Casting and dates revealed for new Alan Ayckbourn play which will open summer season at Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre

Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre has announced the cast for its first production of this year – Alan Ayckbourn’s The Girl Next Door.

By Sue Wilkinson
Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 12:46 pm
Playwright and director Sir Alan Ayckbourn
Playwright and director Sir Alan Ayckbourn

The 85th play by the prolific dramatist, it will be directed by the author and can be seen at the Stephen Joseph from Friday June 4 to Saturday July 3.

It goes into rehearsal on Tuesday May 4.

In a move designed to keep the show running if any of the company exhibit symptoms of Covid-19, the production will feature two separate casts.

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The bulk of the shows will be performed by Bill Champion, Linford Johnson, Alexandra Mathie and Naomi Petersen who will make up a bubble with their stage management team.

But should any of that bubble show symptoms, the entire group will have to self-isolate – and a second bubble comprising Georgia Burnell, Michael Hobbs, Tayla Kovacevic-Ebong, Eliza McClelland and a second stage management team will be ready to step in. They will also perform the show on a number of dates throughout the run.

The theatre's artistic director Paul Robinson said: “The safety of our audiences, staff and visiting freelancers, including the actors, is paramount.

“For this first show of 2021, which opens before the final step of the government’s roadmap on June 21, we thought it was important to have a second team on hand in case of any problems.”

In The Girl Next Door, Bill Champion plays veteran actor Rob Hathaway, stuck at home during the summer of 2020 with only his sensible older sister for company. Rob has little to do but relive his glory days when, as the star of the nation’s favourite TV period drama National Fire Service, he ruled the roost as George ‘Tiger’ Jennings: wartime hero, and living legend among firefighters.

Then one day Rob spots a stranger hanging out the washing in the adjoining garden. But the neighbours haven’t been around for months. So who is the mysterious girl next door? And why is she wearing 1940s clothing?

Written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn assisted by the Stephen Joseph's associate director Chelsey Gillard, The Girl Next Door is designed by Kevin Jenkins with lighting design by Jason Taylor. Casting is by Sarah Hughes..

The Girl Next Door can be seen in the Round from Friday June 4 to Saturday July 3. Tickets, priced from £10, are available from the box office on 01723 370541 and online at