast for Gilbert & Sullivan, and his Iolanthe production was reported as a ‘remarkable show’ on the front page of the 27th January, 1933 issue of the Mitcham News & Mercury.

Remarkable Show by

The Lord Chancellor – J. P. MacLaren
Earl of Mountararat – A. L. Watts
Earl Tolloller – P. C. Didcock
Private Willis – J. H. Stainforth
Strephon – H. A. Packer
Queen of the Fairies – S. A. R. Rose
Iolanthe – R. Stainforth
Celia – D. Trench
Leila – W. E. Trench
Fleta – V. C. Clark
Phyllis – S. J. Ashby

Chorus of Dukes, Earls, Viscounts and Barons: P. Adams, O. D. Brooks, R. Brown, K. S. Bulbeck, C. C. Creed, R. Cronk, R. C. Gifkins, T. A. Henry, D. A. Lucy. J. S. Seeley, J. Selby, B. Taylor, R. H Watts, E. W. Warner, S. Wilhelm, M. Wilkie, G. Winchester.

Chorus of Fairies: D. Andrews, J. A. Brett, K. F. Campbell, P. B. Chappie, J. H. Cliff, J. F. Courteney, D. P. Curran, C. Hale, Y. S. Hart, C. W. Hollowell, H. R. J?ffs, H. F. Johnson, P. F. Lockyer, L. A. Miller, E. G. Nichols, S.A. Rose, D. F. Mackay, E. W. Sanders, E. Y. Towner, R. O. West, A. White, E. T. Wilkie.

English peers and immortal fairies rubbed shoulders at Mitcham Baths on Friday and Saturday of last week, when the Mitcham County School for Boys presented “Iolanthe ” as their third annual Gilbert and Sullivan production.

Mr. A. J. Doig (heed master) showed great courage in the selection of such a difficult work, but he evidently knew the abilities of his pupils, especially in the chorus work. Twenty odd youngsters, obviously from the lower school, were transformed into flitting, silver-voiced fairies, who sang with that natural, clear tone which a female chorus can never do.


Obviously. for a young, all-male cast the opera presented difficulties, but from the vocal point of view it did not suffer owing to the absence of females. The singing was the greatest of all the features of the show, and a school able to produce a better standard of singing would be hard to find.

Mr. A. J. Doig once again shouldered the great responsibilities of producer, coach and musical director, and excelled himself in all three capacities. Evidence of his coaching was seen in the way in which the entire cast combined action with singing, not an easy thing for amateurs. Even with the large amount of talented human material available, the show must have been the result of tremendous effort and thought on Mr. Doig’s part. Whether the acting satisfied Mr. Doig or not, the large audiences assured him that they were more than delighted with the show.

Of the cast, perhaps J. P. MacLaren, as the Lord Chancellor, was the most Gilbertian. Possessing a pleasing voice, he sang and frolicked his way through a role which required constant action. He was warmly encored for his singing in the second act, and he seemed quite comfortable when fooling with Mountararat (A. L. Watts) and Tolloller (P. C. Didcock), the two noble suitors. Watts’s remarkably mellow voice was heard to advantage in the second act, and he and his partner, Didcock, worked in perfect harmony. Didcock also possesses a promising voice, and he combined well in the trio.

Iolanthe was played by R. Stainforth, and was the most difficult role in the cast. To look young and yet be the mother of a senior member of the school is no easy task for a boy of Stainforth’s age. The extent of his successful interpretation seemed to frighten him, and his small voice did not encourage him. A very creditable performance of an uncomfortable and very difficult part.


S. J. Ashby was charming as Phyllis, the shepherdess, and many of the audience thought that a girl was playing the part. Ashby gave a display worthy of sincere congratulation. Singing, acting and deportment were necessary for the part, and he sang delightfully, acted naturally and carried himself so daintily that a few females might be envious of such grace. What a pity that such a clear voice will perhaps before long give place to more manly tones.

H. A. Packer was a spirited Strephon, and got through those uncomfortable love scenes with Phyllis quite creditably. His duets with Ashby proved very popular. Private Willis (J. H. Stainforth) had little to do, but proved that he was quite capable of more deserving parts.

The chorus of dukes, earls, viscounts and barons lent colour to the settings, but their voices were hardly heavy enough to bring out the finer points of the chorus work. The fairies out-weighed them in strength, but lacked some of the finer points of acting.

S. A. R. Rose was rather apathetic as the Fairy Queen, but improved considerably towards the end. His difficulty was the problem of using his hands. After several attempts, he adopted the stance of a weight-lifter posing before camera. Nervousness seemed to be troubling him, but he acted more easily in the second act.

The admiration of the large audiences was for all those who interpreted female parts. An announcement in the programme said that the proceeds of the performances were for improvement in the school’s new playing field. The programme also contained an invitation to the public to see the school “Rugger” teams in action. To see Phyllis tackled by the Fairy queen would be good fun, and would show that operatic production is not the only winter pastime in the school curriculum.

