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Stephen Joseph Theatre

Stephen Joseph Theatre is a regional producing theatre based in Scarborough which is now under new artistic leadership but still home to the work of Sir Alan Ayckbourn.

The theatre specialises in producing new writing but also presents touring work and delivers an education and rural outreach programme. Main stage work is presented in the round and the company has a strong national and international reputation through toured and reproduced work.

Funding awards

  • 2012-2013: £632,822
  • 2013-2014: £648,010
  • 2014-2015: £665,487

Video feed

ReachOut Festival 2014

A celebration of the creative talent in our community. Come to see a performance, or even better - join in!

"Ayckbourn Ensemble Trailer" @thesjt

One company, two major bittersweet comedies and two frivolous shorts Written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn What secrets lie buried in the past? What hidden tensions lurk beneath the present surface? Time Of My Life The first revival by the author since its premiere in 1992 It is Laura Stratton's birthday and, to celebrate the event, the whole family is gathered for an evening out in their favourite restaurant. The dinner turns out to be a significant moment in all their lives. Arrivals & Departures World premiere production At a London rail terminus an elaborate trap is deployed to capture a dangerous and elusive terrorist. The Strategic Simulated Distractional Operations Unit is ready to pounce. Their witness, garrulous traffic warden, Barry Hawkins and troubled young female soldier Ez Swain, his minder, are on hand. What can possibly go wrong? Farcicals -- a double bill of frivolous comedies World premiere production Chloë With Love Teddy and Lottie's marriage is in difficulty. Cue neighbours Penny and Reggie to the rescue. But who is Chloe? The Kidderminster Affair Will Lottie discover the awful truth about Kidderminster? Will Teddy burn the barbeque?

"SJT Promo Video" @thesjt

Bringing together theatre, film, laughter, great ideas, new writing and life-changing experiences...Get a glimpse into life at the Stephen Joseph Theatre and hear what Alan Ayckbourn, actors and visitors have to say about us in our new video. Thank you to everyone who was involved with and contributed to the making of this video.

"Laughton Trailer" Written by Roger Osborne Directed by Chris Monks @thesjt

The Stephen Joseph Theatre Company in Laughton By Roger Osborne Directed by Chris Monks 17 - 26 October California 1946. Scarborough born Charles Laughton is an internationally renowned movie star and one of the most famous people in America. Weary of the Hollywood merry-go-round, and his reputation for playing film monsters, he is determined to reinvigorate his stage career. Alongside his wife, Elsa Lanchester, (the original 'Bride of Frankenstein') he embarks on a life changing journey which will return him to his native North Yorkshire and enable him to do battle with his personal demons. @thesjt Box Office 01723 370541

Show 21 more videos

"Arrivals & Departures Trailer" Written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn @thesjt

Stephen Joseph Theatre Company in Arrivals & Departures Written & directed by Alan Ayckbourn World Premiere At a London mainline rail terminus an elaborate trap is deployed in an attempt to capture a dangerous and elusive terrorist, codenamed Cerastes. Major Quentin Sexton and his hand-picked SSDO (Strategic Simulated Distractional Operations) Unit are poised, ready to pounce. To assist them, civilian witness Barry Hawkins and Ez Swain, his 'minder', are on hand to confirm final identification. What can possibly go wrong? For the luckless Major quite a lot really, when his key witness turns out to be a garrulous, suspiciously unreliable traffic warden and the minder, a troubled young female soldier with severe attitude problems. On top of which, is Quentin's so-called elite unit really all it's cracked up to be? @thesjt Box Office 01723 370541

"Muddy Cows Trailer" Written and directed by John Godber @thesjt

Stephen Joseph Theatre Company in Muddy Cows Written & directed by John Godber World Premiere Maggie Deakin is planning to step down as coach of the Muddy Cows, a diverse but determined team of female rugby players. But there's one final challenge to face -- the unbeatable New Zealand side, The Black Ferns. Can the Muddy Cows overcome? Or will their own personal conflicts prove their undoing? @thesjt Box Office 01723 370541

"Time Of My Life Trailer" Written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn @thesjt

