Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre puts in plans for 'hugely exciting' cinema refurbishment

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre is seeking permission to replace its heating and cooling systems and carry out an interior refurbishment of its McCarthy auditorium, which is home to both live shows and regular cinema screenings.

The work will significantly improve the theatre’s accessibility, sustainability and customer experience, with the plans being hailed as “hugely exciting” for the venue.

Executive Director Caroline Routh said: “We recently commissioned a report which identified that our air handling systems, installed when we moved into the former Odeon cinema in 1996, will reach end-of-life within the next three to five years.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Replacing them will not only safeguard our operation, it will also help us towards our goal of becoming a net zero institution and improve our long-term financial stability through reduced energy bills, supporting North Yorkshire Council in its Route Map to Carbon Negative.”

Stephen Joseph Theatre's McCarthy auditorium.Stephen Joseph Theatre's McCarthy auditorium.
Stephen Joseph Theatre's McCarthy auditorium.

The interior refurbishment aims to significantly improve accessibility in the McCarthy auditorium, which currently has limited wheelchair access.

The proposed plans will provide access to the stage and wings; more toilets including an accessible one; a new bar, and increased seating opportunities at all levels.

The plans will also include a sympathetic redecoration of the auditorium, celebrating and enhancing the heritage of the 1930s Grade II listed building.

Caroline says: “These are hugely exciting plans for us.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Exterior of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.Exterior of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.
Exterior of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.

"The SJT is an important cultural asset within a regenerating Scarborough and North Yorkshire.

“We’re a key contributor to the town and county’s tourism offer with an annual economic impact of £4.6m.

"Our work is also a vital community resource for Scarborough – we provide year-round creative opportunities for 30,000 people and each year give around 1,000 £1 tickets to those who may otherwise be unable to afford a trip to the theatre.

“Our community work helps young people, people with learning differences, people with physical disabilities and people within specific geographic communities.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The entire project will take some time, as we’re very keen to keep the building open and accessible as much as possible during the work.

"Obviously, we’re at a very early stage – we’re all working hard on plans to secure the necessary funding.”