Ilkley Players Limited is a charitable company trading as Ilkley Playhouse, governed by a Board of Trustees and under the operational management of an Executive Committee.

The Chair is elected for two years by the other members of the board of Trustees. The role is to support and monitor the business of the two committees (TC and Trustees) and lead on Playhouse developments. The Chair provides strategic leadership, ensures the Board operates within its charitable objectives and chairs meetings effectively and efficiently. In addition, the Chair is responsible for encouraging positive change, fostering the right balance of skills within the Board and, if necessary, resolving conflicts if or when they may arise. The tenure of office, initially for two years, can be extended if the Board so decides.



  Dick Hebbert

  Chair of the Board of Trustees

I have been active at Ilkley Playhouse since arriving here under the tutelage of David Wildman from Ilkley Grammar School in 1975 to play my first Playhouse role in our first Minack production - Shakespeare's 'The Winter's Tale'.  Over the years since then I have performed many times on the Ilkley stage and, in more recent times, have also directed for the theatre.

My activism has not however been confined to performing and directing; I spent two terms on the old Theatre Committee - one as the Chair and when the administration of the Playhouse separated into the then Executive Theatre Committee (we have recently dropped the 'Executive) to look after the day to day running of the theatre and a Board of Trustees to deal with its strategic running as a new charity, I became the first Chair of the Board of Trustees.  I also spent two years as the Playhouse President, giving up the role to take up a position on the Board of Trustees of which I am once again Chair.  I have also spent time on the reading and casting committees, I have taught in Andrew Leggott's adult Greenroom classes, I have stage managed, prompted, designed and built sets, worked Front of House, played musical instruments and have (admittedly, some time ago) represented Ilkley Playhouse at Little Theatre Guild events.  

Of course the Playhouse has become a very different place to what it was in 1975 - we now have professional and paid staff and we open our theatre to all kinds of acts and events and this all brings new challenges for us.  But we still rely on our members who volunteer in their numbers to do what they do at the Playhouse for no other reason than that they love doing it.  For me, making decisions with the other trustees, it is important that I have a connection, rooted in years of hands-on experience, with everyone working to make Ilkley Playhouse what it is - and, for the two years of my term of office, it is my pleasure to serve the theatre I have loved for so long in working hard to ensure that our organisation lives up to its charitable objectives and to provide the best in amateur theatre and visiting entertainment for its members, its staff, its visiting acts and events, its audience and the community in which we live.


Steve Mason

Trustee and Secretary

I have had the pleasure of being involved at the Playhouse for many years, having followed the lead of my children Fiona, Ali and Nikki (and not the other way round!). I have been a member of and secretary to the (now) Theatre Committee in a number of spells, as well as having been a regular member of the Play Selection Committee. I am convenor of the Fringe Committee and of the Diversity Working Party, and am proud of the contribution which both make to the future of the Playhouse, as well as – in the former case – the quality, range and entertainment value of Fringe Productions.

I have had the privilege of directing quite a number of plays in both our auditoria, which I absolutely love doing.

Outside of Ilkley Playhouse, I am also on the Board of Pilot Theatre Ltd, based in York, and I work as a solicitor, doing my best to keep the travel industry out of trouble.


  Bruce Piper


I am a qualified Chartered accountant having spent the majority of my career in industry working as a Finance/Commercial Director in various roles for a multi-national Packaging company. I retired in May 2016 and now combine the general joys of retirement with voluntary work at the Playhouse and the Princes Trust.

My role at the Playhouse is to oversee all financial and commercial activities working closely with the Theatre and Finance managers. I have lived in Ilkley and the surrounding area for most of my life and have been interested in all forms of art for a number of years. Retirement has enabled me to pursue these interests further whilst utilising my financial experience.


Barney Lerner

Community Trustee

I became a trustee in 2022, responding to a call for a trustee with environmental interests.  I have been an occasional attender at plays at the Playhouse, but have more often been in the Playhouse for events organised by others such as the Film Society, U3A and the Literature Festival.

My career has all been related to environmental engineering, starting in a predecessor of the Environment Agency and finishing as Professor of Environmental Engineering at Sheffield University.  My teaching and research were about water, pollution of land and water, and latterly about urban rivers.  I am currently chair of the Friends of Bradford's Becks and a trustee of the Aire Rivers Trust.  I hope to help the Playhouse reduce its impact on the climate and environment while still making a big impact on the cultural scene in Ilkley.



Chris Winstanley

Member Trustee

Unlike my other Trustee board colleagues, I am a relative “newbie” to Ilkley Playhouse having only become a member in June 2021. But not wanting to let the grass grow under my feet I have since appeared on stage twice, directed once and have served as a member of the play reading committee who have put together the 2023-24 season. But as a newcomer I hope to bring a fresh perspective to the development of the theatre and the challenges we face in the years ahead.

I have been involved in community theatre for over 30 years acting and directing and doing most jobs in between during those years. I have always got so much from the collegiate nature of being a member of a drama group and therefore always feel I want to put something back. I have served on the committees running for three groups and my most recent contribution was servicing as President of The Algarveans Experimental Theatre Group in Portugal. I was a member of the group for over 15 years and during my time leading the group we vastly increased the membership, put on more productions per year and negotiated a deal with the local council to become the producer of our productions and thus guarantee financial stability for the group for a number of years.

My work life has seen me have a successful career at senior levels in a number of UK businesses in the retail and childcare sector until my wife and I decided to have a complete life change in our 40s and run our own business in Portugal selling outdoor living products. We still own and run the company but the lure of grandchildren and the beautiful Yorkshire weather (!) has tempted us back to live in Bramhope.

I really hope the trustees and myself work closely with all areas of the Ilkley Playhouse family to create a vision and strategic direction which builds on the past success of this wonderful and unique community theatre.