The Stephen Joseph Theatre Company in Time of My Life Written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn 6 June - 4 October "...that was probably one of the best, the happiest moments of our lives. Only the trouble with those sort of moments is that you seldom ever realise that they are - until they've gone." It is Laura Stratton's birthday and, to celebrate the event, her husband Gerry, their two sons and their partners are gathered for an evening out in the family's favourite restaurant. The dinner turns out to be a significant moment in all their lives with repercussions for years to come. Time Of My Life was first produced in Scarborough in 1992 and presented a year later in the West End at the Vaudeville Theatre. This will be its first major revival directed by the author. @thesjt Box Office 01723 370541

Surprises - Written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn @thesjt

Love stories yet to happen, in a future filled with surprises. For more information visit: "marvellous performances" The Times "delivers serious fun" The Observer "intriguing, and refreshingly different" The Sunday Times "more absorbing than all the Doctor Who time-travel" Mail on Sunday "the master at work...a cast that are universally stunning" Yorkshire Post 6 - 17 November The Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness-on-Windermere 23 January -- 2 February Guildford's Yvonne Arnaud Theatre 4 -- 9 February Theatre Royal Windsor 11 -- 16 February Theatre Royal Bath 18 -- 23 February Oxford Playhouse 26 February -- 2 March Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham 4 -- 9 March Watford Palace Theatre 11 -- 16 March Cambridge Arts Theatre 18 -- 23 March Richmond Theatre

Cinderella (trailer) @thesjt

The Stephen Joseph Theatre Company in Cinderella By Andrew Pollard Directed by Adam Sunderland 27 November - 15 December 2012 Once upon a seashore... Who knew that Cinderella came from Scarborough? This year the world's most popular fairytale is given a seaside twist. Cinderella's happy life capsizes when a storm washes her Mum out to sea and her Dad remarries a strange widow from Bridlington. Thrust into a life of drudgery in her Stepmother's hotel, her only relief lies in gazing out to sea and watching the surfers sour over the waves. The handsomest surfer has his own problem. Heir to the Slot Machine Kingdom, he's too shy to talk to girls! When the Slot Machine King throws a Grand Beach Ball for the eligible lasses of Scarborough, Cinders knows she'll never be able to go...until her Fairy Crab Mother intervenes. But her Stepmother and malicious Stepsister have other ideas and it will take all Cinders' strength and bravery to finally be free. Will she make it to the Beach Ball? Set sail in our sparkling, surfing story to find out! From the team who brought you The Nutcracker Prince, The Hunt For The Scroobious Pip and Treasure Island.

Absurd Person Singular set changes

Absurd Person Singular set changes

Soul Man trailer

Soul Man, 3 August - 1 September Written and directed by Chris Monks Based on Verdi's Rigoletto Soaring Italian Opera meets Smooth Seventies Soul!

Ballet Boys at Sea Swim

On Saturday 7 July, SJT OutReach's Ballet Boys performed a Sea Swim inspired piece on the beach itself. Part of the Cultural Olympiad, Sea Swim runs weekly from May to September at Scarborough's South Bay beach chalets (numbers 237 and 238) - for swims, talks and creativity.

Lost & Found trailer

Lost, by Jane Thornton and Found, by John Godber. At the Stephen Joseph Theatre 6 July - 1 September 2012.

Transformation of The Round @thesjt

Transformation of The Round

Geordie Sinatra rehearsal trailer

That's life, that's what all the people say; You're riding high in April, shot down in May... It's party time! Welcome, to the coolest gig in town. Kick back, help yourself from the liquor cart and let Frank 'The Voice' Sinatra serenade you till the wee small hours. Well, that's what's going on in ex-club singer Geordie's head, and his dementia induced hallucinations are causing daughter Nancy serious aggravation. Then an old musician mate from Scarborough breezes into town with a nasty secret and the feathers really start to fly. Nancy has to take drastic action because 'Something's Gotta Give'. The question is: 'What would Ava Gardner do?' Geordie Sinatra is a dark comedy that gets under the skin of dementia. Come fly with Geordie on the journey of a lifetime, whilst a live jazz trio knocks out swinging tunes from the great Sinatra songbook. Presented in The Round auditorium, in a specially created 3-sided format, including cabaret seating. In association with New Writing North. 16 May - 2 June Box office 01723 370541 By Fiona Evans Directed by Chris Monks Starring: Anthony Cable, Kraig Thornber, Jill Myers and Heather Saunders.

