THE Christmas lights have been switched on, the shop windows are adorned with Christmas scenes and we are starting to feel the nostalgia that emerges at this time of year. At Ilkley Playhouse this Christmas, we can guarantee that those feelings of nostalgia will continue when you reunite with old friends from The Wind in the Willows - Mole, Rat, Badger and Toad. This timeless, English classic is given a festive, musical twist in Alan Bennett’s charming adaptation.

Ever since Kenneth Grahame’s novel was published in 1908, these characterful woodland creatures have delighted generations of readers. Alan Bennett’s adaptation is both true to the original yet it is written with the distinctive flair and humour that we have come to associate with Bennett. It really makes delightful theatre for anyone of any age. We are very fortunate that Inga Moore, who beautifully illustrated Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows in 1996, has kindly given her permission for us to use her illustrations as a backdrop for the set of our production. This is on the back of communication between Inga Moore and our long-standing Playhouse members Roger Davy and his wife Barbara. We thank Inga for allowing us to use her beautiful illustrations which we are sure will add a very special dimension to the play.

The play runs from Wednesday, December 4, to Saturday, December 14, with a relaxed matinee on Saturday, December 14, at 2.30pm. A relaxed performance is perfect for anyone who would welcome a less restrictive atmosphere, such as young families, those taking children to the theatre for the first time and people with autism or dementia. Adaptations include reducing the sound a little to avoid shocks, while the theatre lights remain turned up, along with a relaxed attitude to noise and movement (voluntary and involuntary) in the auditorium.

Continuing the festive theme, our annual Christmas Coffee Morning takes place on Saturday, December 7. Doors open at 9.30am and you can browse our Christmas stalls, have a go at the raffle and enjoy a warm drink and a mince pie whilst mingling with friends. Our junior, senior and adult Greenroom actors will be performing so come along and enjoy the festive cheer.

If you are seeking ideas for Christmas gifts, this one might be just the thing you’ve been looking for! We have a new History of Art course starting in January which will examine the Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern foundations of Western art in their broader historical context. It will focus on works of art, sculpture and architecture from the Bronze Age to Classical Greece; Romanesque and Gothic; the Northern, Florentine and High Renaissance, including Venice. The cost is £65 for 10 weeks bookable in advance, plus a one-off £3 charge payable on the first session for the course handouts. The course takes place on Wednesday mornings from 10.30am till 12 noon starting on January 8.

So come and share the adventures of Toad, Badger, Mole and Rat in our fantastic production of The Wind in the Willows. Tickets are selling fast so get yours soon! For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Caroline Mutton