Scarborough A - Z

The A - Z is an alphabetical guide to people, places and events relating to theatre - with an emphasis on theatre in the round - in Scarborough. This is an ongoing project, produced in association with the Encyclopaedia at with new content being regularly added. To begin exploring, click on a letter in the right hand column below.


A - Z
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St George's Hall: See Alexandra Hall.

St Paul's Church: A former church in Scarborough on Regent Street considered for conversion as a potential home for theatre in the round during the 1970s. Consecrated in 1879, it was demolished in the 1970s (TBC) and is now flats.

St Thomas's Street: A former church in Scarborough on East Sandgate considered for conversion as a potential home for theatre in the round during the mid-1970s. Built in 1840, it was used as rehearsal and workshop space by the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round during 1975 and 1976 and planning permission for a theatre was granted. An alterntiave proposal halted the proposed conversion. It is now, it was demolished in 1975. It later became a childhood museum and Scarborough Sea Cadets have been based there for many years.

Sansom, Laurie: Associate Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre from 2004 - 2006, who went on to become Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland and later Artistic Director of the Northern Broadsides.

Scarborough: Seaside resort in North Yorkshire, England, where Stephen Joseph founded the UK's first professional theatre in the round company in 1955. In 1957, this company was joined by Alan Ayckbourn, who has been associated with the company and the town ever since. The town is home to the Stephen Joseph Theatre, of which Alan Ayckbourn was Artistic Director between 1972 and 2009, and where Alan Ayckbourn has premiered the majority of his new plays.

Scarborough Art Gallery: The gallery, originally called Crescent House, was built as a family home in the late 1840s by local solicitor John Uppleby. The Grade II* Italianate villa is set in the Crescent Gardens and has operated as an art gallery since 1947. The Art Gallery is part of Scarborough Museums and Galleries.

Scarborough College: A public school in Scarborough in whose grounds was considered a potential home for theatre in the round during the early 1970s in collaboration with the college. The proposal was never realised and the approximate suggested site is now home to the college's preparatory school, Scarborough College Junior School.

Scarborough Library: Home, from 1955 - 1976, of Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre and the first professional in-the-round company in the UK. The library now holds an important archive of material corresponding to Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre including rare documents relating to the founding of the theatre as well as items relating to Stephen Joseph and Alan Ayckbourn.

Scarborough Museums & Galleries: The body responsible for Scarborough Art Gallery, the Rotunda Museum and Woodend Gallery and Studios. In 2023, the Ayckbourn Collection was donated to Scarborough Museums and Galleries by Alan Ayckbourn and facilitated by his archivist Simon Murgatroyd. This is a curated collection of items relating to Alan Ayckbourn, Stephen Joseph and theatre in the round offering an insight into their contribution to the cultural heritage and history of Scarborough.

Scarborough Open Air Theatre: See Open Air Theatre.

Scarborough Spa: See Spa Theatre.

Scarborough Spa Grand Hall: Following the fire which destroyed Paxton's Music Hall in 1876 (see below), the Spa was rebuilt with extensive facilities including a Grand Hall which was predominantly designed for concerts.

Scarborough Spa Theatre: Theatre which opened in 1880 (although was operational in 1879). It replaced the original Gothic Saloon (1839), which was replaced by Paxton's Music Hall (1858) which burnt down in 1876. Apparently, the space was not initially intended to be a theatre but was converted late in the building; possibly explaining its deficiencies as a theatre. It is one of the oldest surviving working theatre sin England.

Scarborough Theatre Guild: Amateur organisation which in in 1955 was instrumental in helping Stephen Joseph set up Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre. The guild, leading members of which included Ken and Margaret Boden, was significantly involved with the company for much of its first 15 years.

Scarborough Theatre Development Trust: Not be mixed up with Scarborough Theatre Trust, Scarborough Theatre Development Trust was formed in 1993 to oversee the conversion of Scarborough's former Odeon cinema into the Stephen Joseph Theatre and is responsible for maintaining the building amongst other responsibilities.

Scarborough Theatre Trust: The company formed in 1964 to continue running Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre in Scarborough after Studio Theatre Ltd (the company founded to run. Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre) moved to the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent. Scarborough Theatre Trust also appointed Alan Ayckbourn as Artistic Director of the company in 1972. The Trust suoperceded Theatre in the Round Ltd which ran the theatre from 1962 to 1964.

