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Ilkley Playhouse Spring/Summer season offers a great variety of entertainment

Glorious! opens 20th June at Ilkley Playhouse

By Caroline Mutton

Ilkley Playhouse is well-known for the variety and quality of musical entertainment it offers and has a loyal following within the local community and beyond. This Spring/Summer season is no exception and over the next few months we have a great selection of individual performers and bands showcasing their very best - from folk to rock to country, and tribute acts from the very best out there.


Celtic rock folk band Gaelforce kicks off this musical season, returning to Ilkley Playhouse this coming Friday 31st May. The band was voted winner of the Great British Folk Festival Introducing Stage in January 2023 by public vote, to an audience of three thousand people. Since winning the GBFF, Gaelforce has been selling out ticketed gigs in Yorkshire & beyond, attracting plenty of interest from folk and rock festivals.


Back by popular demand, country rock band Laurel Canyon Union perform in the Wildman Studio on Saturday 8th June. Formed in the summer of 2015 by US Grammy Nominated, ex Acoustic Alchemy drummer John Shepard, this union of fully professional, experienced musicians take their inspiration from the late 1960s/early 1970s American West Coast singer song writer era, playing well-known songs from artists such as Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Eagles, The Byrds and James Taylor.


On Friday 14th June Chris Bannister will be performing the music of John Denver including Annie’s Song, Take Me Home Country Roads, Calypso and Leaving On A Jet Plane. Chris’ distinctive vocal style has always led to him being compared to the great American singer, but from the very start he was determined not to copy the visual aspect of John’s performances but to maintain his own identity. He has played to sold out audiences across Europe and is recognised as one of the best performers of John Denver’s music across the world.


Prepare to be transported on a remarkable musical journey as Fleetwood Shack makes its debut performance at Ilkley Playhouse on Friday 5th July. Featuring an impressive repertoire of the biggest and most beloved Fleetwood Mac hits, such as ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘Go Your Own Way’, ‘Little Lies’, ‘Everywhere’, ‘Landslide’ and many more, this show guarantees to immerse you in a captivating, nostalgic and unforgettable experience.


The following evening, Saturday 6th July, Lee Newsome performs Elvis ‘Up Close and Personal’. Lee has been performing his tribute to the King for four years and currently tours the UK in various theatres and clubs. Lee’s stunning powerhouse vocals and attention to detail, with suits made by the person who made Elvis’ suits, are simply second to none. The show is an unforgettable, jaw-dropping experience from start to finish, with customised projection visuals and indoor special effects.


Stagefright Comedy Club returns to Ilkley Playhouse on Saturday 15th June. The evening will be frontlined by Justin Moorhouse where he will be previewing his Edinburgh Festival show ‘The Greatest Performance Of My Life.’ Justin played Young Kenny with the tiger-striped face on Phoenix Nights, he has performed at Live At The Apollo, in 8 Out of 10 Cats, QI, Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, Dave's One Night Stand, Coronation Street and his own acclaimed Radio 4 show Everyone Quite Likes Justin. Jimmy Carr describes him as 'easily my favourite comedian’. Joining him on the night is Karl Porter. Karl’s slow motion goal celebration routine went globally viral. He is a brilliant, natural born gagster hailing from the North West of England. You can’t help but love his cheeky and unique self -deprecation, laced with tall tales and hilarious observations. ‘Jaw droppingly good physical comedy’ (BBC online). Also performing is Sunny Shine. 'His DIY routine was very good and Sunny built up the momentum....he closed his performance on a high' (Notts Comedy Review). This will all be brilliantly compered by Anthony J Brown who has ‘more stings in the tail than a scorpion with a migraine' (Leeds Guide).

Rehearsals of Glorious! which opens on 20th June

Rehearsals are in full swing for our next Wharfeside Theatre production, Peter Quilter’s Glorious!, opening on Thursday 20th June. Based on the true story of soprano singer Florence Foster Jenkins, this delightful play follows this eccentric yet courageous lady as she endeavours to conquer the world of opera singing in 1940s New York, despite her obvious lack of vocal talent. Peter Quilter’s expertly crafted dialogue and storytelling bring Florence’s journey to life with comedic highs and poignant lows. With her loyal accompanist by her side, Florence bravely navigates rehearsals and critiques, culminating in a performance to a capacity audience in New York’s iconic concert venue, Carnegie Hall. Central to the play’s charm is Florence herself and it would be impossible not to feel an emotional connection with her. She has a lot to teach us about the power of self-belief and the beauty of pursuing our passions with enthusiasm. Her resilience in the face of criticism reminds us that true greatness lies not in perfection, but in embracing who we are. Glorious! is a celebration of the human spirit, reminding us that extraordinary journeys are often embarked upon by unlikely heroes. This play encourages us, like Florence, to embrace our imperfections and pursue our dreams. You will leave the theatre with a warm heart, a smile on your face and feeling inspired. The play runs until Saturday 29th June.

As part of National Refugee Week, Amnesty International is delighted to be screening the 2023 Ken Loach film The Old Oak in the Wharfeside Theatre on Sunday 23rd June at 7.30pm. The Old Oak pub is the only remaining public space where people can meet in a once-thriving mining community in North-East England. The Landlord is hanging on to the pub by a thread but his hold becomes increasingly endangered when the pub becomes contested territory after the arrival of Syrian refugees. Following the screening there will be a discussion about the film in the bar and information will be available from the local Amnesty International branch.

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


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