Ilkley Playhouse is a busy place this week with weekly courses starting in art, poetry and fiction and the opening play of the Autumn/Winter season, Home I’m Darling.

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.

Opening this Thursday 14th September is Laura Wade’s dark comedy Home, I’m Darling. The title comes from reversing the clichéd phrase “darling, I’m home!’ that has become synonymous with the image of a 1950s husband returning from a day at the office to a dutiful wife and a blissfully happy domestic set-up. Laura Wade has cleverly used that opening situation to question whether the image of domestic bliss that is so often presented to us from that era was really everything it appeared to be on the surface. Judy seems to be nailing the role of domestic goddess. Although she lives in the 21st Century, she is obsessed with the 1950s and has decked out her house, her wardrobe and her lifestyle accordingly. She prides herself on being the perfect little housewife to her husband Johnny. While her friends approve of the vintage attire, Judy’s mother can’t comprehend the blind nostalgia, scathingly stating “the 50s didn’t even look like this in the 50s, you’re living in a cartoon…being nostalgic when you weren’t even there.” What begins as a spot of role play starts to signify something altogether darker. An award-winning comedy that’s ‘very well put together, with full-bodied characters, sub-plots and back stories, plenty of amusingly astute lines and a good slug of social commentary.’(Time Out). The play was first staged at the National Theatre in 2018, winning the Olivier award for Best New Comedy, and was nominated for the UK Theatre’s Best New Play. 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. Theatre has the ability to inform and educate and this play does just that. This is a fast-paced, topical play that will be relatable for many young girls. When a naked photo of Scarlett circulates around a school and goes viral, she becomes the centre of attention – but for all the wrong reasons. While rumours spread across smartphones like wildfire, the battle lines are drawn. It is girl against girl and everyone forms an opinion. Her reputation becomes toxic, threatening to shatter the friendships she has grown up with. But how long can Scarlett remain silent? This is an urgent and explosive play that explores body image, cyber-bullying, gender equality, modern female friendship and the pressures on today’s digital generation. Girls Like That was named Best Play for Young Audiences at the 2015 Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards. “Placey’s eye-opening, often uncomfortably honest play deserves to be widely seen by teenage audiences. And by their parents too.” (The Guardian). This play is perfect for anyone who is involved with secondary education; for teachers, teenagers and parents who are looking to tackle a contemporary subject in a theatrically exciting way.

On Friday 17th November Roisin Ban return to Ilkley Playhouse following a sell-out show last year. Meaning White Rose in Gaelic, Roisin Ban is a Celtic folk trio playing a mix of mainly traditional Irish and Scottish folk songs and tunes. This accomplished, professional band is well respected on the UK folk scene, having performed at numerous folk festivals in the UK, including their annual fixture at the Whitby Folk Week where they play for the set dance night as well as other concerts. Join this talented trio for an evening of lively Celtic folk music and song. The bar will be open from 7pm, the performance starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are £10.

Stagefright returns to the Wildman Studio on Friday 18th November. Frontlining this event is Stephen Bailey described as ‘a superstar in the making’ (British Comedy Guide) and ‘charming, sassy and very funny’. He is a star of Live at The Apollo and host of Celebs on The Farm. He was tour support for comedian Katherine Ryan and has starred in Roast Battle, Celebrity Coach Trip, Zoe Ball On Sunday, Safeword, Celebability and Big Brother's Bit OnThe Side. Joining him is New Zealand native Sully O’Sullivan who has performed professionally all over the world from Ohio to Oman. He has supported Tim Vine and Steve Hughes on UK theatre tours and is a four season veteran of New Zealand’s award winning TV stand-up showcase Pulp Comedy. He has been nominated for the Kiwi Comedy Industry's supreme award by the NZ Comedy Trust and by his fellow performers for the title of NZ's Best MC. Also performing is Welsh comic Vix Leyton. Discovered by Mark Watson on Twitter in 2019, she is an affable and ebullient storyteller with a keen eye for observation. Her panel show podcast 'The Comedy Arcade' is both an audio success and compelling live show. She picked up a nomination for Leicester Comedy's best podcast in 2021 and is racking up sell-out shows at Edinburgh Fringe. Helen Rice will also be performing on the night. Helen has been Showing Off at various venues around Yorkshire and the Midlands for the past four years and within her home city of Sheffield she has developed something of a cult following. She writes quirky songs and poems exploring a broad range of themes and reflecting on her experiences as a middle-aged disabled woman who ‘likes bread a bit too much’. She plays the accordion, keyboard and guitar in her own ‘unique, lo-fi style’. Her work is hard to categorise but usually results in equal amounts of amusement, bemusement and general musement. Northern comic Ben Silver will be joining this line-up of talented comedians. He will deliver tales of the human spirit through an absurd kaleidoscope of impressions, mis-directions and sprawling vignettes. The evening will be compered by the fabulous Anthony J Brown.

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