DID Galloway Gazette readers realise that next year marks the centenary of the death of a very remarkable Wigtownshire woman?

Born in the house that became the Wigtown House Hotel, Bank Street, Wigtown, Helen Lenoir married Richard D’Oyley in 1888 and Arthur Sullivan of Gilbert & Sullivan was the best man.

In 1901 she was left the Savoy Theatre and the Savoy Hotel in London and assumed full control of the family businesses including the famous D’Oyley Carte Opera Company that first presented all of Gilbert & Sullivan’s work to the world. Helen went on to stage successful opera seasons in London establishing that the Gilbert and Sullivan operas could continue to be revived.

This year West Fest have organised a free coach through the Dumfries & Galloway Council Ride 4 Free scheme to take folk to and from Newton Stewart and the Machars to a major performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s best loved light opera, the Mikado, in the Ryan Theatre, Stranraer on Saturday, March 17.

The Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Edinburgh, with a chorus of 40 and principals in full Japanese costume, bring the production after a highly successful run in the King’s Theatre Edinburgh when it attracted among the largest audiences of the year.

“West Fest is delighted to bring this two act, comic opera to the Ryan”, said David Sumner, Chair of West Fest. “This is a great chance to see this tremendous production of The Mikado and enjoy a free ride to and from the theatre.

Nice to think some of its enduring reputation is due in part to a woman from Wigtown.”

To ensure a seat on the coach, phone or email westfestnews@gmail.com <mailto:westfestnews@gmail.com> or phone Winnie Cooper at 07833 465494.