Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre: 1957

This page contains a more detailed guide to significant events concerning Scarborough's Theatre in the Round at the Library in 1957.


  • Stephen Joseph informs the Arts Council that Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre will not be requiring a subsidy for the coming year.
  • Stephen employs a theatre manager for the first time in Rodney Wood, who is responsible for running the company on a day-to-day basis as Stephen's commitments mean he spends much of the summer away from Scarborough.
  • 3 June: Stephen Joseph is quoted in the Scarborough Evening News: "Everyone seems to think that if we can survive in Scarborough, we can flourish anywhere else. This is not entirely flattering to Scarborough, but we clearly want to survive in Scarborough."
  • June: Alan Ayckbourn joins Studio Theatre Ltd as an assistant stage manager and actor (sometimes referred to as a acting stage manager).
  • 4 July: The summer season opens with Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie.
  • July: Although Ken Boden had been extensively involved with Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre since it was formed in 1955, it is only from 1957 he is officially recognised in the venue's programmes. For several years, he is credited as Local Secretary (or Local Honorary Secretary).
  • Seats for the summer season are priced at 5s (or 3s 6d for the front row).
  • 11 July J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls opens marking the acting debut of Alan Ayckbourn with the company. Priestley was an early advocate of theatre-in-the-round and had been in contact with Studio Theatre Ltd's Artistic Director Stephen Joseph about the Scarborough company.
  • Summer: A poll is taken at Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre to ascertain support for a winter season in Scarborough; more than 600 people sign the letter.
  • 23 August: Stephen Joseph announces this has been Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre's most successful season yet.
  • 21 September: The summer season closes with Catherine Prynne's The Ornamental Hermit. This is the first season to make a profit and Stephen Joseph says he believes it will be approximately £250.
  • Profits from the summer season - alongside financial support from the Pilgrim Trust - are spent in acquiring a set of rostra, designed by Stephen Joseph, which will enable a complete and portable theatre-in-the-round for touring as well as in the Concert Room space.
  • A poll during the summer season indicates 40% of the audience is from Scarborough with the remaining 60% being tourists.
  • The costs for the 1957 summer season are estimated at £220 a week with Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre making approximately £270 a week.
  • 7 October: Scarborough Town Council grants permission for a winter season for Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre for four weeks from 9 December. Due to the lack of availability of the Concert Room where the summer season is performed, the winter season takes place in the Large Lecture Room at the library and - according to plans held at Scarborough Library - is performed traverse with audience on two sides of the action rather than in-the-round.
  • Studio Theatre Ltd buys a lorry for £40 to help enable its trips to London and touring seasons.
  • 9 December: The brochure for the winter season indicates the first night of I Have Been Here Before was 10 December, however a special preview to launch the winter season for an invited audience was held on 9 December.
  • 10 December: The first winter season at the Library Theatre is launched in the Large Lecture Room at Scarborough Library with J.B. Priestley's I Have Been Here Before. It is performed - as with all the plays in the winter season - traverse i.e the audience on two sides of the action.
  • 16 December: The company performs its first play by John Osborne with his classic play Look Back In Anger, directed by Rodney Wood.
  • Stephen Joseph estimates the theatre needs an audience of 200 people for all performances to break even for the winter season; early in 1958, it is announced the theatre expects to have just covered the cost of the season.
Article by and copyright of Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce this article without permission of the copyright holder.