Scene Painting and Design: Book by Stephen Joseph looking at the art of scene design against the backdrop of its function and connection with theatre architecture. Published by Pittman & Sons in 1964.

Shearman, Robert: Award-winning and acclaimed writer, playwright and screenwriter who had several plays premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round and the SJT during the 1990s and 2000s.

SJT: See Stephen Joseph Theatre

Smettem, William H: Chief Librarian at Scarborough Library in 1955 when Stephen Joseph approached Scarborough Library about utilising the Concert Room as a theatre in the round performance space. Joseph had been tipped off that Smettem was close to retirement and would be open to the approach. Smettem agreed to the proposal thus enabling the beginning of theatre in the round's long association with Scarborough.

Smith, Caroline: The Director of Productions for the 1971 season of Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre. Between 1967 and 1971, thew Director of Productions (Artistic Director in all but name) was appointed annually as the company only ran a 13 week summer season. As of writing, Caroline is the only woman to have held the position of Director of Productions / Artistic Director with the theatre in the round company in Scarborough.

The Square Cat: Alan Ayckbourn's first play premiered at Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, on 30 July 1959. Written under the pseudonym Roland Allen, it was largely written as a showcase for his own acting talents. It was a big hit for the company and launched the playwrights playwriting career. This play has been withdrawn from production by the playwright and has never been published but in 2023 an original production manuscript from 2023 was donated to Scarborough Museums and Galleries as part of the Ayckbourn Collection by the playwright.

Stephen Joseph Theatre (The SJT): The third and present home of theatre in the round in Scarborough. The SJT is a purpose-designed conversion of Scarborough's former Odeon cinema and features both The Round and The McCarthy auditoria. It also features a restaurant, shop, an outreach department and full theatre and administration facilities. The SJT opened in 1996 following a £5.4m conversion of the Odeon with Alan Ayckbourn and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical By Jeeves.

Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round: The second home of theatre in the round in Scarborough after the company left Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre in 1976. Based on the ground floor of Scarborough's former Westwood County Modern School (originally the Municipal School), it was originally intended as a temporary three year home for the company whilst a purpose-built theatre was constructed. This never came to pass and the company was resident in the building until 1996. The dimensions and layout of the round space in this venue were reproduced in the company's current home, the Stephen Joseph Theatre. The venue also included a small end-stage theatre space, a bar and food server, rehearsal space as well as administration offices.

Stephen Joseph - Theatre Pioneer and Provocateur: Book by Dr Paul Elsam looking at the life, career and achievements of Stephen Joseph, founder of Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre and Alan Ayckbourn's most significant mentor and influence. Published by Bloomsbury in 2013 and considered the definitive book on the theatre pioneer.

Stoney, Heather (Lady Ayckbourn): Second wife of Alan Ayckbourn and Personal Assistant to the playwright; a former professional actress who appeared in a number of world premieres of Alan Ayckbourn's plays between 1964 and 1985.

The Story of the Playhouse in England: Book by Stephen Joseph detailing the history of theatre and playhouses in England including reference to his work founding Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre in 1955. Published by Barrie and Rockliffe in 1963.

Studio Theatre Club: An initiative to draw attention to theatre in the round by Stephen Joseph. Between 1955 and 1958, Stephen Joseph would stage in the round performances at the Mahatma Assembly Hall at Fitzroy Square, London. Most of the performances were drawn from Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre repertory. Alan Ayckbourn first experienced theatre in the round with a performance of Sartre's Huis Clois here in 1957 before joining the company in the same year.

Studio Theatre Ltd: The limited company originally formed by Stephen Joseph when he created the first professional theatre in the round acting company Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in 1955. Studio Theatre Ltd later moved to Stoke-on-Trent with the opening of the first professional theatre in the round venue at the Victoria Theatre in 1962, replaced in Scarborough by a new limited company, Scarborough Theatre Trust, from 1964.

The Scarborough: A - Z section of the website is created in collaboration with
Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website. Original research is by Simon Murgatroyd and copyright of the author. Please credit this website if reproducing the information.