Stephen Joseph: A Chronology

  • 1921: Born on 13 June to actress Hermione Gingold and publisher Michael Joseph in Marylebone, 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 Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
  • 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; BBC Radio broadcasts excerpts from La Vie Cambridgienne on 28 July directed by Stephen Joseph.
  • 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 Mitchley; 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 Company and began summer performances 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; BBC broadcasts One Fight More by Stephen Joseph & David Campton.
  • 1957: Studio Theatre Club closed having been deemed a failure in its aims; Alan Ayckbourn joined the Studio Theatre Company as assistant stage manager 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; convinced Harold Pinter to direct The Birthday Party for Studio Theatre Ltd following its disastrous first West End run; participates in BBC Radio's Amateur Theatre series discussing open staging. (14 July).
  • 1959: Stephen Joseph participates in BBC Radio Talking Of Theatre examination of open staging in the UK (27 October).
  • 1960: Launched the UK's first in-the-round theatre festival at the Library Theatre, Scarborough.
  • 1961: Helped form the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT).
  • 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; became the first fellow of the drama department of the University of Manchester; final year of touring for the Studio Theatre Company.
  • 1963: Appointed lecturer at the University of Manchester and runs postgraduate course in drama; published The Story Of The Playhouse in England; issues an ultimatum to Scarborough Library to improve the facilities or the Library Theatre will move or close.
  • 1964: Formed Scarborough Theatre Trust, the company which to this day runs the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough; helped form the Society Of Theatre Consultants; published Scene Painting And Design.
  • 1965: Announced the Library Theatre, Scarborough, will close at the end of the 1965 summer season.
  • 1966: The quarrel over the direction of the Victoria Theatre begins, eventually leading to the end of the Studio Theatre Company 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.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.