Mr. A. J. Doig conducted the orchestra, which consisted of the following:

First violin – Mrs. D. Stickings, Mr. A. White, Mr. E. V. S. Ericson;
Second violin – Mr. L. A. Johnston, Mr. C. G. Reed, Mr. C. Jones;
Viola – Mr. R. W. E. Stickings,
Violoncello – Mr. John Podel;
Trombone – Mr R. A. Johnson, Mr Caldow;
Pianos – Mr F. C. Hambleton, Mr. L. W. Stephens.

For a history of the school, see the Old Mitchamians website.

Mitcham Youth Handbook of 1949

Produced by the Mitcham Youth Council.

1949 Mitcham Youth Handbook cover

Youth Organisations listed in the handbook

the Major
Alderman G. W. PEARCE

THIS booklet contains Youth Organisations that exist in Mitcham. They are all worth your consideration. Whether you are a girl or a boy, there is always an organisation that will suit your taste. Don’t go through life without a goal in view, something to aim for, something to create, someone to help. The happy person is the active one.

You have probably been told that you are the citizens of tomorrow, the citizens who will build and rule this Borough, even this Country; that is perfectly true, and the results depend upon your mode of life at this time. Most of you have experienced World War 2 – do you want to see that happen again? Of course not! But if you and thousands like you do not take an active interest in the every-day happenings of life, then anything can happen. Don’t be apathetic, don’t leave it all to the other fellow. It is your life to make or mar, see you make the best of it. I would recommend the Boy Scouts’ motto: “Be prepared.”

Be prepared to help yourself; stand upon your own feet; be prepared to help the other chap – there is fun and satisfaction in that; and he prepared to take whatever life has to offer, cheerfully. Respect your parents and those in authority. Remember your Bible and all it stands for.

33 Ashtree Avenue, Mitcham.


Executive Committee

Chairman: Mr. A. J. Doig, B.A.
Secretary: Mr. G. A. Saunders
Hon. Treasurer: Mr. T. W. Twiggs

Mr. Edmund Clark, Gladstone Mission
Mr. J. A. Cocks, A.D.C. Scouts
Alderman East, Mitcham Borough Council
Dr. (Mrs.) Evans
Councillor D. Gifford, School Governors
Miss F. Mizen, D.C. Guides
Mr. J. N. Noall, National Union of Teachers
Rev. C. Richardson, Church of the Ascension
Mrs. P. Stone, Alpha Youth Club
Youth Employment Officer
Youth Officer, Mr. T. Baptie

Youth Office – Western Road County Secondary School,
Western Road,
Telephone: MITcham 4955


IN supplying this Brochure for the use of the young men and women of Mitcham, the Youth Council hopes that it will prove a valuable help to the various organisations and clubs in doing their work. The Council hopes that boys and girls, on leaving school, will join the clubs best suited to them, and that they will find that, in addition to these clubs giving them games, and many other activities, they will be able by their example and work to do something for Mitcham youth and for Mitcham as a whole, and that they will always feel themselves called upon to do something of service for others.


The Service of Youth is a part of the educational system of the county. It is not a “Youth Movement” but a partnership between voluntary youth organisations and the Local Education Authority to assist and extend the work that was done for many years by the voluntary organisations alone. Service of Youth means service to youth in welfare, recreation and education, but, equally important, it fosters service by youth to the community.

Mitcham Youth Council consists of representatives of all the youth organisations in the Borough who have affiliated to the Council, representatives of the Education Authority, the Borough Council, the teaching profession, the Evening Institutes, and persons interested in the welfare of youth. The Council meets quarterly and elects its own Executive Committee to carry on the day to day work of the Council. Acting through its full-time Youth Officer, it assists organisations by organising the training of leaders and members, by acting as a link between the organisations and the education authority, and by providing information and advice to organisations. It passes applications for grant aid for equipment and premises to the County Youth Committee. It provides the services of specialist instructors, the free use of school premises for youth activities and lends equipment to units of organisations which it would not be practicable for then to own themselves. The Council. also organises annual contests, which include table tennis, netball, cricket and football leagues, athletic sports, swimming gala, drama festival, and this year is organising a photographic competition and a quiz competition for the first time.

Affiliation to the Youth Council is to the advantage of all youth organisations. This does not mean that the Council exerts any control over them: it does mean that they are in touch with all matters affecting youth in the Borough. All affiliated organisations are represented on the Youth Council and receive information on all matters of importance to youth. The services of the Youth Officer are available to all youth organisations whether affiliated or not, but the authority is expressly debarred giving assistance which involves expenditure of public funds to organisations of a political nature.

The Handbook is published in the hope that young people who are not members of any organisation will be encouraged on reading it to seek membership of one or other of the organisations listed, and to take advantage of the educational and recreative facilities offered. It is hoped that the handbook will also serve as a useful work of reference for those engaged in the Service of Youth.

The co-operation of all organisations is requested in keeping the list as accurate and up-to-date as possible. Corrections and additional information will be welcomed.

Information of any kind about youth work will be willingly given. to any bodies or individuals upon enquiry at the Youth Office, Western Road School, Mitcham. Telephone: MITcham 4955.

Source: Local Studies Centre, Morden Library, Civic Centre, Morden.
Reference: L2 (369) MIT