Get ready for the debut performance of the Yorkshire Gypsy Swing Collective on Friday, April 5.

Featuring some of the region’s hottest gypsy jazz and swing players, playing music inspired from legendary musicians Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli of the “Quintette du Hot Club de France” and more! Expect fiery solos, foot-stomping rhythms and even some jazz standards to sing along to.

Our next play to open in the Wharfeside Theatre on Thursday, April 11 is Ladies Unleashed, written by Amanda Whittington. Pearl, Jan and Linda set off for a long-awaited break on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. It is definitely not a hen do, as Linda keeps reminding them a week before her wedding. Linda wants a weekend of quiet contemplation but soon finds her best-laid plans derailed. When a surprise visitor turns up, their retreat becomes a reunion, and pretty soon, a riot. The girls haven’t seen Shelley for years but what’s changed? Quite a lot, they discover. Cut off from the mainland, tensions rise. The island becomes restless, with echoes of the past in the cold air. Intertwined in their narrative is a story of two young women, 19th century herring girls, who dream of a better future. Amanda Whittington’s follow up to her smash hits Ladies’ Day and Ladies Down Under is a moving, uplifting comedy about friendship, growing older and seizing the day. Ladies Unleashed runs until Saturday, April 20.

Ilkley Gazette: Ladies UnleashedLadies Unleashed (Image: submitted)

Stagefright Comedy Club returns on Saturday, April 27 when you will be treated to an evening of hilarity from comedians Aaron Simmonds, Phil Pagett, Alex Mitchell, Helen Brooks and Gareth Williams. Aaron Simmonds, who is frontlining the event, is fresh from a solo UK tour. His credits include The Russell Howard Hour, Breaking The News, Guessable and The Stand Up Sketch Show. He has a talent for weaving an overarching story into multiple anecdotes, calling back to them masterfully throughout his performance. Joining him is Birmingham based Phil Pagett who has been performing since 2010 and his act features a heady combination of clever, sharp one-liners and bone-dry observations. In addition to his live work he has written for Mock the Week and BBC Radio 4. Also performing is Helen Brooks who, in her own words, looked to comedy as a way of turning her problems into punch lines. Expect a heady mix of self-depreciation, social commentary and green sequins. She is a comedy writer on BBC Radio 4 ‘The Skewer’ and BBC Scotland ‘Noising Up’. Gareth Williams, another talented comedian joining the line-up, has been described as ‘fabulously confident and instinctively funny’ (Derbyshire Times). He is winner of the Komedia Comedy LaunchPad and ‘wins over audiences with his “Did he really just say that?” humour. Finally, Alex Mitchell ‘brings a breath of fresh air to any comedy night. He has strong material from the start and the crowd instantly warm to him.’ (Lairy Laughs Comedy). What a line-up! The evening will be compered by the fabulously talented Anthony J. Brown.

Join Britain’s leading hot-fingered mandolin virtuoso Simon Mayor, and silver-voiced songstress Hilary James, for an unmissable evening of musical fun on Saturday, May 4. Well-known for the diversity of their repertoire: from folk songs to blues, classical mandolin showstoppers, hot swing fiddle, quirky poems, limericks and comic songs. Simon’s unique brand of off-beat humour and Hilary’s honey-dripping voice and amazing bass mandolin, makes for a hugely entertaining evening.

On May 24 and 25 a new play Bridge, written by Sarah Nelson, comes to Ilkley Playhouse, starring Dean Smith and Tom Gibbons. On a dark night, Jacob stands on a motorway bridge, wrong side of the railings. Liam, an off-duty paramedic happens to walk past. One man whose job it is to save people and one who has come to a moment in his life where he needs to be saved. What follows is an unexpected conversation, a purging of fears and regrets, as they finally open up about what has brought them to this moment and discover whether the time they spent together on the bridge might change them both forever. Bridge is a pitch-black comedy about the fragility of men trying to survive 21st century life. Exploring the pressures and challenges they face, the detrimental effect on their mental health and the power of talking to someone.

The next play to open in the Wildman Studio is Class, written by Iseult Golden and David Horan. Class is the story of a parent-teacher meeting that flies off the rails. An explosive triple confrontation that is funny, heart-breaking and beautifully observed. This award-winning play looks at the plight of teachers on the frontline and the pressures of modern masculinity. There are no answers in this classroom, but plenty of questions, as we explore the uncertain territory where prejudice, damage and failed intentions collide. The play runs from May 13 to 18.

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