THE Crompton family are preparing to welcome audiences into the Wharfeside theatre at Ilkley Playhouse from Thursday, March 7 in Bill Naughton’s classic play Spring and Port Wine.

It’s 1950s Bolton and Rafe, father and head of the house, rules the roost with integrity and iron will, while his wife Daisy placates and soothes the rough edges and simmering disagreements. Is this a familiar dynamic? Even if we haven’t witnessed it in our own homes, it’s surely one we’ve come across before, be it in fact or fiction. Add to the mix four children and a marked generation gap and disagreements are surely inevitable.

Trouble finally arrives when a daughter refuses to eat the tea served up; on Rafe’s decree the offending victual is then served for every meal until she succumbs. This seemingly banal incident is the inadvertent spark that threatens to light the keg of resentment.

Naughton, also the author of Alfie so something of a chronicler of changing times, brilliantly explores the issues of authority across the generation gap, and the struggle to balance harmony with rule. The play also explores parenting, gender and patriarchy, in an interesting and highly entertaining way. Is Rafe an unfeeling, unbending tyrant, or a strict but fair man trying to pass on his own morals for the good of the family? Are the children ungrateful, or just asserting themselves? Is Mrs Crompton a doormat or the crucial oil in the complex cogs of the family? Come and see, and decide for yourself.

The Wildman studio is also busy this March. It will be filled with the music of the duo Simon Mayor & Hilary James who will return to us on Sunday 10th March. Simon Mayor is one of the world’s foremost mandolinists, as well as a leading composer for the instrument. He’s also a witty and entertaining presenter and perfectly partners Hilary James, with her divine voice and musical skill. Their musical range encompasses big band jazz, traditional ballads, blues and Berlioz.

Also visiting the Playhouse in March are Laurel Canyon Union, a tribute act not to a specific artist but a whole genre: 1960s and 70s West Coast Americana. Expect plenty of faithful and beautifully performed songs by Neil Young, Jackson Browne, The Eagles, The Byrds, and James Taylor, among many others. It’s a feast of twanging Telecasters, vocal harmonies and counter-cultural Americana. They’ll be supported by award-winning singer/songwriter Nick Hall, fresh from a recent performance at no less a venue than the London Palladium, where he supported Al Stewart. Book now for Friday, March 22.

Tickets for all productions and events can be bought online at, or by calling 01943 609539 during our opening hours.