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Celebrity Tea Time Talks At The SJT

Alan Ayckbourn

Alan Ayckbourn, Tim Firth and Susan Hill are some of the famous names you can hear from at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in July.

As the theatre marks its 60th anniversary in 2015, there are special events taking place throughout the year alongside its celebratory summer season.

A revival of the stage adaptation of Susan Hill's ghostly novella The Woman In Black is currently running until August. Upcoming summer productions also include a revival of the 1974 comedy Confusions and the premiere of Hero's Welcome both written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, and a revival of Tim Firth's hit comedy Neville's Island.

The authors of the works will be sharing their stories about their career, inspiration and associations with the SJT and the town in individual Tea Time Talks. Alan Ayckbourn will be in conversation on Sunday 12 July at 3pm, followed by Tim Firth on Wednesday 15 July at 4pm and Susan Hill on Thursday 16 July at 4pm.

Alan Ayckbourn first joined the company in 1957 and was Artistic Director from 1972 to 2009. He is the author of 79 stage plays and in recent years he has been inducted into American Theatre's Hall of Fame, received the 2010 Critics' Circle Award for Services to the Arts and became the first British playwright to receive both Oliver and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards. He was knighted for services to theatre in 1997.

Tim Firth's Neville's Island was first produced in 1992 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre and was nominated for the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best Comedy. His work across film, TV, stage and music includes The Safari Party, Calendar Girls, the award-winning musicals Our House and This Is My Family, Kinky Boots, Preston Front and Sign of the Times. He is currently working with Gary Barlow on a stage musical, The Girls.

Tim Firth said:
"Coming back to Scarborough is never a hardship. It is the town in which I have had the best fish and chips, the most memorable ice cream and most pivotal theatrical experiences of my working life."
Susan Hill will be discussing her work and inspiration, much of which comes from growing up in Scarborough. Her writing career has encompassed acclaimed literary novels, ghost stories, children's books, detective novels and memoirs. She has won the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham and John Llewellyn Rhys Awards, as well as having been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The event will be followed by a book signing.

Talks with Alan Ayckbourn and Susan Hill will be led by Paul Allen who is Ayckbourn's biographer. He presented Radio 4's Kaleidoscope for 15 years and has written plays for stage and radio including the highly successful adaption of Brassed Off.

Tim Firth will be in conversation with Kate Fenton who began her career as a features producer for BBC Radio 4. She now lives near Whitby and has written six novels.

Tickets for all Tea Time Talks are £6.50 and include a 20 per cent donation towards the theatre's 7th Wave Fund which supports new writing. Tickets are available from the box office by calling 01723 370541 and online at

Celebrity Tea Time Talks At The SJT Reviewed by Editor on 19:40:00 Rating: 5

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