Stephen Joseph Theatre
Venue staging performing arts, new writing & revival productions in the round. The home of truly great theatre – Scarborough just wouldn’t be the same without it! We offer a unique, intimate experience in our renowned theatre-in-the-round as well as the more traditional end-on McCarthy theatre and cinema. We are home to first-class drama, music, films, comedy and live streaming and are known for our commitment to new writing, including Alan Ayckbourn’s 80+ world premieres. We have an extensive and cross generational programme of OutReach work – with, in and for the local community, encouraging everyone to engage with the SJT through projects, courses, classes and work experience.
In 1955 theatrical pioneer Stephen Joseph established the country’s first theatre-in-the-round company on the first floor of Scarborough Library. Stephen’s protégé Alan Ayckbourn was appointed Artistic Director in 1972 and encouraged his legacy of new writing with the world premiere of 239 plays by 87 writers during his tenure. In 2018, Alan accepted the title of Director Emeritus of the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
The theatre continued to flourish and in 1976 moved to a supposedly temporary home in the former Scarborough Boys’ High School. However, a permanent home proved difficult to find and it wasn’t until 1988 and the closure of the local Odeon cinema that a suitable venue was found. The new theatre opened on 30 April 1996 and boasted two technical innovations: the stage lift, facilitating speedy set changes and the ‘trampoline’ mesh above the stage which allows technicians easy access to the lighting grid.