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8x8x8 opens this week at Ilkley Playhouse


8x8x8 opens at Ilkley playhouse tomorrow, looking at this and other forthcoming events for Ilkley Chat is Caroline Mutton.


This Thursday 13th April, the winning entries of Ilkley Playhouse’s 8x8x8 biennial playwriting competition will be performed in the Wildman Studio. You will be treated to eight plays, all lasting eight minutes long. This year the theme is about something unusual occurring and is entitled ‘Once in a Blue Moon’. This wonderful night of entertainment comes to you courtesy of eight playwrights and fifteen great actors. Join us to witness these premieres and then chat to the authors, directors, performers and judges in our post-performance Q and A. The 8x8x8 playwriting competition attracted entries from all over the world but we are especially delighted to welcome local winner Joe Gallard who will be joining us one evening. This special event runs until Saturday 15th April.


Our next production opening in the Wharfeside Theatre on Thursday 20th April is Jessica Swale’s restoration play Nell Gwynn. Nell Gwynn is the infamous orange seller turned actress and was one of the first women to appear on the London stage when Charles ll became King and reopened the theatres in 1660’s London. Nell achieved fame and fortune and a degree of notoriety when she became one of the King’s favourite mistresses. Based on the accounts of the time, this is a romp through the life of a feisty, talented woman way ahead of her time. Join us for this restoration comedy full of witty dialogue, music, singing, dancing and a little bit of naughtiness too! Jessica Swale’s exhilarating take on the heady world of Restoration theatre premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in 2015, before transferring to the West End in 2016, winning the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy for that year. The play runs until Saturday 29th April.


Our next Wildman Studio production opening on Monday 8th May is A History of Falling Things by the acclaimed new playwright James Graham. Robin and Jacqui meet in an online chat room. Romance blossoms and the next logical step is to meet. What could be simpler? They only live a few streets apart. Only there’s a problem – they cannot leave their homes due to a crippling fear of things falling from the sky (keraunothnetophobia – a phobia that really exists). If they can’t find the courage to confront their fear and embrace what is real, how are they ever going to stay together? This is a truly original play – a romantic story with a difference – that premiered in 2009 and there is a film in the making. Humorous, touching, thought provoking and hugely entertaining, it is a 21st Century love story from one of the country’s finest writers. The play runs until Saturday 13th May.


The Wildman Studio will be hosting a variety of musical events throughout May starting with Chris Bannister’s ‘The Music of John Denver’ on Friday 19th May, which promises to be a very special evening. He will perform favourites including Sunshine On My Shoulders, Take Me Home Country Roads, Leaving On A Jet Plane and of course Annie's Song. This is sure to be a sell-out show so book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.


On Saturday 20th May former West End singer Sandy Smith brings you A Night of the Stars. This show will take you on a journey through the decades from some of the legendary artistes of all time. From Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones, Cilla Black and Dusty Springfield, Barbara Streisland and Elaine Paige, right up to Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and many more. Each track is handpicked to wow and entertain you. This sell-out tour has something for everyone so book your tickets early.


On Friday 26th May Brotherhood of Troubadours return to Ilkley Playhouse. Three acclaimed singer/songwriters share the stage. Each has an established pedigree of performing solo, and with bands. When they share the stage to sing their own songs, a kind of magic happens which doesn't occur in a solo performance. Spontaneous backing vocals and accompaniment break forth, as well as a fair amount of banter and anecdotes, and possibly a rousing, foot-stomping ensemble number at the end. It's certainly a great way to experience their music.


Stagefright Comedy Club returns on Saturday 27th May frontlined by Edinburgh festival nominee Chris Washington. His mischievous Northern wit and amenable manner laced with subversive charm has been seen on Mock the Week, Live from the BBC, The Stand Up Sketch Show, Pointless Celebrities and House of Games. Joining him is Noel James from Britain’s Got Talent and The Stand Up Show. Jon Richardson (from 8 out of 10 Cats) says of him ‘Noel lives and dies by wordplay, his delivery a gabble of consciousness that skips from pun to giddy flights of fantasy. He betrays the soul of a poet and accomplishes it with such rare panache and commitment that it approaches art’. Supporting them is Rachel Robbins who is described as ‘having a warmth and natural charm that has an audience captivated from the start’ (Yellow Arch Comedy) and Louis Etienne who ‘has the swagger of an experienced act who is confident in his abilities’ (Notts Comedy Review). The evening will be compered by Anthony J Brown, former tour support for Alan Carr and Justin Moorhouse.


On Friday 2nd June, Yorkshire’s very own Celtic folk rock band, Gaelforce, will be performing in the Wildman Studio. Currently taking the folk scene by storm, you can expect traditional and original songs in a folk rock style with rocked up jigs and reels.


To book tickets for all our plays and events visit www.ilkleyplayhouse.co.uk or contact Ilkley Playhouse box office on 01943 609539.

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