Researching The People Behind Theatre In The Round In Scarborough

Since Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre opened in Scarborough in 1955, hundreds of people have been employed by Studio Theatre Ltd and Scarborough Theatre Trust, ranging from actors to stage management, administration to front of house and many, many more. It is an obvious statement that the people involved with the theatre are the key to its success. Whilst some people may be more recognisable than others or have more responsibilities, ultimately everyone who has worked with theatre in the round in Scarborough has in some way contributed to the company's achievements.

Former Artistic Director
Alan Ayckbourn has said on many occasions - no doubt inspired by Stephen Joseph - that the theatre is a community where everyone is vital. Be they on-stage, working off-stage, running the theatre or front of house. All depend on the other. He noted on several occasions, the front of house team was as essential as the production team because if an audience disliked a play, hopefully the front of house experience was good enough to still cast the theatre and the evening in a positive light.

This ethos was symbolised by the Green Room at the
Stephen Joseph Theatre. During Alan Ayckbourn's tenure as Artistic Director, no-one was allowed kettles in their office. Morning and afternoon coffee breaks took place at the same time every day and anyone who wanted a drink - no matter who they were or where they worked - had to come to the Green Room.

Alan believed this not only fostered a community but communication between the departments, so everyone would know what was going on in the building. It also emphasised that everyone was important to the building as the Green Room was a place for all the theatre's staff. Throughout Alan's tenure as Artistic Director, every department was actively encouraged to attend these breaks as it was seen as a vital part of the successful operation of the company.

This also extended to rehearsals, which were open to all staff members. A balcony was deliberately included in the design of the main rehearsal room so staff could observe productions in rehearsal. Again, Alan felt this fostered a community but also allowed everyone to feel part of the production process. He felt it particularly important that front of house staff, particularly box office staff, should attend at least Ione rehearsal for every show to better understand what they were selling to the public.

Sadly, in the years subsequent to Alan Ayckbourn stepping down as Artistic Director, the majority of these initiatives have either been stopped or closed down - such as being able to attend rehearsals and common tea-breaks. Alan and Stephen's ideas and beliefs about community and communication being deemed perhaps unfashionable, fiscally unadvantageous to the management or just abandoned by subsequent managements wanting to break with the past no matter how integral or successful these systems may have been.

Perhaps this is also understandable given everyone has their own ethos and values and it appears Alan Ayckbourn and Stephen Joseph were unusual in attempting to produce a theatre community where everyone in the company was equally valued.

To mark this, the website has made an attempt to pay tribute to many of the key figures who have contributed to productions at the theatre-in-the-round in Scarborough between 1955 and 2008. It cannot claim to be a definitive list, but hopefully it includes many of the people who contributed to the company over these decades.

Research, Limitations & Issues

It is fair to say no-one has attempted to make a list of everyone who has worked at the various homes of theatre in the round in Scarborough between 1955 and 2009. It is a massive task, not helped by the limitations of the material held in archive. Not even the Stephen Joseph Theatre itself holds a single list of people who have worked with the company over the years in each department and most of the information for the website has been drawn from the programmes for the productions and information held in the Ayckbourn Archive at the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York, the Stephen Joseph Theatre collection at Scarborough Library and the author's personal archive.

This does mean there are omissions. For whilst the programmes are extremely comprehensive in the staff listings since 1996, prior to that the programmes were not as comprehensive or even particularly helpful. Even production staff were frequently left out of programmes before the 1970s. As a result, there are obviously gaps in the various lists.

The website is limited to what information was presented in the theatre programmes and, also, which programmes have survived. For anything before 1996, there is no other source of information which has survived which offers an insight into the people who worked in theatre in the round in Scarborough.

Currently, the website is concentrating on people who worked at the theatre in its first two homes at
Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre (1955 - 1976) and the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round (1976 - 1995). At some point in the future, it is expected more information regarding the company's present home will be added.


If you notice an omission, we're more than happy to put it right. All you need do is send a name, the relevant department and the year(s) or a couple of the productions which took place during that tenure. We'll then check the information and add it to the list. Email the details to:

All research for this section of the website is by Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without crediting Simon Murgatroyd and the website.