The Library Theatre - Design

The Library Theatre, Scarborough, was Stephen Joseph's first practical attempt at a theatre-in-the-round space and home to the UK's first professional in-the-round company. It opened on 14 July 1955.
The venue was based in the Concert Room on the first floor of Scarborough Library and was a temporary build - the theatre was seasonal throughout its 21 years at the venue. The theatre was based on portable rostra for the seating (which also facilitated touring of the space) and was limited to the two existing entrances to the room. The venue held 248 seats.

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Stephen Joseph’s sketch of how he perceived the Scarborough Library’s Concert Room would be laid out for theatre-in-the-round. The sketch was included in a letter to the Chief Librarian William Smettem from 23 February 1955. (Copyright: Studio Theatre Ltd)

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A sketch by Stephen Joseph showing the interior of the Concert Room at Scarborough Library as it would appear when converted to a theatre-in-the-round space. (Copyright: Studio Theatre Ltd)

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A more detailed drawing of the layout of the Library Theatre in Scarborough, following its opening in July 1955, which was used in various promotional leaflets advertising the work of Studio Theatre Ltd. (Copyright: Studio Theatre Ltd)

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A photograph from the Library Theatre’s first year in 1955 - possibly showing the set for its initial production Circle Of Love. (Copyright: Studio Theatre Ltd)

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A plan for the layout of the Library Theatre in the Concert Room at Scarborough Library. The plan shows the location of the raised rostra which held the seats as well as heights, stairs and the various exits from the room. This plan dates back to circa 1964. (Copyright: Studio Theatre Ltd)

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd. Images copyright: Studio Theatre Ltd.