Neighbourhood Watch trailer @thesjt

The Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in association with Guildford's Yvonne Arnaud Theatre present Neighbourhood Watch written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn. On national tour until 5 May 2012. Cast: Eileen Battye, Terence Booth, Phil Cheadle, Matthew Cottle, Richard Derrington, Frances Grey, Amy Loughton, Alexandra Mathie Music: Scheming Weasel faster by Kevin MacLeod (

The Nutcracker Prince trailer

The Nutcracker Prince teaser trailer

Dear Uncle - In conversation with Alex Veronica

In conversation with Alex Veronica, playing Veronica.

Dear Uncle - In conversation with Amy Loughton

The Dear Uncles cast talk about the production.

Dear Uncle - In conversation with Phil Cheadle

The Dear Uncles cast talk about the production.

Dear Uncle - In conversation with Matthew Cottle

The Dear Uncles cast talk about the production.

Dear Uncle - In conversation with Frances Grey

The Dear Uncles cast talk about the production.

The Stephen Joseph Theatre

The Stephen Joseph Theatre was founded in Scarborough by theatrical pioneer Stephen Joseph. Stephen, the son of actress Hermione Gingold and publisher Michael Joseph, had seen theatre in the round in America and determined to bring it back to Britain. Frustrated by attempts to open a theatre-in-the-round in London, Stephen's plans came to fruition when his search for a suitable venue led him to the seaside town of Scarborough on the North-East coast. Here in 1955 he established the country's first theatre-in-the-round company on the first floor of the Public Library. His primary aim was to encourage new writing by new writers, which he was passionate about until his death in 1967, aged just 46. Alan Ayckbourn, Stephen's protégé, was appointed Artistic Director of the company in 1972. Alan had begun working with the company as an actor in 1957 and had premiered his first play at the venue, The Square Cat, in 1959. Alan would remain Artistic Director until 2009 having encouraged Stephen's legacy of new writing with the world premiere of 239 plays by 87 writers during his tenure. Alan has also premiered the majority of his plays at the theatre, more than half of which have gone on to the West End or the National Theatre. He was awarded a CBE in 1987 and in 1997 was knighted for services to the theatre. The theatre continued to flourish and in 1976 moved to a supposedly temporary home on the ground floor of the former Scarborough Boys' High School at an initial conversion cost of £40,000. However, a permanent home proved difficult to find and it wasn't until late 1988 and the closure of the local Odeon cinema by Rank Leisure that Alan Ayckbourn found a suitable venue. By October 1990, the newly formed Scarborough Theatre Development Trust had gained the lease on the classic thirties building and fund-raising began in earnest. This time, the conversion cost £5.2m of which £1.48m came from the National Lottery Arts Council of England; £500,000 from the Foundation for Sport and the Arts; £495,000 from the EC Objective 5 (b) fund; £400,000 from Alan Ayckbourn personally; £240,000 from the Chairman of the Development Trust, Charles (Mac) McCarthy; and other amounts ranging from hundreds of thousands to pound coins dropped in a collection bucket after each performance and from a myriad of other fund-raising initiatives. The entire conversion was chronicled extensively by the theatre and documentary photographer Adrian Gatie. The end result in excess of 5000 images offers a unique record of the entire conversion between 1993 and 1996, a selection of which can be seen here. The new theatre, known simply as the Stephen Joseph Theatre opened on 30th April 1996 and has two auditoria: The Round, a 404-seat in the round and The McCarthy, a 165-seat endstage/cinema. The building also contains a restaurant, shop, and full front-of-house and backstage facilities. The Round boasts two important technical innovations: the stage lift, facilitating speedy set changes and the trampoline, a Canadian invention which allows technicians particularly easy access to the lighting grid. Chris Monks succeeded Alan Ayckbourn as Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre on 1 April 2009. A theatre director and writer, he has a history of producing exciting, imaginative theatre in the round; the majority of his work has been for The New Vic, The Orange Tree Theatre, Bolton Octagon and the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.

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Contact details

YO11 1JW

54.28091, -0.40274

  • 54.28091 -0.40274

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