Jessica Swale’s raunchy, vibrant and exhilarating play Nell Gwynn is in its second week in the Wharfeside Theatre and over the past week Ilkley Players has been entertaining audiences with Swale’s vibrant take on the heady world of Restoration theatre.

King Charles ll has exploded onto the scene after the austerity of Cromwell’s regime. With the King’s love of all things loud, extravagant and sexy, the stage is set for a confrontation between King and commoner which becomes the stuff of legend. Nell Gwynn charts the rise of an unlikely feminist heroine from her roots in Coal Yard Alley to her success as Britain’s most celebrated actress, and her hard-won place in the heart of the King. But at a time when women are considered second class citizens, can her charm and spirit protect her from the dangers of the court? Nell Gwynn is a feisty actress with a warm wit. She brought women onto the stage and almost single-handedly changed the face of theatre. This is a high-energy production crammed with music, singing and dancing. The play runs until Saturday 29th April.

Our next Wildman Studio production opening on Monday 8th May is A History of Falling Things by the acclaimed playwright James Graham. This heart-warming play is a beautifully realised comedy about love, human interaction, fear, modern technology, frustrated parents and the fear of falling things. Robin believes things fall from the sky: fish, boots and satellites and is restricted to living indoors. He believes he is alone until he meets Jacqui online and realises they share an uncommon fear. The two young keraunothetophobes embark on a relationship, despite the fact that they are too scared to leave the safety of their own homes. They are both forced to confront their fear and discover what’s real in their lives and what really matters. Whilst the play is a story of boy-meets-girl, it’s more than that. It’s about families, plans that don’t always go as expected, the kindness of strangers and the courage to reach out to someone you barely know. Expect to see a gentle love story that is fearful, funny and very moving. 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.

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 www.ilkleyplayhouse.co.uk or contact Ilkley Playhouse box office on 01943 609539.