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Coming up at Ilkley Playhouse

Rehearsals are underway for Home, I’m Darling which opens on 14th September

The Autumn/Winter season at Ilkley Playhouse begins with Home, I’m Darling on 14 September, but the playhouse isn't quiet over the next few weeks as Caroline Mutton previews.

Over August Bank Holiday weekend actors from Ilkley Playhouse will once again be performing Bard in the Yard; this year a half hour version of “Hamlet” directed by Dick Hebbert and a thirty minute adaptation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” directed by Andrew Leggott. About Hamlet, director Dick Hebbert writes: “Hamlet seeks to avenge the murder of his father at the hands of his uncle, who, having killed Hamlet’s father has married Hamlet’s mother. In this version of one of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays there’s a ghost, murder most foul, poison, plots, sword fights, a play-within-a-play, graveyards, a skull, two minor characters who later became stars in their own play and more quotable lines than you’ll find in the Oxford Book of English Verse.”

About A Midsummer Night’s Dream, director Andrew Leggott writes “This is another play-within-a-play. Shakespeare’s best-loved comedy, as an ill-assorted bunch of rowdy workers aspire to thespian heights, impeded by the King and Queen of the fairies and their followers, led by the mischievous sprite, Puck. Oh, and a certain ass’s head plays a part too. No lovers in this production, to leave more room for the shenanigans of the fairies and mechanicals!”

Performances will take place at 7.30pm on Saturday 26th August in the Wildman Theatre and at 2pm in the Manor House Yard on Sunday 27th and Monday 28th August. Please note that to book for the Manor House performances, please book via their website If the weather is inclement on the Sunday or Monday, we have the option of transferring back to Ilkley Playhouse which is less than five minutes’ walk away. Tickets are just £6!

On Sunday 3rd September there will be a 65-minute video performance of (Circle Dreams Around) The Terrible, Terrible Past performed by the Greenroom students at the Dorfman Theatre, London, on 20th June this year. The video has been produced by the National Theatre. The event will be followed by a short Open Forum about the play and the process leading up to this event. The event is free but we ask that you book your seats in advance. Please note that the advisory age is 14 plus. The screening will take place on the big screen in the Wharfeside Theatre at 7.30pm.

Stagefright Comedy Club returns on Saturday 9th September. The event will be frontlined by Phil Ellis, award-winning comedian who has entertained audiences of all ages with his amalgamation of off-beat observational material and physical comedy. Phil has written and starred in three series of his radio sitcom ‘Phil Ellis is Trying’ on BBC Radio 4 and nominated for Best Scripted Comedy in the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2020. His TV appearances include Roast Battle, The Russell Howard Hour, The Tez Show and Drunk History. Joining him is Jack Carroll, Britain’s Got Talent runner-up, star of Live at the Apollo, QI, Sunday Night at the Palladium and Trollied. David Walliams describes him as “comedy genius”. Also performing is Jenny Laville, Bath New Act Finalist and Beat the Blackout winner. Jenny is a stand-up and comedy writer with credits including The News Quiz and Mock the Week. They will be joined by Edd Jefferson – ‘a tall, thin self-effacing scientist with an infectious line in gently twisted observational humour’. The evening will be brilliantly compered by Anthony Brown.

Ilkley Playhouse is hosting a 6-week History of Modern Art course starting on Wednesday 13th September. This course offers a selective introduction to the history of modern art. Each week examines a major movement in twentieth-century art and addresses specific themes, contexts and artists. Sessions are typically divided into two halves, with the first half offering a general introduction to a particular art movement and the second looking at a specific artist or work. The course tutor is Dr Simon Marginson, an independent art historian and curatorial researcher. He specialises in twentieth century art and has published on various aspects of British and European modernism. Each session starts at 10.30am and finishes at 12pm. The course fee is £42.

Starting on Thursday 14th September Ilkley Playhouse is hosting a 10-week Poetry and Fiction course focusing on the family. In this course a range of short fiction and poetry about the complex relationships produced by families will be discussed. Literature about family is something all of us can relate to in some form or another. Through reading how writers like Mansfield, O’Connor and Munro convey the lives of their families and the imagined lives of others, we can learn more about our own. Each session starts at 10.30am and finishes at 12pm. The cost is £75 for 10 weeks.

The Autumn/Winter season begins with Laura Wade’s Home, I’m Darling, opening on 14th September. To some people the 1950s are like a dream. Films such as Stand by Me, Grease and Back to the Future helped to fetishise the fashion and the music, while giving a general sense that the period is a byword for the good ol’ days. Judy and Johnny Martin certainly thought so. They longed for those days and thought that living in the 1950s would be pretty swell. So they decided to give it a go. Judy accepted redundancy with the aim of becoming the perfect housewife and Johnny became the breadwinner. Three years later, the long process of retrofitting their house may be complete, but how will it all hold together when the cracks start to appear? This funny and charming play debuted at Theatr Clwyd in 2018 before transferring to the National Theatre, London. It won the Best New Comedy at the 2019 Olivier Awards and completed its first National Tour in May this year. The play runs until Saturday 23rd September in the Wharfeside Theatre.

Fringe productions give our audiences and members additional opportunities to see a wide range of theatre and sometimes to showcase new writing. The first of our two fringe productions of the Autumn/Winter season is Girls Like That running from Thursday 28th to Saturday 30th September in the Wildman Studio. A naked photo of Scarlett goes viral. Rumours spread across smart phones like wildfire and her reputation becomes toxic, threatening to shatter the fragile unity of the girls she has grown up with. But how long can Scarlett remain silent? This is an urgent and explosive play that explores gender equality and the pressures on today’s digital generation.

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


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