Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre to shine again

How the theatre will look lit up from the planning application
How the theatre will look lit up from the planning application

The bright lights of Scarborough’s iconic Stephen Joseph Theatre are to shine once more.

The owners of the Grade II Listed theatre, which plays host to premieres from the town’s resident playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn, had applied for planning permission to replace the neon signs that once lit up the front of the town centre building.

Vandalism and the deteriorating condition of the lights have left the building in the dark in recent times but that is now set to change.

Plans for listed building consent have been approved Scarborough Borough Council’s planning officers.

The theatre will replace the neon tubing with a modern equivalent product called Linearlight Flex.

The building was formerly an Odeon cinema before becoming the theatre in 1996.

The neon signs on the front will spell “cinema” and “theatre”.

The theatre’s planning application stated: “The intent of this proposal is to return the external neon illumination to use.

“The neon signage and lighting is an iconic and original heritage feature of the former Odeon cinema building, which, when illuminated is a significant beacon within Scarborough’s nighttime townscape.

“None of the existing neon or signage is original from 1936 rather facsimiles installed either at the time of the conversion in 1996 or afterwards.

“These were designed to match in appearance with the original, as will the proposed renewal.”

The application added that as the neon signs don’t currently work in their entirety the theatre’s view has been that it was better not to use them, rather than in a piecemeal fashion.

The Theatre Trust backed the application and there were no objections.