THE Ilkley Playhouse’s new season opens next week with the beautiful and poignant family drama Eden End, by Bradford’s own J.B.Priestly.

Eden End is a lesser-known Priestly work, but one for whom the playwright held a special paternal affection, perhaps because it explores a time of great significance to Priestly and his world. Written in 1934, it’s set in October 1912, allowing the author and audience to add a layers of significance that transcend the events explored in the play.

Himself gassed and wounded in France in the war, Priestly deftly includes themes of foreshadowing, the sense of calm before the storm implied by the play’s title both painful and poignant. It evokes a simple and innocent time in a lovingly drawn portrait of domestic life, tinted by the audience’s shared knowledge of what is to come.

The story centres around the family of Dr Kirby, a widower in the North of England. His daughter abruptly returns home several years after leaving with high hopes of a successful stage career. This allows space for some grand, perhaps universal themes – fulfilment, change, disappointment – to be explored in a familiar, domestic setting to which the audience, even a century later, can easily relate.

Eden End is brought to the stage through the expert directorial hand of Andrew Leggott. The Playhouse are honoured that this special production is sponsored by The Priestley Society.

Ilkley Playhouse will continue with our World War One commemorations later in the season, when the Playhouse presents Journey’s End by R. C. Sherriff.

Finally, this week sees the staging of My Night with Reg in the Playhouse’s Wildman Studio. It’s your lucky night too, if you managed to get tickets for this gripping, funny, heartfelt (and have we said funny?) play. If not, there may be some returns available on the door, so if you are able to get down to the Playhouse on September 7th, 8th or 9th you may still be able to join the party.

My Night With Reg is on September 7 to 9. The new season launches with Eden End by J.B.Priestley September 13-23.

To book tickets for any of our productions, please visit or phone the box office on 01943 609539. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest news and backstage gossip!

by Claire Emmott