Summer season at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Sir Alan Ayckbourn
Sir Alan Ayckbourn

Three world premieres of plays by Alan Ayckbourn and Torben Betts; the world premiere of a classic family favourite; a revival of an Ayckbourn classic comedy and a 25th anniversary production of a musical revue make up the summer at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

The season opens with the world premiere of The National Joke in The Round (various dates from Wednesday June 8 to Saturday August 20). By the author of West End hit Invincible and the recent dark and stylish adaptation of Get Carter, Torben Betts, and directed by Henry Bell, this contemporary look at one family in Britain today sees an MP and three generations of women gather to watch a total solar eclipse.

Just So Stories (McCarthy auditorium, various dates from Saturday July 2 to Saturday August 27) is the world premiere adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling classic by one of this country’s leading exponents of family theatre, Vicky Ireland. This new version of the much-loved tales, told by a cast of three with the help of puppets, is around an hour long, and suitable for those aged six and upwards.

The Karaoke Theatre Company (world premiere) plays in The Round on various dates from Friday July 8 to Friday October 7. Presented by Pendon Productions in association with Alan Ayckbourn, it promises to be a slick, fast-moving concoction of farce, comedy, drama and melodrama, all topped off with a dash of good old-fashioned stage magic.

Between Thursday July 28 and Saturday September 3, the Stephen Joseph presents The World Goes Round: The Songs of Kander and Ebb. Conceived by Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman and David Thompson, and directed by Lotte Wakeham, this show features much-loved show-stoppers like New York, New York, All That Jazz, and Money, Money, alongside lesser known songs including Mr Cellophane, Coffee in a Cardboard Cup and Arthur in the Afternoon.

September sees the return of an Ayckbourn classic to The Round. Henceforward… (various dates from Thursday September 8 to Saturday October 8) looks at a dystopian future through the story of Jerome, a composer trying to complete his masterwork whilesimultaneously retrieving his daughter from his hostile ex-wife.

Henceforward… was premiered at Scarborough in 1987; the subsequent 1988 production at London’s Vaudeville Theatre, starring Ian McKellen and Jane Asher, won the Evening Standard Best Comedy Award.

The season is rounded off by another Ayckbourn world premiere. Consuming Passions is a comedy in two parts – Premonitions and Repercussions – which can be seen as separate, approximately 50-minute shows in the Bistro at lunchtimes from Friday August 5 to Thursday September 8, or as an evening double bill in the McCarthy from Friday September 16 to Saturday October 8.

There will also be a range of Festival Specials including teatime talks with special guests, play readings, children’s summer specials, exhibitions, films and live streamings.

To book tickets visit www.sjt.uk.com or call the box office on 01723 370541. Booking opens on Friday March 18.