Ilkley Playhouse

THE Widdington sisters are preparing to welcome audiences into the Wharfeside Theatre at Ilkley Playhouse from March 5th in Shaun McKenna’s Ladies in Lavender.

The play was adapted by McKenna from the screenplay directed by Charles Dance, starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. The British Theatre Guide describe McKenna’s adaptation as skilful and sympathetic “ giving us a stage play equally, if not more, moving than the film. This tender, beautiful and emotionally moving play will stay with you for a long time.” The play centres around two spinster sisters in their lavender years whose quiet, undemanding lives are interrupted by the discovery of Andrea, a young Polish violinist who has been washed ashore on a Cornish beach near their home. The scene is then set for heartbreak as the intrusion of this man upsets the equilibrium of the sisters’ lives. It leads them on a journey of self- discovery, of what has happened in their lives, what they’ve had and what they will never have. Expect no bells or whistles; this is good, old fashioned, heart-warming drama that will give our audiences a night of pure indulgence peppered with laughter.

The Wildman Studio is also busy with the first of our fringe productions We’re Not Going Back. Fringe events are always popular with directors, taking a fresh approach to materials and techniques. This play is no exception. Based on the miners’ strike in Yorkshire, this hard-hitting, impactful play celebrates the power of community and ordinary people resisting a government intent on destruction. Only on for 3 nights from the 27th to the 29th February, make sure you bag the last few remaining tickets soon!

Also performing in the Wildman Studio is local band, the Two Rivers Swing Band. They will be ‘letting the good times roll’ on Saturday 21st March. Directed by trumpeter and jazz arranger Trevor Vincent, their performance will include a mix of big band and rock ’n roll favourites and well known numbers by the great band leaders Glenn Miller, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Expect sparkling vocals, tight ensemble playing and exciting solos. Please note that this is a seated event with limited dancing space.

Set design has a huge influence on an audience’s experience of a play and at Ilkley Playhouse we have a great reputation for building high quality, impactful and imaginative sets. Each year we stage around eight plays in our Wharfeside theatre and we have a wonderful team of backstage magicians that help us to achieve this. But we need more people to help design the sets. So if you fancy having a go and would like more information about the process of set designing at Ilkley Playhouse, you can visit and click on volunteering opportunities, Ilkley Playhouse, set design. Alternatively you can contact David Keighley at We hope you can join our team!

Tickets for Ladies in Lavender and all productions and events at Ilkley Playhouse can be bought online at www.ilkleyplayhouse or by calling 01943 609539 during Box Office opening hours.

Caroline Mutton