ILKLEY Playhouse President Roger Davy welcomed over 100 representatives of local charities, organisations and schools to the Playhouse this week for a Gala Preview of Eden End.

The play by J. B. Priestley launches the Playhouse’s new season and the Gala Evening is a small way of saying “thank you” to local charities, community groups and organisations.

Mary Amber, who performed in the Playhouse’s last production of Eden End in 1950, was presented with a bouquet during the interval in recognition of her long and distinguished contribution to the Playhouse and its work.

Also in attendance were Cllrs Kate Butler and Stephen Butler, chairman of Ilkley Parish Council. Cllr Butler, quoting the character of Charlie in Eden End, said it was a very good evening with “social harmony and innocent mirth!” all brought about by the many dedicated volunteers at Ilkey Playhouse.

The audience arrived for a drinks reception, serenaded by musicians Darren Dutson-Bromley and Jenni Molley, while the sumptuous set drew the audience back to the Edwardian era.

The Gala evening was also an opportunity to welcome new Theatre Manager Justine Sowden to the Playhouse. Justine has previously worked in television production, notably as a producer and director, making award-winning programmes for ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Discovery and Animal Planet.

A resident of Ilkley, both her daughters have attended the Playhouses’ Greenroom drama training, making Justine and her family no stranger to the Playhouse and its productions!