WHILE Ilkley Playhouse is brimming and bustling with books and authors from the Ilkley Literature Festival, behind the scenes, preparations are being made for our next production Barnbow Canaries, from the pen of author and ex-Chumbawamba singer Alice Nutter.

And if that doesn’t sound intriguing enough, read on…

Barnbow Canaries, based on a true story, tells the tale of a group of munition workers at Leeds’ secret Barnbow Factory during the First World War: already, we have history, society, political upheaval, and a touch of mysterious war work.

Munitions work was a hazardous occupation, so the danger and drama here is palpable. The women were relatively well-paid – effectively, danger money – which provided a possible escape route out of then-prevailing domestic servitude.

While this work brought new-found independence, along with new friendships and of course much-needed income, still, inequality and danger were never distant.

The play respectfully acknowledges the serious story at the heart of the action and balances this deftly with humour, allowing space for personalities to shine through. Set to the backdrop of Great War-era songs and music, it brings a fascinating period of recent history vividly to life. Barnbow Canaries is a beautiful story, full of heart and female solidarity; a true story that will make you laugh, cry and think.

Look out for our next Stagefright comedy night, returning on Saturday, October 20. This month’s line-up includes Mock The Week’s Glenn Moore and English Comedian of the year runner-up Simon Lomas. Other acts include Gemma Roberts, Mo Haroon, and compere Anthony J Brown.

The Guiseley Brothers and Otley Brass Band will be raising the roof of the Wildman studio and raising money for the Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice and Friends of Clockhouse. Join us for a fantastic evening of live music on Saturday, November 17.

For more information about the season go to ilkleyplayhouse.co.uk. To buy tickets for all events and Barnbow Canaries, you can visit our website at www.ilkleyplayhouse.co.uk, or call the box office on 01943 609539 during box office opening hours.