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What's on at Ilkley Playhouse

Bridge comes to Ilkley Playhouse this weekend

Caroline Mutton takes a look at the upcoming shows and events at Ilkley Playhouse.

This Friday and Saturday, 24th and 25th May, Bridge, written by Sarah Nelson, comes to Ilkley Playhouse, starring Dean Smith and Tom Gibbons.  On a dark night, Jacob stands on a motorway bridge, the wrong side of the railings. Liam, an off-duty paramedic happens to walk past. One man whose job it is to save people and one who has come to a moment in his life where he needs to be saved. What follows is an unexpected conversation, a purging of fears and regrets, as they finally open up about what has brought them to this moment and discover whether the time they spent together on the bridge might change them both forever. The last decade has seen a growing conversation about men’s mental health, and an awareness that the power of men talking about how they feel can and does save lives. Yet still in 2022 suicide was the biggest killer of men under 50. Bridge is a pitch-black comedy about the fragility of men trying to survive 21st century life. The play explores the pressures and challenges they face, the detrimental effect on their mental health and the power of talking to someone.

Back by popular demand on Friday 31st May is Celtic rock folk band Gaelforce. The band was voted winner of the Great British Folk Festival Introducing Stage in January 2023 by public vote, to an audience of three thousand people. Since winning the GBFF, Gaelforce has been selling out ticketed gigs in Yorkshire & beyond, attracting plenty of interest from folk and rock festivals.

Country rock band Laurel Canyon Union returns to the Wildman Studio on Saturday 8th June. Formed in the summer of 2015 by US Grammy Nominated, ex Acoustic Alchemy drummer John Shepard, this union of fully professional, experienced musicians take their inspiration from the late 1960s/early 1970s American West Coast singer song writer era, playing well-known songs from artists such as Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Eagles, The Byrds and James Taylor.

On Friday 14th June Chris Bannister will be performing the music of John Denver including Annie’s Song, Take Me Home Country Roads, Calypso and Leaving On A Jet Plane. Chris’ distinctive vocal style has always led to him being compared to the great American singer, but from the very start he was determined not to copy the visual aspect of John’s performances but to maintain his own identity. He has played to sold out audiences across Europe and is recognised as one of the best performers of John Denver’s music across the world.

Stagefright Comedy Club returns to Ilkley Playhouse on Saturday 15th June. The evening will be frontlined by Justin Moorhouse where he will be previewing his Edinburgh Festival show ‘The Greatest Performance Of My Life.’ Justin played Young Kenny with the tiger-striped face on Phoenix Nights, he has performed at Live At The Apollo, in 8 Out of 10 Cats, QI, Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, Dave's One Night Stand, Coronation Street and his own acclaimed Radio 4 show Everyone Quite Likes Justin. Jimmy Carr describes him as 'easily my favourite comedian’. Joining him on the night is Karl Porter. Karl’s slow motion goal celebration routine went globally viral. He is a brilliant, natural born gagster hailing from the North West of England. You can’t help but love his cheeky and unique self -deprecation, laced with tall tales and hilarious observations. ‘Jaw droppingly good physical comedy’ (BBC online). Also performing is Sunny Shine. 'His DIY routine was very good and Sunny built up the momentum....he closed his performance on a high' (Notts Comedy Review). This will all be brilliantly compered by Anthony J Brown who has ‘more stings in the tail than a scorpion with a migraine' (Leeds Guide).

Our next Wharfeside Theatre production Glorious! opens on Thursday 20th June. The play is based on the final years of Florence Foster Jenkins, known for having one of the worst singing voices in history. She made recordings and regularly presented recitals to packed audiences who were forced to stifle their laughter. Set in 1940s New York, Florence leads an eccentric life alongside her actor boyfriend St Clair, her dotty friend Dorothy and her volatile maid Maria. Joining her inner circle is a young pianist Cosme McMoon, who must overcome his initial shock and horror in order to play for her. But in time, he grows to love Florence – for her spirit, her humour and her determination to live out her dreams against all odds. The play ends with her triumphant, hilarious and legendary final concert at Carnegie Hall. This fascinating true story blends history, humour and heart-warming pathos in perfect harmony. The play runs until Saturday 29th June.

To book tickets for all our plays and events visit www.ilkleyplayhouse.co.uk or contact Ilkley Playhouse box office on 01943 609539.

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