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What's on at Ilkley Playhouse

There are some TV shows that hold a special place in the hearts of the nation and one of those is undeniably The Vicar of Dibley. Opening this Thursday in the Wharfeside Theatre at Ilkley Playhouse is the stage play The Vicar of Dibley, based on the hilarious, heart-warming 1990s BBC TV sitcom.

Adapted by Ian Gower and Paul Carpenter, the play brings together some of the iconic, best-loved moments from the TV series and is sure to get you in a festive mood. Take a trip down memory lane at Ilkley Playhouse and relive the shock arrival of the new female vicar, Geraldine Granger. The play features all the eccentric, loveable characters, including Alice, the dippy verger, Owen, the earthy, local farmer and the stuttering Jim who prefaces most remarks with “no-no-no-no-yes!” For those not familiar with the story, it begins with the passing of the vicar of the sleepy, English village of Dibley. A new vicar has been requested as a replacement. What they get is Geraldine Granger, an unorthodox, chocolate-loving, rock n roll playing vicar. That is not what gets the citizens of Dibley in an uproar though. It is because she is a woman and more than that, “a babe with a magnificent bosom and a bob cut!” Enjoy a nostalgic night in the Wharfeside Theatre where we hope to bring you the feeling of the good old days of television gold. There are only a few tickets remaining, so book your seats soon! The play runs until Saturday 16th December.

A 10-week poetry and short fiction course starts at Ilkley Playhouse on Thursday 11th January. 1917 was a tumultuous year: a Great War with no end in sight, a bleak cold winter, air raids over London, rain, mud, revolution. Remarkable literature also appeared in 1917, including poems and short stories by pioneering figures like TS Eliot, DH Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, WB Yeats, Siegfried Sassoon, Edmund Blunden, Amy Lowell, among others. Course tutor Dr Robert Hemmings has been teaching, researching, and writing about literature and culture for more than 25 years. He has a special interest in lifelong learning and is very pleased to have the opportunity to read and discuss poetry and other cultural texts at Ilkley Playhouse. The sessions run from 10.30am till 12pm in the Sheridan Suite. The course is £75 for 10 weeks.

Fans of period dramas and gothic thrillers are in for an evening of spine-tingling tales when The Haunting is performed in the Wharfeside Theatre from 18th January. Adapted for the stage by Hugh Janes from the ghost stories of Charles Dickens, this is a gripping thriller from the literary master of suspense. In an ancient, crumbling mansion, sheltering from the howling winds that tear across the surrounding desolate moorland, two men stumble across a dark and terrifying secret that will change their lives forever. This play will have you on the edge of your seats and is the perfect play for those cold, winter nights. The Haunting runs until Saturday 27th January.

If you have ever thought about reading Proust but worried about feeling overwhelmed and intimidated, then this five-week course is just for you. It takes place in a friendly, supportive and encouraging environment where along with Dr Robert Hemmings, you will work through Swann’s Way - the first volume of In Search of Lost Time. Sessions will take place every two weeks from 1pm till 2.30pm starting on Thursday 25th January. The course is £40 for five weeks.

Stagefright Comedy Club returns to Ilkley Playhouse on Saturday 3rd February. The evening will be frontlined by Gavin Webster. Voted ‘Comedian’s Comedian’ in a national poll of his fellow stand-ups, his long list of media credits include Never Mind the Buzzcocks, The Stand-Up Show, Edinburgh Nights, Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or-winning I, Daniel Blake and the Radio 4 sketch show The Show What You Wrote. Joining him is Tom Little, Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year and Edinburgh Festival award nominee. The utterly inventive Tom is a former BBC New Comedy Award finalist with his gut-wrenchingly insightful material and hilariously awkward delivery. His web series Don’t Overthink It has been recently nominated for four awards at the esteemed NYC Web Fest. Also performing is Melina Fiol, one of the fastest rising new acts emerging from the Northwest comedy scene today. Her sharp wit, confident delivery and relatable self-awareness has been disarming audiences across the UK. Beat the Frog winner Kie Carson will also be on stage, a charismatic and endearing performer with thought provoking material. The evening will be compered by the talented Anthony J Brown.

Our final production of the Autumn/Winter season, opening on Tuesday 13th February, is Things I Know to be True, performed in the Wildman Studio. This is an intense, bold and funny play based around the mechanics of the Price family who live in Adelaide, Australia. The central focus of Andrew Bovell’s heart-breaking play is the marriage of parents Bob and Fran and of their grown up children’s struggle to define themselves beyond their parents’ love and expectations. Things I Know to be True is a snapshot of life, and like life, it comes with countless themes. Audiences will pull out different strands and different stories to focus on. But ultimately beating its way steadily through the play is the low-level fears we must all live with: that we love too much or that we don’t love enough. The play’s searing honesty about family relationships will stay with you long after the curtain falls. This is “a warm play that will remind every audience member of their family.” (The Telegraph). The play runs until Saturday 17th February.

Two popular bands return to Ilkley Playhouse at the end of February. On Friday 23rd February The Rob Dylan Band perform in the Wildman Studio. Formed by a group of musicians who share a passion for the music of Bob Dylan, their performance captures the spirit of the Rolling Thunder Revue with exciting and dynamic playing and powerful vocals.

The Jon Palmer Acoustic Band returns on Saturday 24th 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.

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


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