Plays for Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph’s 60th anniversary

Confusions by Alan Ayckbourn will enjoy a revival
Confusions by Alan Ayckbourn will enjoy a revival
  • Four celebratory revivals and an Ayckbourn world premiere in theatre’s 60th anniversary year
  • The Woman In Black returns home prior to a West End transfer
  • Ayckbourn’s Confusions in a first revival directed by the author

The Stephen Joseph Theatre is 60 this year and at the heart of the celebrations are past hits and the world premiere of Alan Ayckbourn’s 79th play.

The season opens with Cox and Box – Mrs Bouncer’s Legacy in The McCarthy on various dates from May 21 to 30.

Sir Arthur Sullivan’s one-act comic opera is reinvented by the theatre’s artistic director Chris Monks and composer Richard Atkinson with a new second act: a cross-dressed Victorian romp gives way to a thoroughly modern take on Gilbert and Sullivan inspired musical satire.

The Woman In Black returns home to the Stephen Joseph Theatre where it all began. Especially cast for the diamond jubilee, original director Robin Herford directs the new production which plays in the McCarthy on various dates from June 19 to August2 before transferring to the West End b

Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of Susan Hill’s ghostly novella began life as a low budget Christmas filler staged in the bar at the venue’s former Westwood base. Since that debut 28 years ago, it has enthralled more than sven million people worldwide.

This summer there is once again the chance to see two plays written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn. The first, a revival of the 1974 play Confusions, can be seen in The Round on various dates from July 9 to September 26. From a devoted and isolated mother, to her unfaithful travelling salesman husband, through to a solicitous waiter to well-heeled diners and an utterly shambolic garden fete, human frailty is laid bare as one hilarious situation unfolds after another.

Artistic director Chris Monks

The official opening night of Confusions on July 14 marks the 60th anniversary itself and, in the lead up to the performance, there will be play readings at the company’s past homes at Scarborough Library and Westwood Campus in the afternoon.

From August 6 to 27 (various dates), the company directs a revival of Tim Firth’s Neville’s Island in The Round. The play has continued to achieve global recognition ever since its Scarborough premiere in 1992. Four out-of-condition, middle-aged businessmen are sent on a team building exercise in the Lake District where they succeed in being the first people to ever get shipwrecked on an island on Derwentwater.

Ayckbourn’s second show of the season is a new play, Hero’s Welcome, his 79th world premiere at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Seventeen years ago Murray fled the neighbourhood under somewhat of a cloud and certain folk have long memories, not least Alice, the mayor, whom he left standing at the altar. Indeed few of his friends, once the welcome flags have stopped waving and the town band has ceased playing, seem particularly happy to see him back. Murray’s declared intention of settling down with his new bride threatens to stir up all sorts of old rivalries and resentments. Hero’s Welcome can be seen in The Round on various dates from September 4 to October 3.