Former Scalby man, Tim Tubbs reveals his favourite things about Scarborough
Born and raised in Scalby, Tim Tubbs returned to Scarborough in 2008, after a 26-year career in London theatre, notably at Sadler's Wells Theatre, which he programmed for six years. He lives in West Ayton, caring for his elderly mother, gives talks, teaches drama, and performs in and directs local community productions.
Much as I love London, I’m glad to have left it for Scarborough, which can be very narrow and where everybody knows your business, but you won’t suffer the impersonal anonymity of the Big City! There’s plenty wrong here, but Scarborough’s a fine place to live.
Apart from the obvious landmarks and beauties we all share and enjoy – the Castle, Harbour and Old Town, the Spa and gardens, the lovely coastline and hinterland of villages, towns and countryside – my secret indulgences include the fresh seafood stalls, the Hispaniola pirate ship, lunch at The Golden Grid and Arosa’s chocolates.
But it’s those individual characteristics that make any place special, so where do I celebrate Scarborough’s ‘vive la différence’ from everywhere else?
Too much of character and value is at risk or already lost: Francis’ Tea Rooms, the South Bay Pool, half the theatres, too many of the decent shops, far too much heritage architecture – all in the name of a quick buck, awful chainstores, fast food, and general tatt. I also lament our charity shops’ pretentions to become la-di-da boutiques: simply risible!
The three places where I have spent most time, and most happily, since returning to Scarborough are … Woodend Creative, the former Sitwell home and natural History Museum in The Crescent (where I had my office for eight years and give my lunchtime lectures), The Spa (where I especially enjoy the Advintageous Fairs and fabulous Spa Orchestra concerts – what a precious asset that orchestra is to the town!) and the YMCA Theatre (where I’ve enjoyed countless shows, as audience, producer and performer).
Theatre, music and culture top my list of favourite things. Here, Scarborough’s offer is not so much eclectic as bizarre, probably because the town has never had a meaningful cultural strategy: it’s all meddle and muddle.
I’m afraid the much-vaunted Open Air Theatre is not for me. I’d much rather have had The Futurist Theatre. Heigh-ho. On the plus side culturally are the excellent Stephen Joseph Theatre (a national treasure), the Spa Orchestra and all the community performance activity – choirs, choral society, orchestra, bands, music groups, dance schools, plays, playwriting… and musicals, always musicals. I’ve enjoyed being guilty of 17 musicals in Scarborough, and look forward eagerly to my 18th – Kiss Me, Kate at YMCA Theatre in October!
Like many picturesque towns, Scarborough is home to a dynamic variety of visual arts and crafts, IT and digital design, which I enjoy at the many galleries and exhibitions.
Scarborough’s eating-out offer has transformed in recent decades. Among my special favourites are:
Lazenby’s, Az, Tuscany Too, Pomodoro, Scarborough Tandoori and Sabah, as well as some great fish and chip shops and carveries (Ivanhoe and Crescent Hotels). My favourite pubs in town are The Highlander (Esplanade) for a great pub lunch and quiz night, and The Ivanhoe (Burniston Road) for karaoke and laughter.
My latest discovery is the newly opened ‘Mr E Rooms’ in Vernon Road, Scarborough’s first escape room – a new concept to me, but terrific fun.