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What's on at Ilkley Playhouse

Nell Gwynn opens on Thursday 20th April

Set in the 1660’s, Nell Gwynn is the next production at Ilkley Playhouse, Caroline Mutton looks at this and other forthcoming events.

Our next production opening in the Wharfeside Theatre on Thursday 20th April is Jessica Swale’s rollicking restoration play Nell Gwynn. Set in 1660’s London, Nell Gwynn pays her way by selling oranges on Drury Lane, unaware that she has a secret and very royal admirer. After returning from exile and being restored to the throne, Charles ll brings with him a love of all things French, which soon transforms London. In an age where women were not allowed on stage, Nell Gwynn battles to become one of Britain’s favoured actresses, winning the heart of Charles ll along the way. The play runs until Saturday 29th April.

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 Wildman Studio production opening on Monday 8th May is A History of Falling Things by the acclaimed new playwright James Graham. It is a gentle, touching love story about love, fear and some of the good things about modern technology. Robin and Jacqui are both afraid to leave their homes because they suffer from keraunothnetophobia, the unusual fear of things that fall from the sky. Robin, since a shoe fell on his head when he was a small boy, Jacqui more recently, when she was trapped on the tube during the London bombings. She desperately wants to overcome her fear; he is too frightened of failure to try. When they meet online, a relationship begins which forces them to confront their fear and discover what’s real in their lives and what really matters. The play runs until Saturday 13th May.

The Wildman Studio will be hosting a variety of musical events throughout May starting with Chris Bannister’s ‘The Music of John Denver’ on Friday 19th May, which promises to be a very special evening. He will perform favourites including Sunshine On My Shoulders, Take Me Home Country Roads, Leaving On A Jet Plane and of course Annie's Song. This is sure to be a sell-out show so book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

On Saturday 20th May former West End singer Sandy Smith brings you A Night of the Stars. This show will take you on a journey through the decades from some of the legendary artistes of all time. From Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones, Cilla Black and Dusty Springfield, Barbara Streisland and Elaine Paige, right up to Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and many more. Each track is handpicked to wow and entertain you. This sell-out tour has something for everyone so book your tickets early.

On Friday 26th May Brotherhood of Troubadours return to Ilkley Playhouse. Three acclaimed singer/songwriters share the stage. Each has an established pedigree of performing solo, and with bands. When they share the stage to sing their own songs, a kind of magic happens which doesn't occur in a solo performance. Spontaneous backing vocals and accompaniment break forth, as well as a fair amount of banter and anecdotes, and possibly a rousing, foot-stomping ensemble number at the end. It's certainly a great way to experience their music.

Brotherhood of Troubadours

Stagefright Comedy Club returns on Saturday 27th May frontlined by Edinburgh festival nominee Chris Washington. His mischievous Northern wit and amenable manner laced with subversive charm has been seen on Mock the Week, Live from the BBC, The Stand Up Sketch Show, Pointless Celebrities and House of Games. Joining him is Noel James from Britain’s Got Talent and The Stand Up Show. Jon Richardson (from 8 out of 10 Cats) says of him ‘Noel lives and dies by wordplay, his delivery a gabble of consciousness that skips from pun to giddy flights of fantasy. He betrays the soul of a poet and accomplishes it with such rare panache and commitment that it approaches art’. Supporting them is Rachel Robbins who is described as ‘having a warmth and natural charm that has an audience captivated from the start’ (Yellow Arch Comedy) and Louis Etienne who ‘has the swagger of an experienced act who is confident in his abilities’ (Notts Comedy Review). The evening will be compered by Anthony J Brown, former tour support for Alan Carr and Justin Moorhouse.

On Friday 2nd June, Yorkshire’s very own Celtic folk rock band, Gaelforce, will be performing in the Wildman Studio. Currently taking the folk scene by storm, you can expect traditional and original songs in a folk rock style with rocked up jigs and reels.

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


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