The Ayckbourn Archive: The Stephen Joseph Theatre

These images are drawn from The Bob Watson Archive at the Stephen Joseph Theatre and feature images of the three homes of the company between 1955 and the present day: The Library Theatre (1955 to 1976), the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round (1976 to 1996) and the Stephen Joseph Theatre (1996 to present).

Stephen Joseph Theatre Venues

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Title: Library Theatre (1971)
Photographer: Unknown (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: Alan Ayckbourn stood outside the Library Theatre, Scarborough, during 1971. The venue was home to the UK's first professional theatre-in-the-round company, founded by Stephen Joseph, from 1955 to 1976.

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Title: Library Theatre (1974)
Photographer: Unknown (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: A rare colour photograph of the outside of the Library Theatre, Scarborough, during the 1974 winter season.

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Title: Library Theatre Interior (c.1956)
Photographer: Unknown (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: An early photograph of the round stage space created in the concert room on the first floor of Scarborough Library as the Library Theatre by Stephen Joseph in 1955. The concert room can still be visited today and is still recognisably the same room as seen here.

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Title: Library Theatre foyer (1976)
Photographer: Unknown (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: Another rare image of the Library Theatre; this time the foyer area during the company's final year at this venue.

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

Description: The second home of the company was the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round. This was converted from the former Westwood County Modern School (colloquially known as Westwood) and the theatre occupied the ground floor space. The company was in this venue from 1976 to 1996.

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Title: Theatre in the Round (c.1980s)
Photographer: Alec Russell (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: The theatre-in-the-round space at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round. This was based on ideas and designs by Stephen Joseph and Alan Ayckbourn and features three 'vomitoriums' (stage entrances) in a 'Y' shaped configuration; Stephen Joseph regarded this as the best configuration for a theatre-in-the-round space.

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Title: The Studio (c.1976)
Photographer: Unknown (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: The Studio space at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round prior to the addition of the Studio end-stage space (where the windows are). This space was used as a gallery / cafe space during non-performance times. The Woman In Black premiered in this space in 1987.

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Title: Bar (c.1988)
Photographer: Alec Russell (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: The bar area at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round with the company's programmes hung above the bar space. The right hand corner by the bar was known as Pseud's Corner.

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Title: Stephen Joseph Theatre (2019)
Photographer: Tony Bartholomew (© Tony Bartholomew)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: A photograph of the present home of the company, the Stephen Joseph Theatre, during 2019 marking the restoration of the 'neon' lights on the exterior of the building. This venue is a £5.2m conversion of Scarborough's former Odeon cinema and the company has been based here since 1996.

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Title: The Round (c.1999)
Photographer: Tony Bartholomew (© Tony Bartholomew)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: The Round at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. The dimensions of the stage are the same as at the previous venue, but there is one extra row of seating. Technologically it is in a different world though, with a trampoline mesh to access the lighting grid and a stage lift enabling easier rotation of sets in repertory. The lighting system was converted to LED during 2019.

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Title: The McCarthy (c.1999)
Photographer: Tony Bartholomew (© Tony Bartholomew)
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: The McCarthy is the end-stage space at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. It is also adaptable to allow cinema and live streaming. The space was planned by Alan Ayckbourn to be a complementary space to The Round and never a secondary space.

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Title: The Bob Watson Archive (2019)
Photographer: Simon Murgatroyd (© Simon Murgatroyd)
Archive: The Ayckbourn Digital Archive

Description: A detail from the small exhibition area in The Bob Watson Archive at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Featured is Monty the gnome from Alan Ayckbourn's Neighbourhood Watch and the creature mask from Callisto#7.

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