The Stephen Joseph Theatre’s summer heralds a season of new writing with eight new pieces of work in Alan Ayckbourn’s 75th birthday year.
A multimedia crime thriller adaptation, Ayckbourn’s 78th play, billed “a unique adventure in live theatre” and commissions from four new writers are theatrical highlights at the Scarborough venue.
Stephen Joseph artistic director Chris Monks said: “The Stephen Joseph Theatre has a great reputation for promoting new writing and this season we are making the most of this opportunity.
“The revitalisation of our literary department with the arrival of associate director Henry Bell means we can accept and produce new scripts and engage with new writers in a way in which we haven’t been able to do for some time.”
The season begins on May 30 with the world premiere of The Last Train To Scarborough in association with the National Railway Museum in the 400-seater Round.
Chris Monks’ adaptation of Andrew Martin’s novel of the same name has been selected for the Yorkshire Festival 2014 programme, a 100-day celebration of culture in the run up to the Grand Depart.
It features film sequences shot at the York-based railway museum and in Yorkshire. Stephen Joseph Theatre regular Matthew Booth plays detective Jim Stringer, who appears in a number of Andrew Martin’s novels, and who is sent to Scarborough to investigate a suspected murder. It runs until June 14.
Playing in the 165–seater McCarthy from July 3 to August 30, Chris Monks also directs Cox and Box – Mrs Bouncer’s Legacy. Sir Arthur Sullivan’s comic opera is reinvented with a contemporary second act written by Chris Monks and composer Richard Atkinson.
Alan Ayckbourn marks his milestone birthday year with two productions. Playing in the Round from July 18 to August 31, he directs a new musical adaptation of his 1998 play The Boy Who Fell Into A Book. Paul James is responsible for musical adaptation and lyrics, with music by composers Cathy Shostak and Eric Angus.
Ten-year-old Kevin Carter falls into his book and meets his fictional hero Rockfist Slim. Together the gallant, incongruous pair set out on the journey of their lives on a quest to save the world.
The theatre then presents the world premiere of Ayckbourn’s 78th play Roundelay. The collection of five short plays - The Judge, The Novelist, The Politician, The Star, The Agent – are intended to be seen in random order on any given day, to be decided by the audience ahead of each performance.
With 120 possibilities, no single show is likely to be repeated during the run in the Round from September 4 to Ocotber 4.
Scarborough-based Alan Ayckbourn said: “New concepts and new writing have always been a unique commitment for the Stephen Joseph Theatre and I’m delighted to be a part of it and to see this continue.
“It’s something of a novelty for me as a writer to be a collaborator for once. And, joy, with The Boy Who Fell Into A Book there is not just one other collaborator but three, Cathy Shostak, Eric Angus and Paul James. Anarchy? Well, I’ll be there, strictly as director of course, to arbitrate in the unlikelihood of creative disputes!
“In Roundelay I have created a confectionary assortment of five related short plays, each with differing flavours and colours and written to be played in no particular order. Each performance will unfold differently in this unique adventure in live theatre.”
Alongside the veteran director, four exciting new UK writers are being given the chance to shine in Screenplay. This is the first production directed by Henry Bell as the theatre’s associate director and showcases work by Claudine Toutoungi, Isabel Wright, Jimmy Osborne and Kate Brower who were discovered through the Stephen Joseph’s script submission scheme and bring together four stories celebrating the history of cinema in the theatre’s original Odeon building. Screenplay plays in the McCarthy theatre from August to 30.
There will also be a range of visiting shows including the New Vic Theatre production of The Memory of Water from March 26 to April 5, Hull Truck Theatre’s A Taste Of Honey from May 20 to 24
Bookings for all shows open on March 1.