Highlights of Stephen Joseph Theatre summer season includes new Ayckbourn and a revival of his Christmas comedy – plus Stepping Out and a new thriller

Sir Alan Ayckbourn
Sir Alan Ayckbourn

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

Artistic director Paul Robinson said: “The Stephen Joseph Theatre has a long tradition of combining artistic excellence with crowd-pleasing entertainment –this yer is shaping up to be no different.”

The theatre’s in-house team will this year present:

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

The ultimate feel-good comedy, with live music and tap dancing.

This modern classic comedy is 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 10 characters, who gradually form friendships and reveal secrets, while their dance teacher Mavis strives to keep them in time.

Season’s Greetings, written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, Thursday July 25 to Saturday September 28

When families get together to celebrate a special occasion, there’s a danger that all hell will break loose. Particularly if you happen to be trapped for several days with all your relatives and copious amounts of alcohol...

This is the first time that the Stephen Joseph Theatre has staged Season’s Greetings since its premiere here in 1980.

Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present, written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, Wednesday September 4 to Saturday October 5

It’s Mickey’s 80th birthday and he and his wife Meg are awaiting the arrival of their son, Adrian, and his new – and latest – fiancée, Grace.

Be prepared, as birthday follows birthday, to be amazed as the truth is finally revealed about Adrian, the suburban closet Lothario!

This 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.

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

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?

The Monstrous Heart is thrilling, chilling and witty, examining afresh the eternal question of whether we are the product of nature or nurture, or if we can we ever really change how we’re made.

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

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 totally unique and idiosyncratic take on a great work of literature – this is Treasure Island as you’ve never seen it before.

Tickets are priced from £10, and will go on sale from Friday March 1.

Tickets: 01723 370541 or via the website: www.sjt.uk.com