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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OAT: See Open Air Theatre.

Oddfellow's Hall: Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre was based at Scarborough Library from 1955 to 1976. Prior to becoming Scarborough Library, the building opened as Oddfellow's Hall in 1890.

Odeon Cinema: The Stephen Joseph Theatre is now based in a £5,4m conversion of the town's former Odeon cinema. The Odeon opened in 1936 with the movie The Ghost Goes West and closed in 1988 with Buster. Initial plans were to convert the cinema into a bingo hall before Alan Ayckbourn approached Scarborough Council about an ambitious plan to convert the Art Deco influenced building into a purpose-built home for the town's theatre in the round company.

Olympia Picture Palace and Electric Theatre: A former cinema / theatre on the Foreshore which opened in 1903. The building had previously opened in 1895 as an exhibition building and by the turn of the century had been turned into the Empire Theatre of Varieties. In 1903, it was renamed as the Olympia Picture Palace and Electric Theatre with live performances and films. Damaged as part of the German bombings in 1914, it re-opened in 1919 as a ballroom with a cinema later added. The building was destroyed by fire in 1975 and replaced by the Olympia amusement arcade.

Omnibus: Alan Ayckbourn has been featured twice in the BBC arts documentary series Omnibus. The first episode of the re-launched series (in a new magazine-type format), broadcast on 24 January 1982, featured a discussion between Alan Ayckbourn, Michael Billington and Barry Norman about his career. On 13 February 1990, Sex, Politics & Alan Ayckbourn was dedicated to Michael Billington exploring Alan Ayckbourn's career, centred on the London premiere of Man Of The Moment but featuring extensive footage of the playwright in Scarborough as well as the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round.

Open Air Theatre: Open air theatre which opened in 1932 at Northstead Manor Gardens and was considered the largest theatre of this type in Europe at the time seating approximately 8,000 people. The stage was - unusually - located on an island which performers had to be rowed to. It closed in 1986 but Wass redeveloped and re-opened in 2010 by Queen Elizabeth II and now operating predominantly as a summer concert venue.

Opera House: Originally the Charles Adnams Grand Circus, which opened in 1876. The wooden structure was replaced by the following year by a brick structure and was a circus and music hall until 1908 when it was demolished apart from the outer walls. Local architect Frank Tugwell designed the final building which opened as a theatre in 1908. Closed in 1971, it was refurbished and reroofed in 1976 and ran as the Royal Opera House until 1995 when it was closed. It was demolished in 2004 and replaced by the Opera House Casino. During the early 1970s, a controversy between the Opera House Preservation Society and Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre was reported in the national press. It was also offered as a potential home for theatre in the round during the same period - although the offer did not include any serious intent to convert the space to theatre in the round. The building had several other names: Charles Adnams Grand Circus (1876); Henglers Grand Cirque (1877), the Prince of Wales Circus (1878); Valve's Hippodrome Theatre (1900); New Hippodrome (1908); Opera House and Hippodrome (1910); Grand Opera House (1914); Royal Opera House (1976). The theatre was also used as a location in Michael Winner's film adaptation of Alan Ayckbourn's play, A Chorus Of Disapproval (1989).

Osborne, Henry: Henry 'Harry' Osborne was a noted architect who was responsible for designing the Stephen Joseph Theatre (1996).

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.