Ilkley Playhouse

IN last week’s Ilkley Gazette we were delighted to share with you our programme of plays for season 2020-21 starting in September. At a time of such uncertainty, we hope it brought you some degree of optimism that at some point soon we can open our doors and welcome you to Ilkley Playhouse again. In addition to the ten main productions that we offer you this coming season, Ilkley Playhouse also has plenty of events lined up for you to look forward to and in this week’s article we can tell you all about them.

Back by popular demand following a sell-out show last year, Laurel Canyon Union return on Saturday 30th May. They will perform their tribute to the sounds of 60s/70s LA Cool Californian Country Rock, supported by special guest, singer-songwriter Nick Hall. Rewind with the songs of the Woodstock generation, from the gentle reflection of James Taylor to the rebel fury of Neil Young. Expect a performance of light and shade, love peace and understanding.

After another sell-out show in 2019, Chris Bannister returns to Ilkley Playhouse on Friday 3rd July with his show ‘The Music of John Denver’ for what promises to be a very special evening. He will perform favourites including Sunshine On My Shoulders, Take Me Home Country Roads, Leaving On A Jet Plane and of course Annie’s Song. Unlike other ‘lookalike’ tributes, Chris performs the songs in his own unique way which has brought him widespread acclaim.

Our Stagefright Comedy nights are now a main staple at Ilkley Playhouse, filling the Wildman Studio with laughter on Saturday nights. Over the past few years the club has featured acclaimed comedians such as Joe Lycett, Chris Ramsey, Gary Delaney, Shazia Mirza, Paul Sinha and Justin Moorhouse. The line-up for Saturday 4th July is yet to be confirmed but if you are a fan of comedy clubs, put this date in your diary!

The Art of Simon return to Ilkley Playhouse on Friday 24th July, featuring special guest Graham Hodge. Here is an opportunity to lose yourself in nostalgia as Bryan and Jeremy perform the classic hits of Simon and Garfunkel. The Art of Simon faithfully recreate Paul Simon’s songs including Mrs Robinson, Flowers Never Bend, Rainfall, Homeward Bound and Bridge Over Troubled Water. If you are a lover of contemporary music this is one show not to be missed. This will be an evening filled with joy and memories.

Ilkley Playhouse’s fringe committee has cleverly produced three 30-minute versions of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Twelfth Night and The Taming of the Shrew which will be performed over the summer. The shortened versions will contain the essence of the originals, including all the most well-known bits. This unique collection of plays entitled Bard in the Yard will be performed at Ilkley Playhouse on Saturday 29th August and in the yard at Ilkley Manor House on Monday 31st August. This is a new and exciting project for us and we give special thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund for funding this community project as part of their #CelebrateNationalLottery25.

If you were at last year’s sell-out Soul Train experience in the Wildman, then you’ll be keen to grab a return ticket for Saturday 12th September before it becomes another sell out gig! Soul Train deliver enthusiastic performances of Soul and Motown classics popular to the Stax label of the 60’s and 70’s, tributing legendary artists such as Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, Wilson Pickett Sam and Dave, to name but a few. The line-up features two powerful vocalists, who together deliver an energetic, flamboyant performance with outstanding vocals and stage presence. The band is made up from the finest, seasoned musicians to compile an exceptional line up that features Drums, Bass, Guitar, Trumpet, Tenor, Alto and Baritone Sax, creating a phenomenal authentic sound. This Yorkshire based band are one of Yorkshire’s most sought after authentic Soul Acts in the UK, delivering an outstanding performance that continues to impress audiences with their fantastic renditions of timeless classics. Please note that this is a standing event with limited seating to make space for dancing.

The 309s bring their special brand of swing dance music to the Wildman Studio on Saturday 31st October. The 309s play songs from the 1940s and 50s alongside a great bunch of self-penned material that sounds like it was written 60 years ago. Fronted by two top singers and a wild fiddle player, the band puts a smile on everybody’s face with toe tapping rocking and rolling rhythms.

Back by popular demand, the Rob Dylan Band returns to Ilkley Playhouse on Friday 20th November. 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, dynamic playing and powerful vocals. Jester B is one of this country’s best vocal harmony groups who cover classic American material with great musical skill. From Simon and Garfunkel to the Byrds and the Eagles, their performances have received rave reviews across the country.

Finally, on Saturday 21st November Fire and Rain will raise the roof in the Wildman Studio. This band is not a tribute or sound-a-like act. It’s simply a collection of five of the best musicians from the North of England coming together to play music they love. You can expect the classic James Taylor & Carole King songs played with skill, passion, emotion, humour and humility. Incredibly popular musicians in their own right, Tom Townsend (The Tom Townsend Blues Band) Rich Adams & Mark Gordon (Stony), Paul Tilley and Bob Walker abandon their usual bands and projects for this one-off tour to bring the joy of Taylor & King’s music to you in what they call a ‘magical musical holiday’. The band is delighted that Gracie Falls and Alex Staples will be supporting them on a number of the concerts. Gracie is an award winning singer and songwriter in her own right, and she will be accompanied by the wonderful guitarist Alex Staples. Building upon the success of the last few years, Fire and Rain are delighted to be able to bring this wonderful concert to Ilkley Playhouse in order to celebrate the music of two timeless singer songwriters and performers, in what will be a memorable evening of first class entertainment.

So this coming season, alongside our main plays, there is plenty of musical entertainment to look forward to, with a comedy club and some outdoor Shakespeare on offer too! Until we open our doors again, we wish you the best and we will continue to communicate any changes or updates to you via our website and on our Facebook page.

Caroline Mutton