Stephen Joseph Theatre News

Details of current and forthcoming Stephen Joseph Theatre productions can be found here.

Appeal for Stephen Joseph Theatre memorabilia

The Stephen Joseph Theatre’s Archive is appealing for help in plugging gaps in its archive collection in relation to its first two homes at the Library Theatre and the Theatre In The Round at Westwood.
SJT Archivist Simon Murgatroyd said he hoped theatre supporters who had collected SJT memorabilia over the years might consider donating items to the Archive for posterity.
“The Bob Watson Archive at the SJT is a wonderful historical resource, but there are significant gaps particularly from the first two decades of the theatre’s existence.
“We’re specifically looking for programmes, posters and anything related to the theatre from between 1955 and 1995 and would welcome and donations. If you’re considering an early spring clean and find old items, please contact us.”
The appeal follows the recent donation of two rare posters to the Archive by Mark and Enid Lamb, for the world premiere productions of Joking Apart and Intimate Exchanges.
“These were wonderful donations as there is very little about these plays in the Archive. “Despite being Alan Ayckbourn plays from 1978 and 1982, we did not have either of these posters in Archive and they will now be going on display in the Archive.”
The appeal is only for items relating to the Library Theatre (1955 - 1976) and the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round (1976 - 1996) as the Archive holds comprehensives records for all productions since the current theatre opened in 1996.
Anyone who donates items will also be credited within the Archive and on the website, which is maintained by Simon and offers an in-depth look at the history of the SJT.
If you would like to contact Simon about any donations, please email him at:

A bright new future for the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough (18 January 2018)

Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre is heading into the new year after a 2017 which saw its most successful summer season in a decade, a sell-out autumn half-term show, and a Christmas show which saw audience figures increase by over 10% on the previous year.
The theatre is also delighted that, throughout the summer, over a third of its audiences were seeing a show at the venue for the first time.
The theatre is flourishing and spreading its wings under the leadership of a new team.
Chief Executive Stephen Freeman and Artistic Director Paul Robinson have both been in post for just over 18 months, and are focused on new horizons for the 63-year-old theatre.
The show that opened the summer season - Jim Cartwright’s
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, directed by Paul Robinson - played to packed houses, getting regular standing ovations.
Later shows in the season - Alan Ayckbourn’s Taking Steps and the world premiere of
A Brief History of Women, both directed by the author, Amelia Bullmore’s Di and Viv and Rose, directed by Lotte Wakeham, and the world premiere of Goth Weekend by Ali Taylor, directed by Paul Robinson (a co-production with Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Live Theatre) - saw the company go on tour to Newcastle, the New Vic at Newcastle-under-Lyme, and the Old Laundry Theatre at Bowness-on-Windermere. A Brief History of Women will venture further afield this spring when it features in the Brits Off Broadway showcase of new British theatre at New York’s 59E59 Theaters in May.
During the summer season, the theatre increased overall seats sold by 32% on the same period in the previous year.
The introduction of a show for younger audiences at half-term - October’s production of Roald Dahl’s
George’s Marvellous Medicine, adapted by David Wood and directed by Cheryl Govan - saw a complete sell-out, with waiting lists for every performance.
A (Scarborough) Christmas Carol, which ran throughout December and gained four- and five-star reviews, played to more than 10% more people than the 2016 Christmas show, Pinocchio.
The theatre also welcomes in 2018 Lotte Wakeham, who guest directed last summer’s
Di and Viv and Rose. She joins the team as Associate Artistic Director, thanks to funding from Arts Council England and Backstage Trust.
Lotte, who was Associate Director on the RSC’s Matilda, and has worked as Assistant/Associate Director with directors including Richard Eyre and Jeremy Sams, will be learning the skills required to be Artistic Director of a building, including attending board meetings, learning about finance and, of course, directing, in an industry which lacks female leaders.
Scarborough Theatre Trust Ltd, which runs the SJT, has a new chair: Helen Boaden was, until recently, Director of BBC Radio. Helen replaces Richard Grunwell, who stepped down after completing his statutory period in the post.
In the spring of 2017, the SJT retained its status as an Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio Organisation - the 663 English organisations which they consider represent some of the best arts practice in the world - which brought with it annual core funding of £637,715 from 2018 to 2022.
Funding of £50,000 from the Backstage Trust will support writing by new and emerging playwrights, provide more showcases for new writing and help initiate talent development programmes focused on actors and directors, as well as providing funding for core development, training and staff development (including Lotte Wakeham).
And the theatre plans a bright new start to 2018 with upgrades around the building part-funded by a recent ACE grant. The SJT is closed until March for developments including improvements to the front of house areas; a new, state-of the-art environmentally friendly LED lighting system in the Round, which will lower energy bills; and various smaller projects.
The SJT’s Chief Executive, Stephen Freeman, says: “This is just the start of our plans for the next five years. We will be absolutely focused on opening up the theatre, and investing in the best possible art - bringing brilliant artists to Scarborough, supporting artists from Scarborough to be brilliant, and building strong, surprising, exciting relationships with audiences.”
Artistic Director Paul Robinson says: “There’s been a real buzz around our productions recently, with our hugely successful summer season, a sell-out half-term production of Roald Dahl’s
George’s Marvellous Medicine, and our popular production of A (Scarborough) Christmas Carol. We’re also commissioning more work from new playwrights and making the SJT a more accessible resource for artists, both locally and across the UK, to develop work and try out new ideas with us.”

The SJT plans a fresh new look for spring 2018 (30 November 2017)

Scarborough’s world-famous Stephen Joseph Theatre is closing for two months at the beginning of 2018 while work takes place on various improvements including a refurbishment of its foyer space, and a new lighting system in the Round auditorium. During the closure, the box office will temporarily relocate to the theatre’s OutReach offices on Northway.
The project will see developments to the front of house areas, including a refreshed and lighter foyer space with new windows looking onto Westborough and a refurbished box office area.
The Round, meanwhile, will benefit from a new, environmentally-friendly LED lighting system which will lower the venue’s energy bills.
The box office will be open to take bookings for the spring and summer seasons throughout the theatre’s closure, but will temporarily relocate to the theatre’s OutReach offices on Northway.
The work is part of the theatre’s £561,000 ‘Transform’ project, funded by a one-off capital grant of £419,222 from Arts Council England, and by donations from the public.
The SJT’s chief executive Stephen Freeman said: “The Transform project will enhance our customer experience enormously. The Stephen Joseph Theatre has been in its current venue for 21 years now, and we’re very aware that it needs some refurbishment. We want to provide a 21st century theatre-going experience for audiences both new and existing. Our ongoing vision will be to complement the unique period features of this building whilst looking to the future.
“We’ll be reopening in the spring with a fresh new look ready for a short season of high-quality visiting productions in March and April, followed soon afterwards by our exciting summer season.”
The theatre will close its doors on Sunday 7 January 2018 and will re-open to the public on Monday 12 March.
From Monday 8 January to Saturday 10 March, the temporary box office will be open from 10am to 6pm, Mondays to Saturdays. Bookings can also be made online at and by phone on 01723 370541.

All content on this page is official press releases generated by the Stephen Joseph Theatre. For further information, please visit the SJT website at