Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round: 1976

This page contains a more detailed guide to significant events concerning Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round in 1976.


  • January: North Yorkshire County Council reluctantly extends the use of Scarborough Library's facilities for Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre until the summer, at which point the company has to leave the venue.
  • 28 January: World premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's Just Between Ourselves at Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre.
  • 30 January: At a meeting of Scarborough Theatre Trust, it is agreed the company should move into the former Westwood County Modern School as a temporary base until the new Vernon Road theatre is built in order to allow the company to continue to present theatre all year-round in the interim.
  • Spring: The company's first international tour sees the company tour with Just Between Ourselves and Stephen Mallatratt's An Englishman's Home to Belgium, Holland and Germany.
  • Mervyn Watson is appointed the theatre's first Associate Director.
  • 10 May: The company has a month-long residency at Richmond's Georgian Theatre running until 5 June.
  • May: Stephen Wood - reported as Steve Wood in the Scarborough Evening News - is appointed the press officer for the company; it will begin a long association with the company which eventually sees him appointed General Administrator (later retitled Executive Director) of the Stephen Joseph Theatre between 1996 and 2015.
  • The actor Robin Herford joins the company beginning a long association with the company as actor, director, associate director and - between 1986 and 1988 - co-Artistic Director.
  • 14 June: The summer season opens at Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre with Molière's All The Best People; this marks the first time the company has presented a play by Molière.
  • 16 June: Following the failed attempt to save Scarborough's Opera House Theatre by the Opera House Preservation Society during 1974 / 1975, the theatre is re-opened by the theatre's owner Millet Investors, whose chairman is local businessman Don Robinson.
  • 28 June: North Yorkshire County Council agrees Scarborough Theatre Trust can lease Westwood for three years as a temporary home for the company; the Trust also agrees to raise £100,000 towards the proposed £500,000 cost of the new Vernon Road theatre.
  • July: Press reports indicate Scarborough Theatre Trust will actually contribute £120,000 to the new theatre alongside £230,000 from Scarborough Town Council with the remaining £150,000 expected to be made up by the English Tourist Board.
  • 8 July: Scarborough Theatre Trust confirms it will move into Westwood 'for a maximum period of three years' (it will actually be there for 20 years) at a cost of between approximately £20,000 - £30,000 to convert the premises into a suitable space.
  • 21 July: A production of Stephen Lowe's Comic Pictures at Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre features the world premiere of the one act play Stars; an actor with the company, Stephen Lowe goes on to a career as an acclaimed playwright.
  • 11 September: Final performance at Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre with Alan Ayckbourn's Just Between Ourselves.
  • 12 September: With just 60 days until the opening of the new theatre, work immediately begins on the conversion of the former school into a theatre in the round. The cost is now reported at £35,000 for the conversion.
  • 17 October: The inaugural meeting of the The Friends of Scarborough Theatre In The Round (changed from its proposed title of Theatre Supporters' Club) takes place at the Theatre In The Round At Westwood.
  • Circa 20 October: Alan Ayckbourn discovers there is no bar planned for the new venue as it hadn't been budgeted for. Insisting there had to be a bar, he pays for the costs to have a theatre bar installed for the opening night.
  • 26 October: Theatre In The Round At Westwood opens with a revival of Alan Ayckbourn's Mr Whatnot, one of the few Ayckbourn plays to have never previously been seen in Scarborough.
  • October: The Friends of Scarborough Theatre-In-The-Round is launched and welcomes more than 100 members in its first month, by December this has risen to 380 members.
  • Bob Watson is appointed as the first Chairman of The Friends Of Scarborough Theatre-In-The-Round; he will later become the SJT's first Archivist.
  • Autumn: The actors Malcolm Hebden and Diane Bull launch the company's first play designed to tour to schools with Scraps.
  • 15 November: World premiere of the one-man show, The Guv'nor, a play about the actor manager Henry Irving, written and performed by Christopher Godwin.
  • 23 November: Opening night of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker, which is staged with an eye to attracting colleges studying the play at A Level.
  • 15 November: Alan Ayckbourn speaks in an official capacity to members of The Friends of Scarborough Theatre-In-The-Round at the theatre.
Article by and copyright of Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce this article without permission of the copyright holder.