EACH year ten new plays are commissioned by the National Theatre for their Connections initiative – it’s a project that involves young drama groups from across the country. Ilkley Playhouse is excited to announce that we have been selected as one of the participating companies.

The play chosen, which will be performed by the Playhouse’s Senior Greenroom drama group, is Chaos, by Laura Lomas. Laura was inspired to write a piece of drama about how the world can feel to a young person. The fragmented, contradictory elements of teenage life that led her to the feeling, and title, of Chaos. She describes the play, which builds through numerous short scenes which gradually piece together, as ‘physical, honest and chaotic’. The structure gives the cast freedom to be creative and colourful: the scenes are dislocated yet interconnected, leaving plenty of room for interpretation.

Steering our young talent through the production are Greenroom drama class tutors Andrew Leggott and Lisa Debney. It’s a large, young cast – 22 actors, aged between 12 and 17 – and rehearsals have featured explorations of movement and choreography, as well as alternative elements such as silent drawing and guided meditation.

It’s a vital, fizzing production, and will hit the Wildman Studio from February 28 to March 2 – just three chances to see an interesting and innovative piece of theatre. As part of National Theatre Connections, the cast will also take their production to the York Theatre Royal Studio on May 12.

Readers with any interest in theatre – be it on stage or behind the scenes – are invited to Playhouse’s 2019-20 New Season Launch Night, on Wednesday, February 20 from 7.30pm. It’s free and open to all – new faces are welcome; as a community theatre we enjoy welcoming new people and building on the wonderful opportunities that the Playhouse offers.

It’s a friendly social event, where the new season productions will be revealed and each director explains their vision for their production. You can find out more about how and what you can get involved: on stage, in the many and varied back stage roles, or just general helping out. It’s a friendly and informal atmosphere and the bar’s open.

If you can’t make the launch but are interested in getting involved, contact the office at info@ilkleyplayhouse.co.uk or on 01943 609539.

On the subject of friendly, informal gatherings, there are a few tickets left for out popular Stagefright comedy night on Saturday, February 16.

The line-up includes Sam Avery and Tom Wrigglesworth, familiar names to the comedy minded, and worth investigating if this is your first foray into the stand-up scene. Sam is the bestselling author of the critically acclaimed book Confessions of a Learner Parent. He’s part of the way through a sold-out solo tour of UK theatres, and we’re very lucky to have booked him!

Tom Wrigglesworth may be familiar from Russell Howard’s Good News and Electric Dreams. Tom has a loyal comedy following and regularly sells out comedy circuit venues. Compering will, as usual, be Anthony J. Brown, sporting dapper tailoring and jet-black humour. You’ll be met with a warm welcome, a friendly atmosphere and an open bar. Tickets for Stagefright, Chaos and the rest of the season can be bought online at www.ilkleyplayhouse.co.uk or by calling 01943 609539 during opening hours.

Claire Emmott