Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre slowly re-opening its doors - plus Eat Me cafe moves into its bar space

Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre will once again open its doors to the public this summer, with an ongoing programme of events which will include the temporary relocation of one of the town’s most popular cafés, Eat Me, from late July, followed by the re-opening of the cinema in mid-August.

Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough
Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough

The theatre aims to to bring live theatre back to its audiences as soon as possible.

From Thursday July 30 until further notice, the award-winning Eat Me Café, named as a Local Gem in The Good Food Guide every year between 2015 and 2020, will be operating from the first floor bar lounge at the world famous theatre for three days each week.

From Thursday August 20, the theatre will present a programme of screenings in its McCarthy cinema, including the new film adaptation of The Secret Garden starring Colin Firth and Julie Walters, and recorded streamings including Andre Rieu’s Magical Maastricht: Together in Music, Michael Ball and Alfie Boe – Back Together, VE Day 75 Live and Mick Fleetwood and Friends. A full programme, with dates, will be announced shortly.

Artistic director Paul Robinson is hard at work planning a programme of live theatre that can be presented in the Round auditorium safely and within current government guidelines as soon as is feasible.

Eat Me @ The SJT will open from 11am to 8pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Café owners Martyn Hyde and Stephen Dinardo said: “Eat Me Café has been closed since the beginning of lockdown, and we’re raring to get going again.

“But our current premises has 34 covers at quite close proximity – for the safety of our staff and customers, we wanted a temporary space where we can provide much greater social distancing.

“We have a long-standing and close friendship with the theatre and they’re just across the road: their spacious bar lounge, which for many years was also a restaurant, is just perfect.”

The theatre's executive director Caroline Routh said: "We've always been proud of our role as a theatre rooted in Scarborough; in these difficult times it is even more important to us to do what we can to help support our community.

"Eat Me is a local institution and has been a brilliant supporter of SJT over many years so we're delighted that we've been able to help them re-open in a way that we hope means they will continue to thrive for years to come."

Paul Robinson said: “It’s a fascinating creative challenge to find shows that are enticing enough to bring audiences back into our building whilst simultaneously allowing us to adhere to social distancing guidelines, both on and offstage.

“We’re in discussions with a lot of old friends including Hull-born actor Maureen Lipman, and Scarborough’s own Simon Slater, our Artistic Associate and West End star of Mamma Mia!

“I’m confident that we’ve come up with some really innovative and entertaining answers, and we hope to be able to start announcing those in the very near future, with a view to seeing live theatre on our stage again as soon as government guidelines allow.”

Both Eat Me @ The SJT and the Stephen Joseph Theatre will be re-opening in accordance with current legislation and guidelines: both have been awarded the VisitEngland ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and supporting mark, demonstrating that they are adhering to government and public health guidance, have carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment and checked they have the required processes in place.

Eat Me @ The SJT is by reservation only, using the Eat Me Facebook page or on 07445 475328.

In line with all other UK theatres, the Stephen Joseph Theatre has been closed to the public since lockdown began on Monday March 23.