Ilkley Playhouse

CAMBRIDGE University, 1896. Women can study, within certain parameters, at one college, but can’t graduate. This is the world of the next Ilkley Playhouse production, Blue Stockings. (The title comes from a derogatory term used for female students.)

It’s a play that explores the overlooked individuals behind a movement. So we meet, among others, Tess Moffat, a curious girl who is interested in the world around her, be it astronomy, books or men… Livy Potter, who plays Tess, was drawn to playing her for just those reasons, and describes her as “intelligent, naive, excitable.” Of the play as a whole, she says: “Blue Stockings is a fantastic ensemble play – fast-paced, funny, shocking and emotional.”

It’s an energetic and lively world full of possibility, this quality is brought to the production, so you really feel and live with the Blue Stockings. Along with Tess you share their passion for learning, their youthful potential, and their frustrations on living in a world where although they can study, because they are women they will never graduate.

The light shined on the individual stories helps us understand the move towards Women’s Suffrage as a whole. After all, what is a mass movement but many individual stories?

It’s an ensemble play with a large cast. Damien O’Keeffe, who plays a character called Mr Banks, describes this ‘actor power’ as really important. As an ensemble, it’s vital to work well together as you trust and rely on one another on stage. This spirit brings the actors together; they have grown to know each other, and this sense of working as a unit transfers to the audience, so they see and feel a complete world on stage.

Returning to Livy and her character of Tess, Livy says: “I can’t wait to share what we’ve created with audiences. I think this play is going to be something really special.”

Blue Stockings will enliven your summer evening on its run from the July 10th to the 20th.

And as at Ilkley Playhouse it’s never just one thing at a time, we finish with a reminder that Friday, July 5th sees The Art of Simon fill the air with the classic music of Simon and Garfunkel. Bryan Thomson and Jeremy Woodhead (sometimes known to local music fans as Jester B) bring us all the magic and beauty of Simon and Garfunkel’s beloved songs.

For tickets and more information about all our productions, please go to

Claire Emmott