Stephen Joseph: A Timeline / Chronology
(© Haydonning Ltd)
- 1921: Born, Michael Stephen Lionel Joseph, on 13 June to actress Hermione Gingold and publisher Michael Joseph in London
- 1926: Hermione Gingold divorced Michael Joseph; Michael remarried to Edna Frost; attended preparatory school at Burstow, Surrey
- 1932 (approx): Attended Clayesmore Public School, Dorset
- 1937: Left Sixth Form after two months to join the Central School Of Speech And Drama
- 1939: Graduated from Central School with a First Class certificate
- 1941: Volunteered for service in the Royal Navy
- 1942: Commissioned into the RNVR
- 1944: On the HMS Newport, Stephen dived overboard to save the ship mascot, Tish the dog – the RSPCA awarded him their Silver Medal; aboard the HMS Avonvale in the Adriatic, Stephen’s prompt actions as a Gunnery Officer earned him the Distinguished Service Cross
- 1946: Secured early release from the Royal Navy; taught at Heatherdown Preparatory School
- 1947: Began studies for an MA in English Literature at Jesus College, Cambridge; joined the Footlights Society
- 1948: Graduated from Cambridge with a 2.2 degree; first professional job as a producer at Lowestoft Repertory Theatre
- 1949: Director, Designer and Business Manager at Frinton Summer Theatre; saw theatre-in-the-round for the first time with an amateur production directed by Jack Mitcheley; accepted a teaching post at Central School Of Speech And Drama
- 1951: Took a year’s unpaid study leave to study for a degree in drama, majoring in playwriting, at the University Of Iowa; recorded new theatre forms in the USA with a grant from the Elmgrant Trust
- 1952: Returned from America to resume teaching at Central School
- 1953: Set up an evening lecture-series “The Art Of The Playwright” at Central School; began search for a space to form an in-the-round company
- 1954: John Woods suggested the Public Library, Scarborough, as being a suitable venue for theatre-in-the-round
- 1955: Formed the Studio Theatre Ltd company and began summer performances at Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre, Scarborough (14 July); formed the Studio Theatre Club for weekly winter performances in London (11 September)
- 1956: Worked part-time at ITV
- 1957: Studio Theatre Club closed having been deemed a failure in its aims; Alan Ayckbourn joined the Studio Theatre company as ASM and actor
- 1958: Stephen encouraged Alan Ayckbourn to write his first play, The Square Cat, which opened in 1959 in Scarborough; established a winter touring programme with the Studio Theatre Company, predominantly to towns lacking a theatre
- 1961: Assisted the formation of the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT); final year of touring for the Studio Theatre Company
- 1962: Plans to build a new theatre at the Potteries, Stoke-on-Trent, collapse, but the town’s Victoria Cinema is converted into the Victoria Theatre - the first permanent in-the-round in the UK (9 October); Studio Theatre Company transferred to Stoke-on-Trent; formed Theatre in the Round Ltd to continue plays in Scarborough (late '62 / early '63); became the first fellow of the drama department of the University of Manchester
- 1963: Created and ran the postgraduate degree in drama at the University Of Manchester; published The Story Of The Playhouse in England
- 1964: Helped found the Society Of Theatre Consultants; published Scene Painting And Design; founded Scarborough Theatre Trust to run the Library Theatre, Scarborough.
- 1965: Announced Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, was to close
- 1966: The quarrel over the direction of the Victoria Theatre started, eventually leading to the end of Studio Theatre Ltd and the theatre passing into the hands of a local trust; diagnosed with terminal cancer
- 1967: Published Theatre In The Round; died on Thursday 5 October at Longwestgate, Scarborough, aged 46
- 1968: New Theatre Forms published
- 1978: Theatre In The Round at Westwood - the second home of the company he founded in Scarborough in 1955 - is renamed the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round (1 April).
- 1996: The Stephen Joseph Theatre opens in Scarborough.
- 2017: The 50th anniversary of the death is marked in a series of events at the Stephen Joseph Theatre (24 September).
- 2021: 100th anniversary of the birth of Stephen Joseph (13 June).