Michael Heyland

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Michael Heyland is an actor and retired director, and an arts and events consultant in England. He was Director of Productions of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company from 1969 to 1978. Later, he was an arts and events consultant for many organizations and managed the Royal Choral Society for sixteen years, among other projects. As an actor and voice actor, he has appeared on radio, TV and in films.

Early life and career[edit]

Heyland was born in Calcutta, where his father was stationed in the Indian army. He studied both music and drama at Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London.[1] He began his career working in repertory, including A Christmas Carol at Theatre Royal, Stratford East and Brecht's Happy End at the Royal Court Theatre, London. He also played in pantomime.[1]

He was engaged as Director of Productions of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company from 1969 to 1978. He directed the company's television recording of H.M.S. Pinafore in 1973[2] and a new production of The Sorcerer (1971), which had not been produced professionally in Britain since 1940.[3] He also directed a new production of Utopia, Limited (1975), which had not been revived by the company for over 70 years,[4] at the Savoy Theatre for the company's centennial celebration.[5] In 1977, he restaged Iolanthe,[6] which later toured Australia and New Zealand. He also restaged the Act 2 finale of Ruddigore and the opening chorus of Patience.

Heyland directed the company's entire repertoire of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas and Cox and Box on tour throughout the UK, for the company's annual seasons in the West End and took productions to Copenhagen, Aarhus, Rome, and on tour in North America, including New York, Los Angeles and Toronto.[7]

Later years[edit]

On leaving the D'Oyly Carte company, he formed an events consultancy "Influence" directing Lambeth and Guildford Arts Festivals, National events Consultant to Cancer Research Campaign and Mental Health Foundation. For the Cancer Research Campaign he created "Get Sponsored to the Great Picnic, by Land, Water & Air" at Windsor Great Park which was attended by Queen Elizabeth II.[citation needed]

He managed the Royal Choral Society for sixteen years, promoting concerts at the Royal Albert and Festival Halls, and devised tours to France, Poland, Switzerland and Portugal. The Society also made many recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra and RPO in the successful Classic Rock and Hooked on Classics albums with regular broadcasts on Radio 2. With John Burrows, he devised the Capital Radio Christmas Festival at the Royal Albert Hall for seven years. With Tom Hunter he created LBC's London to Paris Treasure Hunts and Fox Fm's Oxford to Paris Treasure Hunt.

Later, he devised the Great London Bike Rides sponsored by a series of radio stations from LBC, JazzFm, KissFm & Heart Radio which ran for seventeen years. He also later acted as events consultant at Rougham Airfield near Bury St Edmunds, producing five open air shows a year and expanded his repertoire to commentaries and voice overs.


  1. ^ a b Ayre, p. 143
  2. ^ This recording was later issued on video. See Shepherd, Marc. "The 1973 D'Oyly Carte Pinafore Video", The Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, 12 April 2009, accessed 24 February 2011
  3. ^ Howarth, Paul (ed.) "The Sorcerer Souvenir" Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine., The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, 21 October 2008, accessed 24 February 2011
  4. ^ Bond, Ian. Foreword to libretto, The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive (2005)
  5. ^ Jones, John Bush. "Utopia, Limited", Educational Theatre Journal, Vol. 28, No. 1, March 1976, accessed 6 September 2013
  6. ^ Bradley, p. 40
  7. ^ Joseph, Tony (2007). Leonard Osborn. Bunthorne Books. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-9507992-8-5. 


  • Ayre, Leslie (1972). The Gilbert & Sullivan Companion. London: W.H. Allen & Co Ltd. 
  • Bradley, Ian (2005). Oh Joy! Oh Rapture! The Enduring Phenomenon of Gilbert and Sullivan. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516700-7.