Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round: 1990

This page contains a more detailed guide to significant events concerning Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round in 1990.


  • Malcolm Hebden - who has previously acted and directed with the company - returns to the theatre as its Associate Director; he holds the position until 1996 and is the longest serving Associate Director at the theatre.
  • 14 March: The ADMirable partnership is incorporated as a company by Alan Ayckbourn, Lord Downe and Charles 'Mac' McCarthy. Its initial aim is to secure the lease for the grade II listed Odeon building.
  • 5 April: The National Student Drama Festival visits Scarborough for the first time with the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round one of the main venues; the festival will adopt Scarborough as its home town from 1991 onwards.
  • 1 May: Scarborough Council agrees to contribute £25,000 towards the £50,000 cost of a structural survey and preparation of plans for the Odeon building. £25,000 is also given towards starting the fund-raising campaign; despite Alan Ayckbourn raising the possibility of converting Scarborough's former Odeon cinema into a new home for the theatre in 1989, it takes more than a year before Scarborough Council publicly backs the project.
  • 16 May: The Spring / Summer season opens with the world premiere of Body Language by Alan Ayckbourn.
  • 4 July: World premiere of Three Men In A Boat by Blake Heathcote.
  • 25 July: HRH Princess Alexandra attends a production of Alan Ayckbourn's Body Language in aid of the charity Sight Savers.
  • 26 September: The Autumn / Winter season opens with William Shakespeare's Othello starring Michael Gambon. It marks the first time Alan Ayckbourn has directed a play by Shakespeare and a third of the play is cut alongside extensive re-edits; it is not critically well-received.
  • 28 September: Alan Ayckbourn announces the ADMirable Partnership has signed a deal with Rank - the company which owned the lease to the Odeon building - to transfer ownership of the lease, which Scarborough Council increases to 99 years. Alan Ayckbourn notes he hopes the theatre will open in Spring 1992.
  • 13 November: Planning permission is given for the conversion of the Odeon building with the cost estimated at £3.5m; the designs by Osborne Christmas Associates are praised by the Council.
  • November: Following a fire at Scarborough's telephone exchange - 23,000 telephones are rendered unusable for at least a week - British Telecoms makes a £250,000 goodwill gesture to the town which is awarded to the theatre's fund-raising campaign.
Article by and copyright of Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce this article without permission of the copyright holder.