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September at Ilkley Playhouse

Rehearsals are underway for Home I'm Darling opening 14th September

This month at Ilkley Playhouse offers much more than just stage productions as Caroline Mutton writes for Ilkley Chat.

On Saturday 9th September Stagefright Comedy Club returns to the Wildman Studio. 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.

Opening on 14th September is our first play of the Autumn/Winter season, Laura Wade’s Home, I’m Darling. Winner of the 2019 Olivier award for Best New Comedy, this unique comedy drama takes aim at the vintage values of the 1950s and one woman’s singular obsession with becoming the ultimate domestic goddess. The play dives behind the potential façade of a ‘happy marriage’, asking what the epithet truly means.

Judy and her husband Johnny appear to have the perfect post-war era life. From all the decade’s mod cons to their vibrant décor and clothes, they seem to have stepped straight out of the pages of ‘Good Housekeeping’. Despite their bliss they are somewhat of an enigma to their more forward- thinking friends. As cracks begin to show, it isn’t long until the gingham curtains are thrown wide open and Judy discovers being a model housewife isn’t quite as easy as it appears in the magazines. L.P.Hartley once said “The past is a different country, they do things differently there”. This is especially true in the case of Home I’m Darling. The play begins as a fizzy domestic comedy but quickly becomes a shattering discourse on feminism, questioning a woman’s right to choose how she lives her life. The play premiered at Theatr Clwyd in 2018 before transferring to the National Theatre, London and completed its first National Tour in May this year. Home I’m Darling runs until Saturday 23rd September in the Wharfeside Theatre.

Our first fringe production of the Autumn/Winter season is Evan Placey’s Girls Like That running from Thursday 28th to Saturday 30th September in the Wildman Studio. Using humour and occasional music, Girls Like That provides a stunning insight into modern society and relationships between groups of girls, aswell as between girls and boys – and also examines the impact of social media on those relationships. When Scarlett’s ex-boyfriend circulates a picture of her naked on social media, you would expect her friends to rally around her – but the opposite happens. Why? What pressure results in good people behaving like that? And despite all that, the play also shows how progress for women has been achieved down the decades, sometimes arising from the most unlikely scenarios. Expect a thoroughly entertaining evening which will make you see the world differently. This is a must-see production and deserves to be widely seen by teenage audiences, parents and teachers.

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


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