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What's coming up at Ilkley Playhouse

Starting a busy few weeks of events, The Cracked Pot opens on 9th May in the Wildman Studio at Ilkley Playhouse.

Local playwright Blake Morrison has taken a polite old German comedy ‘Der Zerbrochene Krug’, shoved it into his Yorkshire home town of Skipton and rendered it in flavoursome Yorkshire dialect to make marvellous comic mayhem. The play is set in 1810 and concerns the lusty and corrupt Judge Adam, Skipton’s sole agent of justice, who is far from happy to be visited by the magistrate Walter Clegg, seeking out signs of malpractice. The trial that Walter oversees seems uncomplicated at first – the formidable Martha is suing her daughter’s fiancé Leslie, for breaking her jug. However, many family grievances are unearthed and discovering the identity of a mysterious man seen with the daughter becomes crucial to the case. The play runs until Saturday 14th May.

Ilkley Playhouse is hosting a six-week History of Modern Art course with Dr Simon Marginson starting on Wednesday 11th May. The course introduces the history of modern art and addresses some of the major figures in twentieth-century British art and beyond. Each session offers an introduction to an aspect of modern art and will address specific themes, contexts, and artists. Although concentrating on the period c.1910-1970, the course will also look backwards to antiquity and forward to contemporary art practice. Topics covered include Abstraction and the English Landscape; Modern Classicism; Surrealism Beyond Borders; The Art of War; and Seeing Stars: Art, Science and Space. The sessions will typically consist of two halves: the first giving a broader overview of the topic; the second a more in-depth discussion of a particular issue or artist’s work. The course takes place each Wednesday, finishing on Wednesday 22nd June.

On Friday 27th May Brotherhood of Troubadours perform at Ilkley Playhouse for the first time. Three acclaimed singer/songwriters share the stage; Nick Hall, Jon Palmer and Baz Warne (lead singer and guitarist in rock band The Stranglers). Each has an established pedigree of performing solo and with bands. When they share the stage to sing their own songs, a kind of magic happens which doesn't occur in a solo performance. Spontaneous backing vocals and accompaniment break forth, as well as a fair amount of banter and anecdotes, and possibly a rousing, foot-stomping ensemble number at the end. Brotherhood of Troubadours is not a band. It's possibly a 'music collective', definitely a 'Song Writer’s Circle'. It's certainly a great way to experience their music.

Our next Stagefright Comedy Club is on Saturday 28th May frontlined by Steve Royle and Masai Graham. Steve Royle was Britain’s Got Talent runner up in 2020. David Walliams described Steve’s act as ‘one of the funniest performances I’ve ever seen’. Steve’s vast array of TV credits include Phoenix Nights, Sunday Night At The Palladium, Max And Paddy’s Road To Nowhere, Peter Kay’s Britain’s Got The Pop Factor, Lorraine and Stand-up Britain. He was voted Entertainer of the Year at the inaugural Red Rose awards and has been described by Peter Kay as ‘a brilliant comedian’. Masai Graham received the Winner of the Funniest Joke of the Edinburgh Fringe Award and is the former UK Pun Championship winner (under his pseudonym General Punochet). In an average set he delivers over one hundred jokes in just half an hour. Expect puns, one liners and dizzying wordplay in this 3.3 laughs per minute bonanza. Joining them is Abigail Rolling who has a commanding stage presence with a reassuringly twisted take on life's roulette. She has been described as ‘a misanthropic delight’ by Comedy Review. Daniel Lythe will also take to the stage. He has ‘a natural voice for comedy with beautiful punchlines that take a dark twist’ (Laughienda Comedy). All this will be wonderfully compered by the talented Anthony J Brown.

Looking ahead to June, The 309s bring their special brand of swing dance music to the Wildman Studio on Saturday 4th June. The band play songs from the 1940s and 50s alongside a great bunch of self-penned material that sounds like it was written sixty years ago. Fronted by two top singers and a wild fiddle player, the band put a smile on everybody's face with toe tapping rocking and rolling rhythms. Please note that this is a seated event with some limited space to dance.

On Thursday 7th June Singin’ in the Rain opens in the Wharfeside Theatre. This classic musical is guaranteed to lift your spirits and send you dancing round Ilkley with an inane grin of pleasure on your face. The show’s success is all the more startling because, although the famous 1952 Metro Goldwyn-Mayer movie is perhaps the greatest and most beloved of all big screen musicals, this stage version takes off in startling and delightful new directions of its own through broad buoyant humour and a delightfully tuneful score.

For details of all our plays and events and to book tickets visit www.ilkleyplayhouse.co.uk or contact Ilkley Playhouse box office on 01943 609539.

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