top of page

What's on at Ilkley Playhouse

Caroline Mutton looks at what's coming over the next two months at Ilkley Playhouse starting with Three Mothers which opens in the Wildman studio on Tuesday 7th February.

Playwright Matilda Velevitch gives us three monologues that link three women from two continents with events that take place in Europe over seventy years. It is a compassionate, optimistic play that switches between Khady and Gisela in the present and Erika in 1945. Three Mothers tells the tale of three different women experiencing very different lives who, despite their combined difficulties and extreme loss, manage to move forward and rebuild their lives. This is a play of hope, focussing on characters who have risked everything to change the course of their lives. It is a story told with pathos, nostalgia and a good dollop of humour and the audience will leave feeling uplifted and inspired. Chris Winstanley, the play’s director says “What excites me about Three Mothers is that it offers us another vision of migration which is warm, honest, real and current.” The play runs until Saturday 11th February.

Following a stunning debut performance at Ilkley Playhouse last year, the Jon Palmer Acoustic Band returns on Saturday 18th 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.

Ilkley Playhouse is hosting a 6-week History of Modern Art course starting on Wednesday 22nd February. This course offers a selective introduction to the history of modern art focusing on major artists who are less well known. Each session addresses a specific artist and art movement and its related themes and contexts. Topics covered include Camille Pissarro and Impressionism; Maurice de Vlaminck and Fauvism; Francis Picabia and Dada; Philip Guston, Abstract Expressionism and after; Ed Ruscha and Pop Art; Gerhard Richter, photorealism an abstraction. Each session offers an introduction to an aspect of modern art and will address specific themes, contexts and artists. The sessions will typically consist of two halves: the first giving a broader overview of an artist’s career; the second a more in depth discussion of a particular issue or work.

Ilkley Players are delighted to have been selected to participate in the National Theatre Connections programme for the third time. Each year the National Theatre commissions ten new one-hour plays, written specifically for young people by established playwrights. They then select three hundred schools and Youth Theatre Groups throughout the country to produce these works. A cast of twenty-one senior Greenroom students will be performing (Circle Dreams Around) The Terrible, Terrible Past by Simon Longman from the 2nd to 4th March in the Wildman Studio. It is a play about being young in the fields and towns that feel far away from where things might be happening; a play about the expectations of life. Come and support our young people and explore the circularity of life as you have never seen it before. Please note that this play contains some strong language. Advisory age is 14 and upwards.

On Wednesday 8th March Argentine Tango dancers Celeste Cimino and Luciano Millaqueo make a debut appearance in An Evening in Buenos Aires. Supported by dancers from the British tango community, this intimate production celebrates the history and music of Argentina’s iconic dance. In a program of live dance, music, film and images, you will be transported from the birth of tango in the first decade of the twentieth century to the golden age of the 1930s and 1940s.

Our next Wharfeside production The Revlon Girl opens on Thursday 9th March. This is a beautifully written play that will make you laugh and cry. Four women struggle to move on after the Aberfan disaster of 1966. They meet every week to talk, cry and laugh without feeling guilty. The play imagines one meeting, one rainy night, eight months later, in a leaky room above The Aberfan hotel, where they secretly invite a representative from The Revlon Company to give a presentation about make up. From that innocent premise, the play delves into the tragic situation with both deep emotion and humour.

Based on the award winning BBC Radio 4 drama series, Flying Visits has been adapted for the Ilkley Playhouse stage as a fringe production. It is a love letter to care workers, the unsung heroes of our time. The Council allocates fifteen minutes for a home care visit – “flying visits” they call them. Care worker Hayleigh thinks fifteen minutes is not nearly enough. This play is tender, heart-warming and occasionally heart-stopping. The play runs from 23rd to the 25th March.

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 is an evening you do not want to miss. It 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.

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

bottom of page