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Get ready to laugh as 'The Vicar of Dibley' comes to Ilkley Playhouse


Taking a look at the autumn entertainment at Ilkley Playhouse for Ilkley Chat is Caroline Mutton.


Come along to Ilkley Playhouse for some festive cheer and support our young actors at this year’s annual Christmas Fair on Saturday 2nd December. Doors open at 9.30am where there will be mince pies, warming drinks, the opportunity to meet with friends, browse our Christmas stalls and enter our Christmas raffle. A highlight of the fair is the Greenroom performance: from 10am everyone is invited to the Wharfeside Theatre to watch our talented junior and senior Greenroom students perform seasonal sketches and individually prepared pieces of theatre.


There can be no better way of celebrating the coming of Christmas than a trip to Dibley! The Vicar of Dibley first hit our screens in 1994 and quickly became one of the most successful programmes in the digital era, winning multiple awards. Created by Richard Curtis, the hilarious sitcom is based around the appointment of Dibley’s first female vicar and the struggles she has winning over the village inhabitants. The stage play, adapted by Ian Gower and Paul Carpenter, will be performed from Thursday 7th December to Saturday 16th December, where you can relive the arrival of the new female vicar, Geraldine Granger and meet again the many eccentric inhabitants of the quiet village of Dibley. This show brings together some of the best loved moments from the TV series and links them to make a wonderful evening of comedy. Enjoy a nostalgic night in the Wharfeside Theatre where we hope to bring you the feeling of the good old days of television gold. Tickets are selling out quickly, so book your seats soon!


A 10-week poetry and short fiction course starts at Ilkley Playhouse on Thursday 11th January. 1917 was a tumultuous year: a Great War with no end in sight, a bleak cold winter, air raids over London, rain, mud, revolution. Remarkable literature also appeared in 1917, including poems and short stories by pioneering figures like TS Eliot, DH Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, WB Yeats, Siegfried Sassoon, Edmund Blunden, Amy Lowell, among others. Course tutor Dr Robert Hemmings has been teaching, researching, and writing about literature and culture for more than 25 years. He has a special interest in lifelong learning and is very pleased to have the opportunity to read and discuss poetry and other cultural texts at Ilkley Playhouse. The sessions run from 10.30am till 12pm in the Sheridan Suite. The course is £75 for 10 weeks.


Looking ahead to our first play of 2024, The Haunting by Charles Dickens and adapted by Hugh James, opens in the Wharfeside Theatre on Thursday 18th January. In an ancient and crumbling mansion, two men stumble across a dark and terrifying secret that will change their lives forever. When a young book dealer, David Filde, is employed by a former associate of his uncle to catalogue the estate’s impressive library, he finds an incredible array of rare and antiquated books. But, as a series of strange and unexplained events conspire to keep Filde from his work, he realises that if he is to convince his sceptical employer that the mysterious phenomena he is experiencing is real, they must journey together to the very edge of terror to discover the source of the terrifying visitations. This gripping adaptation of some of Charles Dickens’ most haunting works, based on his spine-tingling tales of the unexpected, will have you on the edge of your seats! The perfect play for winter, The Haunting runs until Saturday 27th January.

If you have ever thought about reading Proust but felt overwhelmed and intimidated, then this five-week course is just for you. It takes place in a friendly, supportive and encouraging environment where, along with Dr Robert Hemmings, you will work through Swann’s Way, the first volume of In Search of Lost Time. Sessions will take place every two weeks from 1pm till 2.30pm starting on Thursday 25th January. The course is £40 for five weeks.

Stagefright Comedy Club returns to Ilkley Playhouse on Saturday 3rd February. The evening will be frontlined by Gavin Webster. Voted ‘Comedian’s Comedian’ in a national poll of his fellow stand-ups, his long list of media credits include Never Mind the Buzzcocks, The Stand-Up Show, Edinburgh Nights, Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or-winning I, Daniel Blake and the Radio 4 sketch show The Show What You Wrote. Joining him is Tom Little, Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year and Edinburgh Festival award nominee. The utterly inventive Tom is a former BBC New Comedy Award finalist with his gut-wrenchingly insightful material and hilariously awkward delivery. His web series Don’t Overthink It has been recently nominated for four awards at the esteemed NYC Web Fest. Also performing is Melina Fiol, one of the fastest rising new acts emerging from the Northwest comedy scene today. Her sharp wit, confident delivery and relatable self-awareness has been disarming audiences across the UK. Beat the Frog winner Kie Carson will also be on stage, a charismatic and endearing performer with thought provoking material. The evening will be compered by the talented Anthony J Brown.

Our final production of the Autumn/Winter season, opening on Tuesday 13th February, is Things I Know to be True, performed in the Wildman Studio. As beautifully touching as it is bold, the play tells the story of a family and marriage through the eyes of four grown siblings struggling to define themselves beyond their parents’ love and expectations. Parents Bob and Fran have worked their fingers to the bone and with their four children grown and ready to fly the nest, it might be time to relax and enjoy the roses. But the changing seasons bring home some shattering truths. The play runs until Saturday 17th February.


Two popular, sell-out bands return to Ilkley Playhouse at the end of February. On Friday 23rd February The Rob Dylan Band perform in the Wildman Studio. Formed by a group of musicians who share a passion for the music of Bob Dylan, their performance captures the spirit of the Rolling Thunder Revue with exciting and dynamic playing and powerful vocals.


Following a stunning debut performance at Ilkley Playhouse last year, the Jon Palmer Acoustic Band returns on Saturday 24th February. Based in Otley, this high energy, folk, roots and rock and roll band is best described as “exploding out of the same box as The Pogues, The Saw Doctors and The Waterboys.” They have a great reputation for finishing off the night in a joyful, energetic and chorus filled way.


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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