Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre receives grant of more than £230,000 from Garfield Weston Foundation’s Weston Culture Fund

Paul Robinson and Caroline RouthPaul Robinson and Caroline Routh
Paul Robinson and Caroline Routh
Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre has been awarded nearly £238,000 by the Garfield Weston Foundation to support its work over the coming year.

The Foundation’s Weston Culture Fund has granted £237,752 to the theatre, which will use the money to support a summer and autumn season of work, likely to include a new play by its director emeritus, Alan Ayckbourn, a show in the slot previously filled by The 39 Steps and Stepping Out, and an autumn production of an adaptation it has commissioned of best-selling novel The Offing, by Benjamin Myers, set in Robin Hood’s Bay.

It will also contribute towards equipment and training to allow film recordings of the live shows, and a programme of community-focused ‘pop-up’ screenings of the resulting films aimed at engaging those who might not usually access live theatre.

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The theatre’s joint chief executives, Caroline Routh and Paul Robinson, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Stephen Joseph and Scarborough have benefitted from the great generosity of the Garfield Weston Foundation, which has done such remarkable work over the past 60 years.

“We are, of course, conscious of how fortunate we are at a time when so many of our colleagues are struggling in this age of great uncertainty – this grant will allow us to create more much-needed opportunities within the sector, as well as contributing to the wider economy of Scarborough.”

The Garfield Weston Foundation said that in making the grant, one of a programme of £30m-worth to arts organisations across the UK announced today as part of its Weston Culture Fund, it had taken into account ‘a wide range of factors including local cultural provision, the interconnectivity of the sector, the potential accessibility of donors, and accessibility and outreach’.

Philippa Charles, director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “Our cultural sector is at the heart of our local communities providing not only entertainment but education and inspiration for many.

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“Our Trustees were impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit shown across the arts in response to Covid-19 and it was a privilege to hear what organisations had been doing to not only survive but also to reinvent the way they reach audiences. What really stood out was the level of collaboration and support they had for each other and the determination to keep going, despite the increasingly difficult situation.

“We all want and need our cultural sector to thrive and, if anything, our time away from the arts has shown just how important they are to us – bringing much needed pleasure and enrichment to our lives. Arts organisations are desperate to re-open and get back to what they do best, and we hope that this new funding will help many of them do exactly that.”

The theatre staff are determined to invite you back into the building as soon as they are able to and you can rest assured we’ll still be following all the current guidance on Covid security.

Paul is talking to various visiting companies in the hopes that the theatre can bring you some shows in the spring and is keeping a close eye on what films are being released with a view to getting the cinema up and running again as soon as they are allowed.

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One concrete piece of news is that The Greatest Play in the History of the World, featuring former Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh, is moving.

It was due to be in the Round from March 9 to 13 March, but will now visit the Stephen Joseph from May 18 to 22.

You can book online at