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.

We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to ensure the best experience on this website.