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Hilarious and heart-breaking play opens at Ilkley Playhouse


Opening in the Wildman Studio on Thursday 23rd March is an Ilkley Playhouse fringe production Flying Visits, a short play about working within the care sector.


Caroline Mutton takes a look at this play and other forthcoming events.


Hilarious and heart-breaking, Flying Visits is a life-affirming play exploring the struggles of working in care when society doesn’t seem to care. The author, Charlotte Bogard Macleod, is an award-winning playwright who has written extensively for the BBC and the London stage, from the Criterion Piccadilly, to the Roundhouse in Camden. Charlotte adapted the play specifically for Ilkley Playhouse after being approached by the Director, Ilkley Playhouse member Colin Waterman. He first heard Flying Visits on BBC Radio 4 several years ago and approached the author to enquire about a stage version. This is the result. Charlotte Bogard Macleod explained why a shocking discovery led her to start championing the rights of care workers and those in care. She said “research led me to an article about home care workers and the flying visits they are forced to make. It seemed extraordinary that, as a society, we could allow so little time to care for the elderly and most vulnerable.” It’s Ella’s first day at work. It might just be Hayleigh’s last. Ella wants to be good at her job, Hayleigh just wants to be allowed to get on with hers but it’s tough to do either when you work in care. The Council allocates fifteen minutes for a home care visit – "flying visits" they call them. Hayleigh thinks fifteen minutes is not nearly enough. Ella thinks that it's fifteen minutes of her life she’s never getting back. The two characters are played by local actors Pat Bell and Georgina Vaughan – the latter being a former Greenroom student of Ilkley Playhouse. The play runs until Saturday 25th March and includes a matinee performance on the Saturday afternoon. Please note that this play contains some strong language. Advisory age 14 plus.


On Friday 31st March we celebrate the music of Roy Orbison, with the amazing Oliver Harris, whose vocal talent has been compared to legends such as Roy, Elvis and Elton. With a live band of talented musicians, The Roy Orbison Experience will take some of you down memory lane with hits including Pretty Woman, In Dreams, Blue Bayou, Only the Lonely and I Drove All Night. This is not a look-a-like tribute act, but rather a special live performance faithfully replicating the unique unrivalled sound of Roy Orbison.


Following a sell-out evening in January, Stagefright Comedy Club returns on Saturday 1st April. The event will be frontlined by Scott Bennett. Rob Brydon describes him as having 'great material, great delivery, a very funny man'. At Leicester Comedy Festival he was nominated in ‘best show’ and Chortle’s ‘One To Watch.’ He has performed at BBC’s Live at the Apollo and Live from The Edinburgh Fringe, Radio 4’s The News Quiz, The Now Show, The Likely Dads and Elephant in the Room with Sarah Millican. He has supported John Bishop and Jason Manford in their UK tour. Joining him is El Baldiniho. Hilarious Tommy Cooperesque antics as seen on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, John Bishop’s Britain for BBC One, The Mad Bad Ad Show for Channel 4 and Sorry I’ve Got No Head for CBBC. He is a marvellous comedian and magician of some repute. Don’t expect political satire but do expect silliness and your jaw aching from laughter. Also featuring is Eddy Midgley, an endearing chap in his early twenties making sense of the bizarre world of grown-ups with devastating comedic aplomb. Finally, Rich Austin, described in the Notts Comedy Review as ‘clever with well-structured material….daft and also funny.’ This will all be brilliantly compered by MC Anthony J Brown.


Last year Ilkley Playhouse’s 8x8x8 biennial playwriting competition for short plays attracted entries from all over the world. From 13th to 15th April in the Wildman Studio, the winning entries will be performed and you will be treated to a performance of eight plays, all 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. You could even treat yourself to a signed copy of the plays.


Our next production opening in the Wharfeside Theatre on Thursday 20th April is Jessica Swale’s exhilarating play Neill Gwynn. King Charles ll has ascended to the English throne and restores theatre and performance following the Puritanical reign of Oliver Cromwell. He lives a hedonistic lifestyle, with a love of all things flamboyant, extravagant and sexy. At the playhouse in Drury Lane, orange-hawker Nell Gwynn is making waves of her own. When she takes to the stage as one of the first female actors, she causes bawdy havoc in a male dominated world and soon comes to the attention of the King. Rising from her roots in the slums, she becomes the nation's most celebrated actress and infamously, the favourite mistress of the King. However her rise to fame comes with its dangers. With her family and friends at risk, Nell must decide where her future lies....on the stage or at the Palace. The play runs until Saturday 29th April.


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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