A COMEDY award-winners special is coming to Ilkley Playhouse for the next Stagefright comedy night on Saturday, February 16, when comedy aficionados and newcomers alike will be delighted with the line-up. First is Sam Avery; as well as being a comedy award winner, Sam’s the bestselling author of the critically acclaimed book Confessions of a Learner Parent. Sam is currently part of the way through a sold-out solo tour of UK theatres, so we are very fortunate to get him for a date in Ilkley.

Described by Metro as ‘quick-witted and painfully funny,’ Sam’s gift as a storyteller carries through his standup set. His laid-back demeanour and enthusiasm is a perfect fit for our comedy nights where the atmosphere is relaxed and warm: it’s like having comedians in your own living room. Sam is self-deprecating and relatable, finding hilarities in everyday life – his stories grab the audience and keep them laughing all the way through. No slave to the morose, his infectious, upbeat style will lift your spirits and give you plenty of laughs.

Sam will be joined by Tom Wrigglesworth, a name and a face to remember – you may indeed remember him from Russell Howard’s Good News, Edinburgh Comedy Fest and Electric Dreams. He’s also a Sony Award winner for his Radio 4 series Open Letters. A Yorkshire lad, Tom became a national have-a-go hero when he rescued a little old lady from the jaws of Virgin train bureaucracy, only to be arrested for ‘begging’ (he organised a whip-round of fellow passengers to help her pay for her outrageous ticket). His subsequent sell-out show ‘Open Return Letter to Richard Branson’ bagged him a Chortle Award for Best Show and a nomination for the main Edinburgh Festival award.

The evening will be compered as usual by the sartorially immaculate Anthony J Brown, purveyor of understated dark humour, described by the Derbyshire Times as ‘a compelling raconteur and waspish wit’.

If you’re new to Stagefright, you’re in for a treat: the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, the bar is open and laughs flow easily – and all on your doorstep! All acts can be found on Youtube if you want a taste of the laughs you’re in for.

Finally, Chaos is on the horizon at Ilkley Playhouse. Not in the apocalyptic sense, but in the form of a play written for a National Theatre initiative by up-and-coming playwright Laura Lomas. Each year, ten new plays are commissioned by National Theatre Connections, intended for by performance by teenagers for a mainly teen audience. The play itself is a symphony of dislocated and interconnected scenes inspired by chaos theory, with a loose theme of characters searching for meaning in a complicated and unstable world. The production will feature talent from the Playhouse’s own Greenroom drama group, as well as the participation of other local talented teenagers.

Chaos will be performed in the Wildman Studio on Thursday, February 28, Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd of March. Tickets for the Stagefright comedy night, Chaos and the rest of the season can be bought online at www.ilkleyplayhouse.co.uk or by calling 01943 609539 during opening hours. Claire Emmott