Stephen Joseph: The Man Who Brought Theatre in the Round to Scarborough

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Stephen Joseph
(© Haydonning Ltd)

Stephen Joseph was a remarkable British theatre pioneer who created the UK's first professional theatre in the round company and theatre and is also, inarguably, the single most influential figure in Alan Ayckbourn's life.

In 1955, Stephen founded the UK's first professional theatre in the round company in Scarborough with
Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre. In 1962, he founded the UK's first permanent 'round' venue at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent. His role in helping to found the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) and the Societ of Theatre Consultants (SOTC) meant his many ideas about new theatre forms have continued to be influential over the decades since his death.

Stephen was also a mentor to
Alan Ayckbourn, who guided and encouraged Alan early in his career and as was the first person to professionally employ Alan as both playwright and director. The significance of Stephen to Alan can be seen when Alan Ayckbourn took over the running of Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre in 1969, ensuring Stephen's theatrical legacy survived.

Stephen Joseph was a British theatre pioneer during the 1950s and 1960s and this section explores Stephen Joseph's achievements, his theatrical achievements and its impact on Scarborough, his influence on Alan Ayckbourn as well as offering a brief overview of this influential figure in British theatre.

Who was Stephen Joseph?

All original material within this website © Simon Murgatroyd Ltd except where noted all rights reserved. With thanks to Dr Paul Elsam for his help with the original Stephen Joseph site from which this section of A Round Town was adapted.