IT may appear that there has been a lull of sorts at Ilkley Playhouse over the past month but behind the scenes rehearsals have been in full swing for our forthcoming open-air production Bard in the Yard, our first Wharfeside production of the season Home I’m Darling and fringe production Girls Like That opening at the end of September. Rehearsal shots are in!

Over Bank Holiday weekend actors from Ilkley Playhouse will once again be performing the popular Bard in the Yard; this year a half hour version of “Hamlet” directed by Dick Hebbert and a thirty minute adaptation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” directed by Andrew Leggott. Performances will take place at 7.30pm on Saturday 26th August in the Wildman Theatre and at 2pm in the Manor House Yard on Sunday 27th and Monday 28th August. Please note that to book for the Manor House performances, please book via their website If the weather is not suitable for open-air theatre on the Sunday or Monday, we have the option of transferring back to Ilkley Playhouse which is less than five minutes’ walk away. Tickets are great value at just £6!

On Sunday 3rd September there will be a 65-minute video performance of (Circle Dreams Around) The Terrible, Terrible Past performed by the Greenroom students at the Dorfman Theatre, London, on 20th June this year. The video has been produced by the National Theatre. The event will be followed by a short Open Forum about the play and the process leading up to this event. The event is free but we ask that you book your seats in advance. Please note that the advisory age is 14 plus. The screening will take place on the big screen in the Wharfeside Theatre at 7.30pm.

Stagefright Comedy Club returns on Saturday 9th September. The event will be frontlined by Phil Ellis, award-winning comedian who has entertained audiences of all ages with his amalgamation of off-beat observational material and physical comedy. Phil has written and starred in three series of his radio sitcom ‘Phil Ellis is Trying’ on BBC Radio 4 and nominated for Best Scripted Comedy in the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2020. His TV appearances include Roast Battle, The Russell Howard Hour, The Tez Show and Drunk History. Joining him is Jack Carroll, Britain’s Got Talent runner-up, star of Live at the Apollo, QI, Sunday Night at the Palladium and Trollied. David Walliams describes him as “comedy genius”. Also performing is Jenny Laville, Bath New Act Finalist and Beat the Blackout winner. Jenny is a stand-up and comedy writer with credits including The News Quiz and Mock the Week. They will be joined by Edd Jefferson – ‘a tall, thin self-effacing scientist with an infectious line in gently twisted observational humour’. The evening will be brilliantly compered by Anthony Brown.

Ilkley Playhouse is hosting a 6-week History of Modern Art course starting on Wednesday 13th September. This course offers a selective introduction to the history of modern art. Each week examines a major movement in twentieth-century art and addresses specific themes, contexts and artists. Sessions are typically divided into two halves, with the first half offering a general introduction to a particular art movement and the second looking at a specific artist or work. The course tutor is Dr Simon Marginson, an independent art historian and curatorial researcher. He specialises in twentieth century art and has published on various aspects of British and European modernism. Each session starts at 10.30am and finishes at 12pm. The course fee is £42.

Starting on Thursday 14th September Ilkley Playhouse is hosting a 10-week Poetry and Fiction course focusing on the family. In this course a range of short fiction and poetry about the complex relationships produced by families will be discussed. Literature about family is something all of us can relate to in some form or another. Through reading how writers like Mansfield, O’Connor and Munro convey the lives of their families and the imagined lives of others, we can learn more about our own. Each session starts at 10.30am and finishes at 12pm. The cost is £75 for 10 weeks.

Ilkley Gazette: Home, I'm Darling rehearsalsHome, I'm Darling rehearsals (Image: Ilkley Playhouse)

The Autumn/Winter season begins with Laura Wade’s Home, I’m Darling, opening on 14th September. The play follows 38-year old Judy and her husband Johnny, who are three years into an unusual arrangement: they are endeavouring to live perpetually as though they are in the 1950s. After Judy’s redundancy leads her to deciding to become a housewife, what had been her lifestyle – with a 1950s-style house and annual holidays to vintage festival ‘Jivestock’ - becomes her life. Johnny says he is happy with the arrangement as Judy is perfectly, disgracefully happy – but all the while hairline cracks are forming in the nostalgic façade. Insightful, funny and charming, this is an intriguing study of marriage’s reliance on role-play, as well as an original, sometimes unsettling look at the masks people put on in order to conceal their pain. Home I’m Darling premiered at Theatr Clwyd in 2018 before transferring to the National Theatre, London. The play won Best New Comedy at the 2019 Olivier Awards and completed its first National Tour in May this year. Home I’m Darling runs until Saturday 23rd September in the Wharfeside Theatre.

Our first fringe production of the Autumn/Winter season is Evan Placey’s Girls Like That running from Thursday 28th to Saturday 30th September in the Wildman Studio. The play is about girls, boys, feminism, friendship, running with the pack, self-image and online sharing. When a naked picture of Scarlett gets sent around the school in a matter of minutes, the fallout reveals the underlying social dynamic as her peer group react to what’s happened. As the girls (previously Scarlett’s close friends) distance themselves from her, we see their own vulnerabilities and anxieties about self-image and sexuality exposed. It is an engaging and challenging play that explores the pressures on today’s digital generation. Evan Placey says of his play “We need plays for young people in order to ask the questions that no one else is asking. To challenge the world as we think we know it.” The play will appeal particularly to teenagers age 14 and above, to parents, to Drama teachers and those teaching PSHE in secondary schools. Girls Like That was named Best Play for Young Audiences at the 2015 Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards.

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