Alistair Donkin as the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe

Alistair Donkin (1979-82)

[Born Market Drayton, Shropshire 3 Oct 1947]

Alistair Donkin joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in October 1979 as chorus member and understudy to James Conroy-Ward in the comic baritone roles. During his first season, he appeared regularly in the small parts of Second Citizen in The Yeomen of the Guard and Annibale in The Gondoliers, while filling in on occasion as John Wellington Wells in The Sorcerer, Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore, Major-General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance, the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe, Ko-Ko in The Mikado, and the Duke of Plaza-Toro in The Gondoliers.

In September 1980 he added General Stanley to his regular duties, along with Second Citizen (Gondoliers had been dropped from the repertoire), and continued to fill in in the "patter" roles, adding Jack Point in The Yeomen of the Guard. During his (and the Company's) last season, September 1981-February 1982, he substituted as Robin Oakapple in Ruddigore as well.

After the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company was dissolved, Donkin appeared with the London Savoyards and "The Magic of Gilbert & Sullivan," and sang with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, the BBC Concert Orchestra (for Radio 2), and the English Philharmonic Orchestra.He has toured America on numerous occasions with former D'Oyly Carte colleagues in both concert and fully-staged G&S productions. He has also worked as director for various productions of the Savoy Operas in the United Kingdom and America. He has also appeared in Gilbert & Sullivan with Welsh National Opera (as Jack Point in Yeomen) and English National Opera (as Ko-Ko in the Jonathan Miller version of The Mikado).

Donkin has been Stage Director and guest performers for the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Houston, Texas, since 1982. Since 1994 he was been heavily involved with the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival, both in Buxton and in America. He has appeared in the Festival's professional productions of H.M.S. Pinafore, Trial by Jury and The Sorcerer, and directed the professional production of Iolanthe, and regularly directs the amateur "Festival" production each year.

Donkin's Gilbert & Sullivan directing has won awards not only at the Festival in Buxton and in Houston, but also for The Gondoliers with the Penzance A.O.S., and for Iolanthe and The Yeomen of the Guard with the Taunton A.O.S. Further details on his career and repertoire may be found on his website,

Page modified May 31, 2006 © 2001-06 David Stone