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What's on at Ilkley Playhouse this spring

Time of My Life opens 21st April at Ilkley Playhouse

With a busy few months ahead, Caroline Mutton takes a look at upcoming events and productions at Ilkley Playhouse.

Time of My Life opens this Thursday 21st April, a play written by one of the most popular and prolific living playwrights, Alan Ayckbourn. When Gerry Stratton plans a family meal out to celebrate his wife Laura’s 54th birthday, and proposes a toast to ‘happy times’, he has no idea of the events that will unfold over the course of that evening. Their elder son Glyn is now back together with his long suffering wife Stefanie, and their younger son Adam has brought along his new girlfriend to meet the Stratton family for the first time. Family skeletons intrude on cheerful domesticity as we get a glimpse into the past, present and future of the Stratton household. Whilst Ayckbourn’s work contains much humour and wit, it has a serious side to it which reflects his keen observation of people. In this play Ayckbourn’s theme is to ask whether we can live in the moment or appreciate the moment when it’s happening. In other words, do we ever know we may be having the time of our life, or can it only be retrospectively judged? Time of My Life is a dark comedy in which Ayckbourn exposes the weaknesses and flaws of family relationships with humour and understanding. The play runs until Saturday 30th April in the Wharfeside Theatre.

From Monday 9th May, the Wildman Studio opens its doors offering audiences an evening of hilarious comedy. Written by Skipton-born Blake Morrison, The Cracked Pot is adapted from Heinrich von Kleist’s German comedy Der Zerbrochene Krug into a Yorkshire dialect version, set in Skipton in 1810. The play concerns 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.

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.

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.

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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