Stephen Joseph: Obituaries

TABS Newsletter
November 1967

Stephen Joseph
Stephen Joseph, whose death at the age of forty-six was announced last month, will be sadly missed by all who knew him and not least by those who had only met him in his articles in the pages of TABS or in the many books of his we reviewed from time to time. His writing style was very like the man himself, a stimulating director and teacher boiling over with enthusiasm, but all the time one was conscious that here was an expert who really knew his subject.

Literature and acting were literally in Stephen’s blood and he studied widely spending much time in the United States. He was a trained scene designer which came as something of a surprise due to his apparent espousal to a theatre with no scenery. His spirit of adventure got him the D.S.O. with his command in the R.N.V.R. during World War II and got him into battles of another kind afterwards. He was the expert on how to start and run theatre on the slenderest of financial and physical resources. This made his writings helpful to a very wide circle indeed. The booklet he wrote at my request in 1962 is a very typical example of his lively style and of the economy of means suggested to practice what he preached.

Stephen Joseph founded the successful Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent (a neat conversion by him of a cinema into a theatre-in-the-round of 345 seats) and although managerial dissent featured in the press a while back we should remember that Stephen was by then a very sick man indeed - an active man caged by his bed. What his friends, and he had so many, would like to remember him by would be a permanent theatre for his Studio Company in Scarborough. The tours of this company and the many annual summer seasons in the ingeniously converted but cramped quarters of the library in Scarborough were most characteristic of this enthusiastic pioneer. A “Stephen Joseph” theatre, in the round, in that town would be a true and deserved memorial.

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