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What's on at Ilkley Playhouse in 2023

Rehearsals are underway for Guys and Dolls opening 10th January

Caroline Mutton takes a look at what audiences can look forward to at Ilkley Playhouse in 2023.

The cast of Frank Loesser’s musical Guys and Dolls is ready to move their rehearsals from the Wildman Studio to the Wharfeside theatre, excited to open to audiences on Tuesday 10th January.

Guys and Dolls has been described as America’s second best play (the first being Death of a Salesman) and that may not be an exaggeration. This high energy musical is full of the loveliest tunes but it is also full of human psychology about life on the edge and how it turns the ‘down on their luck’ into dreamers. The plot is simple. Two couples are made for each other and seem doomed never to marry. Miss Adelaide, a cute but fierce nightclub singer is engaged to Nathan Detroit, an unreformed liar and commitment phobe. Sky Masterson is Nathan’s old sparring partner, a professional high roller, a ladies’ man who locks eyes with the beautiful Sarah Brown, Sergeant of the Salvation Army. Their dicey courtships take place in a world without heroes or villains. The criminals are kind, the cops are crooked and the Christians are feared. But without exception they are all hustlers. They are a pack of struggling, creaking down-and-outs who make it to salvation despite numerous personal flaws. The musical features some of Broadway’s greatest show-stopping tunes including Luck Be a Lady, Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat and My Time of Day. The backdrop in the Wharfeside Theatre is a jigsaw puzzle of dice, against which our fabulous cast generate all the energy, chaos and romance of the Big Apple, kicking and flicking their way through Ted Oxley-Kirk’s wonderful musical staging and choreography This is a crowd pleaser of a show and might be just what you need in January! Do not miss it! Guys and Dolls runs until Saturday 21st January.

The Rob Dylan Band returns to Ilkley Playhouse on Friday 27th January. 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. It was a sell-out performance the last time they performed at Ilkley Playhouse so book your tickets early!

Stagefright Comedy Club returns on Saturday 28th January. Frontlining this event is Matt Richardson, a brash but self-deprecating, multi award winning comedian, delivering every memorable punchline with an irresistible twinkle. His TV credits include Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Celebrity Juice, Pointless Celebrities, and Dancing on Ice. He also has his own critically acclaimed show on Virgin Radio. Joining him is Masai Graham, twice winner of the Funniest Joke of the Edinburgh Fringe Award and former UK Pun Championship winner. Expect puns, one liners and dizzying wordplay. Also performing is Percy Savage, a middle class Cumbrian with a plethora of inventive and effortlessly rib-tickling perspectives. And Eddy Midgley, an endearing chap in his early twenties making sense of the bizarre world of grown-ups with devastating comedic aplomb. This is all fabulously compered as usual by Anthony J Brown.

Our first Wildman production of the season opens on Tuesday 7th February with Three Mothers, written by Matilda Velevitch. Given what is happening in the world at the moment, this is most certainly a play of our time. Set in present day and post-World War Two, the audience is immersed in the personal lives and dilemmas facing three female characters. We follow the stories of Kardy, Gisella and Erika as they make difficult decisions that despite risking everything they know, might change their lives forever. This is outstanding storytelling. There is pathos, nostalgia and some laughter. You will leave feeling uplifted and inspired.

Following a stunning debut performance at Ilkley Playhouse earlier in the 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.

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


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