OPENING this week, the tense and chilling drama The Incident Room will be performed in the Wharfeside Theatre.

A defining moment in our history will be brought to life on stage, taking us back to the late 1970s. Desks are covered with typewriters, rotary dial phones and female police officers are a novelty. There are cardboard boxes everywhere. For this is Milgarth Police Station, the centre point for the hunt for Peter Sutcliffe. This superbly researched play captures the tensions and failures of the West Yorkshire Police Force to find the serial killer.

Writers Olivia Hirst and David Byrne’s script plunges the audience straight into the hunt for the man that murdered 13 women and injured at least seven more in the north of England. There are so many things that will strike you as you watch the drama unfold, not just the incompetence of the police investigation, but the intense misogyny at the time. The play places women at the centre of the male dominated world in the 1970s, with Sergeant Megan Winterburn as the focus.

Ilkley Gazette: The Incident RoomThe Incident Room (Image: submitted)

Ilkley Playhouse’s run of The Incident Room coincides with the screening of ITV’s The Long Shadow which also revisits that torrid time and puts emphasis not on Sutcliffe but on his victims and tells their very human stories. Like The Long Shadow, in The Incident Room we never see Sutcliffe himself. Instead, the script keeps the action tightly in the intensely claustrophobic incident room at Leeds Milgarth Police Station. Although its subject matter is harrowing, this is a compelling and thoroughly entertaining piece of theatre. Expect an absorbing and emotive play with real heart. The play runs from November 2nd to the 11th.

On Friday, November 17th 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 Comedy Club returns to the Wildman Studio on Saturday, November 18th. 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 On The Side. Joining him is Ant Dewson, a piano playing comedic tour de force with his incessantly hilarious songs and witty asides. Ant has written comedy for BBC Radio 4 and Sky TV. He performs on BBC Radio London and is the co-host of Carpet Martin’s Comedy Market on Riverside Radio. 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.

Opening on Thursday, November 23rd in the Wildman Studio is our second fringe production of the season, Constellations. The play follows a couple – beekeeper Roland and quantum physicist Marianne – through multiple iterations of a love story. A chance meeting at a barbecue leads on to love – or not – depending on the mood, weather and whether Roland has already married or not. Pivotal moments are played and replayed with varying results as the play jumps between potential outcomes. It is a brilliant, playful drama, exploring in physical form the intriguing idea that we might live in a multiverse, with numerous possible paths shooting out from each instant. But it is also moving: we see clearly the lost opportunities, the misunderstandings, the other paths the pair could take. At its heart is the question of choice. For all its fascination with the multiverse, the play ultimately brings us back to focus on the universe we experience. It reflects on love, regret and the split-second decisions that can change a life. Constellations runs until Saturday, November 25th.

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