Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre announces shows for 2019

Simon Slater.
Simon Slater.

A programme comprising a huge-hearted feel-good comedy, a classic and a brand-new Ayckbourn, a co-production with Edinburgh’s renowned Traverse Theatre, and a unique take on a classic novel has been announced by Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre.

The SJT’s Artistic Director, Paul Robinson, said: “The Stephen Joseph Theatre has a long tradition of combining artistic excellence with crowd-pleasing entertainment – 2019 is shaping up to be no different.”

Erin Carter

Erin Carter

Alongside a busy programme of visiting productions, the theatre’s in-house team will this year present:

Stepping Out, by Richard Harris, directed by Paul Robinson (Thursday June 20 to Friday August 2)

Stepping Out is the ultimate feel-good comedy about a group of strangers who come together every week for a tap dancing class in their local church hall. It features a cast of ten characters, who gradually form friendships and reveal secrets, while their dynamic dance teacher Mavis strives to keep them in time.

This is its first production at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, directed by the SJT’s Artistic Director Paul Robinson, with the same creative team as last summer’s hit comedy The 39 Steps.

Nick Lane

Nick Lane

In Season’s Greetings, written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn (Thursday July 25 to Saturday September 28), Neville and Belinda are hosting their extended family over a long weekend.

The presence of two tyrannical uncles – Bernard, whose ham-fisted annual puppet shows are a source of dread to young and old alike, and TV addict Harvey – promises to stir up trouble from the start.

And that’s before you add to the mix broken toys, creaking marriages and guest novelist Clive, whose relationship with Belinda’s sister Rachel is going nowhere, causing him to look for love elsewhere.

Directed by the author, this is the first time that the Stephen Joseph Theatre has staged Season’s Greetings since its premiere in 1980 – a rare opportunity to see a sparkling new production of a classic Ayckbourn comedy.

Oliver Emanuel

Oliver Emanuel

In Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present, written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn (Wednesday 4 September to Saturday 5 October), it’s Mickey’s 80th birthday and he and his wife Meg are awaiting the arrival of their son, Adrian, and his new fiancée, Grace.

Adrian has, according to his parents, a certain reputation regarding women and they feel meek, mild-mannered Grace should surely be warned of this.

As ingenious in its construction as any of his previous plays, Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present is the 83rd play from one of Britain’s greatest playwrights in a year that he celebrates not only his own 80th birthday, but also the 60th anniversary of his playwriting debut – The Square Cat, his first professionally-produced play, opened at Scarborough’s Library Theatre inJuly 1959.

The Monstrous Heart, by Oliver Emanuel, directed by Gareth Nicholls (Thursday October 3 to Saturday October 19) – a co-production with the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh.

Mag lives in a rustic cabin in the Canadian wilds, far from neighbours and further from her past.

But when her estranged daughter Beth turns up on the doorstep newly released from prison, the past becomes terrifyingly present.

Beth came to ask Mag a question. But is she prepared for the answer? Can they really settle their scores? And can Mag keep an innocent party from being destroyed in the crossfire?

As a blizzard closes in and dangerous words are traded, Mag accepts a challenge from a most unexpected source and lights a fuse that looks set to blow both women sky high.

Written by Oliver Emanuel (The 306: Day) and directed by the Traverse’s Gareth Nicholls (Ulster American), The Monstrous Heart is thrilling, chilling and witty.

Treasure Island, adapted by Nick Lane from the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, music and lyrics by Simon Slater, directed by Erin Carter (Thursday 5 to Tuesday 31 December)

For the fourth year in a row, the team that brought you off-the-wall Christmas adaptations of Pinocchio, A Christmas Carol and Alice in Wonderland will present their unique and idiosyncratic take on a great work of literature – this is Treasure Island as you’ve never seen it before!

Tickets for all the shows are priced from £10, and will go on sale from Friday March 1 (with priority booking for the theatre’s membership scheme, The Circle, from Friday February 15) and can be booked online at www.sjt.uk.com or at the box office on 01723 370541.