The Ayckbourn Archive: The Stephen Joseph Theatre

These images are drawn from the Ayckbourn Archive and The Bob Watson Archive at the Stephen Joseph Theatre and feature some notable moments from Alan's long association with the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, since 1957. Click on an image to enlarge with pertinent details.

Alan Ayckbourn & the Stephen Joseph Theatre

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Title: Library Theatre Company (1957)
Photographer: Unknown (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: The earliest company photograph featuring Alan Ayckbourn, during his first season at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in 1957; the year he joined. Stephen Joseph - Artistic Director & Alan's most influential mentor - can be seen front row, far right.

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Title: Alan Ayckbourn (1971)
Photographer: Unknown (© Haydonning Ltd)
Archive: Borthwick Institute for Archives

Description: Alan Ayckbourn poses outside the entrance to the Library Theatre, Scarborough in 1971; the year before he was appointed Artistic Director of the company.

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Title: Library Theatre (1975)
Photographer: Unknown (© Haydonning Ltd)
Archive: Borthwick Institute for Archives

Description: Alan Ayckbourn outside the entrance to the Library Theatre, Scarborough in 1975; the final full year the company spent at the venue before its move to its second home, the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round.

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Title: Final Night (1976)
Photographer: Alec Russell (© Haydonning Ltd)
Archive: Borthwick Institute for Archives

Description: Alan Ayckbourn taking the signage down for the final time following the final performance at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, during January 1976.

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Title: Robert Powell (c.1977)
Photographer: Unknown (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: The actor Robert Powell worked with Alan both at the Library Theatre and at the BBC. Here he's visiting the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round during its formative years.

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Title: Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round (1978)
Photographer: Unknown (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: The move to the company's second home at the former Westwood County Modern School was supposed to only be temporary. Two years in, it became obvious it would be a more permanent home than expected. At which point, the venue's title was changed in 1978 from Theatre in the Round at Westwood to the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round.

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Title: Ben Travers (1978)
Photographer: Unknown (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: In 1978, the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round was visited by the master farceur and creator of the 'Aldwych farces', Ben Travers - here pictured with Alan Ayckbourn who was directing Travers' Rookery Nook.

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Title: Peter Hall (c.1978)
Photographer: Unknown (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: Peter Hall - Artistic Director of the National Theatre visited Scarborough on several occasions (most notably in 1978 when he fled in secret to Alan's house in the town to avoid the media's interest in his relationship with Nicki Frei!). Here he poses with one of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round T-shirts.

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Title: Michael Cashman (1984)
Photographer: Alec Russell (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: Many actors of note have worked at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round, such as Michael Cashman - who also wrote the play Before Your Very Eyes. Michael would later find fame on the TV soap opera EastEnders before becoming a prominent MEP and becoming one the UK's most prominent gay rights activists.

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Title: 25 Years! (1984)
Photographer: Alec Russell (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: 1984 marked the 25th anniversary of Alan Ayckbourn's debut as a playwright with The Square Cat. Here he poses with actors Russell Dixon with a cake to mark the anniversary.

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Title: The Occasionals (1987)
Photographer: Alec Russell (© Haydonning Ltd)
Archive: Borthwick Institute for Archives

Description: It is no secret that Alan Ayckbourn is a cricket fan and during the 1980s, the company had its own team, the Stephen Joseph Occasionals; several actors have joked they were picked less for their acting skills, than for their aptitude as bowlers! Alan frequently played wicket keeper for the team as can be seen here.

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Title: Michael Gambon (1990)
Photographer: Unknown (© The Scarborough News)
Archive: The Ayckbourn Archive

Description: During the autumn 1990 season, actors Michael Gambon joined the company at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round to appear in Shakespeare's Othello and Alan's Taking Steps. Michael has a long association with Alan, having appeared in more Ayckbourn West End productions than any other actor.

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Title: David Harewood (1991)
Photographer: Unknown (© The Scarborough News)
Archive: The Ayckbourn Archive

Description: In 1991, Alan Ayckbourn directed Peter Robert Scott's One Over The Eight at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round; a play set around a rowing team. This publicity shot features Alan with Saskia Wickham and David Harewood early in his acting career. The production also featured Mark Addy in his first professional theatre role.

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Title: Another Final Night (1996)
Photographer: Unknown (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: Alan sat in the audience for the final night at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round during February 1996.

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Title: Alan Bennet (1996)
Photographer: Unknown (© The Scarborough News)
Archive: The Ayckbourn Archive

Description: In 1996, Alan guided the move of the company to its present home, the Stephen Joseph Theatre. The second production staged by the company was Alan Bennet's Forty Years On and here the two Alans can be seen together in the new theatre.

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Title: It Could Be (1997)
Photographer: Unknown (© The Scarborough News)
Archive: The Ayckbourn Archive

Description: In 1997, Alan Ayckbourn revived his whodunnit play It Could Be Any One Of Us at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Here he is photographed with two of the stars, Juliet Mills (front) and Janet Dibley.

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Title: A Trio of Playwrights (1998)
Photographer: Tony Bartholomew (© Tony Bartholomew)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: During 1998 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Alan programmed the 10x10 season featuring 10 actors in 10 world or British premieres. The season also notably included new plays by this trio of famed playwrights (left to right): Tim Firth, Alan Ayckbourn & John Godber.

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Title: Sabine Azema (1999)
Photographer: Tony Bartholomew (© Tony Bartholomew)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: Alan Ayckbourn was a great friend of the French film auteur Alain Resnais. When Resnais married the actress Sabine Azema in Scarborough with Alan and his wife as witnesses, Alan's wedding gift to Sabine was a role in his new play House & Garden. Here Alan & Sabine are on the set of Garden.

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Title: Harold Pinter (2003)
Photographer: Tony Bartholomew (© Tony Bartholomew)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: Alan Ayckbourn was friends with the playwright Harold Pinter ever since Pinter directed Alan in his professional directorial debut of The Birthday Party during 1958 in Scarborough. In 2003, he visited the theatre for a platform talk at the Stephen Joseph Theatre and reunited with Alan.

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Title: In The Round (2005)
Photographer: Tony Bartholomew (© Tony Bartholomew)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: Alan Ayckbourn relaxing in The Round at the Stephen Joseph Theatre during one of the Ayckbourn And The Round annual events.

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