A Note on Copyright

A Round Town has tried, wherever possible, to correctly identify the copyright owner of all images and articles reproduced within. If there are any issues or incorrect attributions, please contact Simon Murgatroyd via the Contact page and corrections can be made.

Issues Regarding Theatre in the Round Images and Copyright

One of the greatest difficulties with regard to reproducing images from the early years of theatre in the round in Scarborough is the complexity of the copyright issue. Traditionally, photographs of Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, have been credited to Scarborough Theatre Trust. However, this isn't entirely accurate although has been useful as a placeholder for enquiries.

The exact provenance of many of the photographs from 1955 to 1964 is, however, unknown and likely will never be resolved. The documentation does not exist nor do three of the four companies involved still operate. It is nigh on impossible to know where rights have been transferred or passed to with any degree of certainty with few exceptions

In 1955,
Studio Theatre Ltd was founded by Stephen Joseph and ran Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre until 1962. During this period the majority of photographs relating to the company were taken either by Ken Boden (see The Exceptions below) or professional photographers commissioned by Stephen - probably not Studio Theatre Ltd itself as there was no publicity department and very little money. This instantly raises the issue of whether Studio Theatre Ltd or Stephen Joseph is the copyright holder (prior to 1988, copyright belongs to the commissioning body).

In 1962, Studio Theatre Ltd moved from Scarborough to Stoke-on-Trent. There is no documentation indicating what, if any, material held by Studio Theatre Ltd passed on to
Theatre in the Round Ltd, which took over productions in Scarborough. It is believed the vast majority of material stayed with Studio Theatre Ltd and holdings within the Victoria Theatre Archive at the University of Staffordshire do tend to support this theory.

However, Studio Theatre Ltd was wound down in 1967 and replaced by Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire Theatre Trust Limited the same year. It is believed the majority of material transferred to the new trust except for a select amount of material which was returned to Stephen Joseph and became part of his estate in the same year, passing onto the John Ryland's Library at the University of Manchester. So convoluted is the copyright issue with regard to Stephen Joseph, the Rylands Library has historically not granted reproduction rights of material held in the Stephen Joseph Collection.

Back in Scarborough, Theatre in the Round Ltd lasted two years before being replaced by
Scarborough Theatre Trust Ltd in 1964. Again, there is no surviving documentation as to what rights and materials transferred over from one company to the other. Whilst it can be relatively safely assumed everything from autumn 1962 to 1964 transferred from Theatre in the Round Ltd to the new trust, again there is absolutely no certainty any rights relating to Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre between 1955 and 1962 passed to Scarborough Theatre Trust Ltd.

Just to confuse matters, Stephen Joseph closed Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre at the end of the 1965 season. The following season, an amateur season was organised by Ken Boden with the British Drama League. In 1967, Stephen agreed to allow Ken to re-open the theatre and Scarborough Theatre Ltd was essentially sold by Stephen for a nominal sum and re-launched as, essentially, a new company. Surviving documentation indicates Stephen cleared all debt as part of the agreement, but there is no indication whether he kept materials relating to the company or whether they transferred with the new itineration of the company.

What makes the situation even more confused is practically nothing in archive at the Stephen Joseph Theatre itself is believed to have been held earlier than 1988. That year, the press officer of the company - for reasons best known to himself - destroyed the majority of the theatre's historical archive. Practically all documentation, programmes, posters, newspaper cuttings and photographs were lost. The archive today - which is in remarkably good condition considering this - was restored from the ground up by Bob Watson during the 1990s and early 2000s.

There is very little original material which would have been held by the theatre from the first two decades of its existence with Bob having sourced replacements and copies from other sources such as the Ayckbourn Archive, Scarborough Library and his own contacts. The result being, next to nothing is known about the providence of anything up to the mid 1980s within The Bob Watson Archive at the SJT, particularly relating to the years 1955 to 1965.

As a result of this, A Round Town has credited photographs to where it is believed the copyright originally lies or to whom it can be verified it was passed down to. As a result, copyright is noted for Studio Theatre Ltd, Theatre in the Round Ltd, Scarborough Theatre Trust Ltd, Haydonning Ltd, Scarborough Libraries Collection and Scarborough Museums and Galleries Collection.

The website will update the situation with regard to copyright if further discoveries are made in the future.

The Exceptions

What we do know with certainty is the provenance of the majority of production photographs from theatre in the round during the early years. The majority of surviving photographs taken between 1956 and 1964 were taken by the theatre's general manager, Ken Boden. He took personal photographs which he allowed to be used to publicise the plays and he kept copyright of; Ken was apparently never formally commissioned to take the photographs so the copyright, in all probability, stayed with him.

During the 1980s, Ken distributed the rights and negatives to these photos between
Alan Ayckbourn and the Scarborough Theatre Trust. To Alan Ayckbourn, he gave all the negatives and rights to photographs of all Alan's plays from 1959 (The Square Cat) to 1973 (The Norman Conquests) as well as all photographs he'd taken of the playwright himself and a selection of photographs of Stephen Joseph, Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre and the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round. These are all copyright of Haydonning Ltd and held in the Ayckbourn Archive at the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York. All rights to the images and the ability to license them will be transferred to the university at some point in the future.

Photographs of all other productions (i.e. non Ayckbourn plays) by Ken Boden at Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre were passed to Scarborough Theatre Trust and are held in The Bob Watson Archive at the
Stephen Joseph Theatre. There are also a limited number of pictures of Stephen Joseph and the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round which were donated by Ken. These are copyright of Scarborough Theatre Trust Ltd. This website has reflected these rights in credits of the relevant photographs.

Simon Murgatroyd, June 2023