OTLEY Courthouse is looking forward to a varied and action-packed first half of 2019.

The arts venue attracted big names from the worlds of music, drama, comedy, academia and more during 2018.

Its movie and live and recorded screening programme - including major National Theatre Live productions- also proved a hit.

That strong run of big attractions is set to continue this year, starting on Friday, January 11 when British soul jazz and funk saxophonist Snake Davis will take the stage (in front of a sold-out audience) at 8pm.

Other January highlights look set to include The Sounds of Simon: A Tribute to Simon and Garfunkel, on January 19 - which is also sold out - and a performance by acclaimed singer-songwriter Charlie Dore, accompanied by double bass player Gareth Huw Davies, on January 25.

Poet, broadcaster and comedian Ian McMillan and Olympic composer Luke Carver Goss, meanwhile, are set to present ‘a hilarious night of words, music and breath-taking comedy’, featuring songs and stories, on Friday, February 22.

Further February attractions include a talk by historian Kate Williams on Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen; a performance by award-winning contemporary folk band Breabach, and a recorded screening of La Traviata as performed at the Teatro Alla Scala in Milan.

British singer, musician, actress, producer and author Toyah Wilcox will deliver an ‘up close and personal’ acoustic show at the Courthouse on Saturday, March 23.

The show will be a rare chance to see the artist, who shot to fame in the 1980s with hit singles like It’s a Mystery and I Want to Be Free, performing in an intimate setting.

Another big name from the Eighties, Hazel O’Connor, will also be singing at the venue on Sunday, March 31.

The singer will be joined by virtuoso saxophonist Clare Hirst on sax and vocals and Sarah Fisher on keyboards and vocals when she presents Hallelujah Moments - featuring songs from her back catalogue and new album.

Also taking place in March will be two day-time performances of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant, by Soap Soup Theatre and Tessa Bide.

Featuring puppetry and ‘a sprinkling of theatre magic’, the family-friendly production is especially suitable for children up to seven years old.

Comedy will take centre stage in April when Paul Mayhew-Archer, the award-winning co-writer of The Vicar of Dibley, brings his debut stand-up show, Incurable Optimist, to Otley. Paul’s show starts at 8pm on Friday, April 26.

The Jon Palmer Acoustic Band, meanwhile, will return to the Courthouse for their third consecutive year when they play on Saturday, April 13.

May will see Edgelarks - folk musicians Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin - bringing their new album of ‘bright songs for dark times’, Feather, to town on Wednesday, May 22.

And Comedian Andrew Maxwell will bring his Edinburgh Fringe hit, Showtime (a ‘memorable cocktail of personal stories, astute political observations and the odd surprise foray into character cameos’) to the Courthouse on Friday, May 10.

Actor, author, TV celebrity and ex-MP Gyles Brandreth is set to be the big draw in June when he presents Break a Leg on Sunday, June 2.

The show is a celebration of all things theatrical and features some ‘hilarious name dropping’.

Also in June will be a National Theatre Live recorded screening of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, as broadcast from The Old Vic in London and starring Academy Award winner Sally Field and Bill Pullman.

For more details about any of the upcoming events at the Courthouse visit www.otleycourthouse.org.uk or call (01943) 467466.