Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre: 1959

This page contains a more detailed guide to significant events concerning Scarborough's Theatre in the Round at the Library in 1959.


  • January: Studio Theatre Limited launches its first winter touring season, predominantly to towns lacking a theatre, in the hope of finding a permanent home for the company. Harold Pinter's self-directed production of The Birthday Party is part of the repertory.
  • 29 January: The Scarborough Evening News reports the treasurer of Scarborough Theatre Guild, Maurice Plows, has resigned "as a matter of principal" due to the Library Theatre not playing the National Anthem.
  • 30 January: Despite apparent pressure to restore the National Anthem as a legal requirement, the Lord Chamberlain's Office comments that: "There is no regulation on this. We are completely indifferent to it, and would never contemplate issuing any order or advice."
  • 2 March: The Scarborough Evening News reports that Scarborough's Mayor has announced 75% - 90% of Scarborough's population would like the National Anthem restored to Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre's performances. The newspaper questions his statistics, noting it has only received two letters in support of restoring the National Anthem.
  • 2 March: Maurice Plows asserts that the number people not going to the theatre because of the lack of National Anthem is now running into three figures; this is despite the fact that between 3 January and 17 June, there are no professional performances at Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre!
  • 16 June: A civic night for invited guests is held at Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre to see John van Druten's Bell, Book & Candle prior to the season's advertised official opening.
  • 17 June: The summer season opens with John van Druten's Bell, Book & Candle; it coincides with Dutch Week in Scarborough and Stephen Joseph notes in the production programme the play was chosen as van Druten is of Dutch descent.
  • Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre announces a poll will be held for patrons to express support for the National Anthem. The lack of response means that the result of the poll is neither announced nor the anthem restored.
  • 25 June: The world premiere of James Saunders' play Alas, Poor Fred takes place.
  • 30 July: World premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's first professional play, The Square Cat.
  • August: The sell-out success of The Square Cat leads it to become the first play to be performed at Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre for two consecutive weeks and Stephen Joseph commissions a second play from Alan Ayckbourn.
  • 2 September: The Studio Theatre company performs in a fund-raising revue for the Mayor Of Scarborough's Appeal For World Refugee Year. The concert draws performers from most of the town's venues and summer shows with the company presenting the first act of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party.
  • 14 December: The winter season opens with a double bill of Colin Wilson's Viennese Interlude and August Strindberg's Miss Julie. Colin Wilson had achieved fame in 1956 with his book The Outsider and this was his only produced play; he was encouraged as a playwright by Stephen Joseph.
  • 21 December: World premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's second play Love After All.
Article by and copyright of Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce this article without permission of the copyright holder.