THE Vicar of Dibley has been incredibly well-received in the Wharfeside Theatre this past week, providing audiences with some light relief amidst the pre-Christmas busyness.

There are just a few tickets remaining for the relaxed performance on Saturday 16th December. The play will be slightly adapted - the sound will be turned down a little and the theatre lights turned up. A relaxed performance always includes a relaxed attitude to noise and movement (voluntary and involuntary) in the auditorium. There will be a special ‘quiet’, safe and supervised zone for anyone who might feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed at any point in the performance.

A 10-week poetry and short fiction course starts at Ilkley Playhouse on Thursday 11th January. 1917 was a tumultuous year: a Great War with no end in sight, a bleak cold winter, air raids over London, rain, mud, revolution. Remarkable literature also appeared in 1917, including poems and short stories by pioneering figures like TS Eliot, DH Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, WB Yeats, Siegfried Sassoon, Edmund Blunden, Amy Lowell, among others. Course tutor Dr Robert Hemmings has been teaching, researching, and writing about literature and culture for more than 25 years. He has a special interest in lifelong learning and is very pleased to have the opportunity to read and discuss poetry and other cultural texts at Ilkley Playhouse. The sessions run from 10.30am till 12pm in the Sheridan Suite. The course is £75 for 10 weeks.

Ilkley Gazette: The HauntingThe Haunting (Image: Ilkley Playhouse)

Opening in the Wharfeside Theatre on Thursday 18th January is The Haunting, adapted for the stage by Hugh Janes from the ghost stories of Charles Dickens. In terms of ghost stories it doesn’t get more traditional than this. Set in a bygone mansion surrounded by desolate moorland, we are introduced to young book dealer David Filde. Employed by Lord Gray to catalogue his father’s extensive and mysterious library of books, the two men immediately clash in character as Filde delves in the supernatural while the stern Lord Gray is led by what he deems to be entirely logical explanations. As the narrative unfolds it becomes apparent that all is not what it seems, not only with the eerie environment drenched with paranormal activity, but it also turns out that this meeting between the two protagonists is far from a coincidence, as the pair begin to reveal deeper secrets about themselves. The Haunting runs until Saturday 27th January.

If you have ever thought about reading Proust but worried about feeling overwhelmed and intimidated, then this five-week course is just for you. It takes place in a friendly, supportive and encouraging environment where along with Dr Robert Hemmings, you will work through Swann’s Way - the first volume of In Search of Lost Time. Sessions will take place every two weeks from 1pm till 2.30pm starting on Thursday 25th January. The course is £40 for five weeks.

Stagefright Comedy Club returns to Ilkley Playhouse on Saturday 3rd February. The evening will be frontlined by Gavin Webster. Voted ‘Comedian’s Comedian’ in a national poll of his fellow stand-ups, his long list of media credits include Never Mind the Buzzcocks, The Stand-Up Show, Edinburgh Nights, Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or-winning I, Daniel Blake and the Radio 4 sketch show The Show What You Wrote. Joining him is Tom Little, Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year and Edinburgh Festival award nominee. The utterly inventive Tom is a former BBC New Comedy Award finalist with his gut-wrenchingly insightful material and hilariously awkward delivery. His web series Don’t Overthink It has been recently nominated for four awards at the esteemed NYC Web Fest. Also performing is Melina Fiol, one of the fastest rising new acts emerging from the Northwest comedy scene today. Her sharp wit, confident delivery and relatable self-awareness has been disarming audiences across the UK. Beat the Frog winner Kie Carson will also be on stage, a charismatic and endearing performer with thought provoking material. The evening will be compered by the talented Anthony J Brown.

Our final production of the Autumn/Winter season, opening on Tuesday 13th February, is Things I Know to be True, performed in the Wildman Studio. Bob and Fran Price have four adult children, each with their own unique struggles and secrets that that they want to hide. As they try to redefine themselves separately from the hopes and dreams of their parents, Bob and Fran must redefine their relationships with their children and with each other. Funny, poignant and heart breaking, this play explores the dynamics of a family and how they understand truth in the face of tragedy. ‘An intricate, inventive study of family life. Genuinely beautiful’ (The Evening Standard). The play runs until Saturday 17th February.

On Friday 23rd February The Rob Dylan Band perform in the Wildman Studio. Formed by a group of musicians who share a passion for the music of Bob Dylan, their performance captures the spirit of the Rolling Thunder Revue with exciting and dynamic playing and powerful vocals.

The following night, on Saturday 24th February, The Jon Palmer Acoustic Band returns to Ilkley Playhouse. Based in Otley, this high energy, folk, roots and rock and roll band is best described as “exploding out of the same box as The Pogues, The Saw Doctors and The Waterboys.” They have a great reputation for finishing off the night in a joyful, energetic and chorus filled way.

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