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A Diamond Year at The Stephen Joseph Theatre

Heros Welcome

Stephen Joseph Theatre is 60 this year and at the heart of the birthday celebrations are globally-renowned hits from its past and the world premiere of Alan Ayckbourn’s 79th play.

The season opens with Cox & Box – Mrs Bouncer’s Legacy in The McCarthy on various dates from 21 to 30 May. Sir Arthur Sullivan’s one-act comic opera is reinvented by SJT Artistic Director Chris Monks and composer Richard Atkinson with a brand new second act: a cross-dressed Victorian romp gives way to a thoroughly modern take on Gilbert & Sullivan inspired musical satire. The comedy musical premiered at the SJT in 2014 and will this year tour to Sheffield, Middlesbrough and Wakefield.

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 19 June to 2 August before transferring to the West End by special arrangement with PW Productions. Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of Susan Hill’s ghostly novella began life as a low budget Christmas filler staged in the bar at the SJT’s former Westwood base. Since that debut 28 years ago, it has enthralled over 7 million people worldwide with its unique blend of suspense, drama and bold stagecraft.

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 9 July to 26 September. 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.

The official opening night of Confusions on 14 July 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 6 to 27 August (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. Associate Director Henry Bell aims to show the comedy in a new light… but still with plenty of fog!

Ayckbourn’s second show of the season is a brand 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 4 September to 3 October.

There will also be a range of 60th anniversary events  - Tea Time Talks with special guests, exhibitions and more - and visiting shows at the SJT this summer including drama and music as well as films and special events.

To book tickets and for further information on the season and upcoming anniversary events at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, visit www.sjt.uk.com or call Box Office on 01723 370541. Booking opens on Monday 9 March.
A Diamond Year at The Stephen Joseph Theatre Reviewed by Editor on 10:12:00 Rating: 5

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