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  • Scarborough
  • Matthew Oxtoby
  • 29-09-2015 13:38:09

Comedy, dance, drama, music and a box of festive delights are on offer from the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the upcoming autumn/winter season to top off its 60th anniversary year.

Following the world premiere of Alan Ayckbourn’s 79th play, Hero’s Welcome, which runs from 4 September to 3 October, and the exclusive gala reading of the playwright’s new work, The Divide, on 27 September, the Stephen Joseph Theatre welcomes a variety of visiting companies and productions from across the country from October through to January.

Highlights include the latest from Northern Broadsides, John Godber and West Yorkshire Playhouse as well as the Stephen Joseph Theatre’s staging of its Sixty by Sixty audio play project and its 2015 festive production, Hansel and Gretel.

For Christmas, the SJT brings Grimm’s famous tale to life with a family feast of entertainment in Hansel and Gretel. This magical retelling, adapted by Mike Kenny, writer of the award-winning stage adaptation The Railway Children, is staged in-the-round with an enchanting a capella soundtrack and runs at the SJT from 10 to 27 December, directed by SJT Associate Director Henry Bell.

Northern Broadsides returns following its critically acclaimed production of King Lear earlier this year. In partnership with Harrogate Theatre, the company presents Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale from 20 to 24 October. Directed by Conrad Nelson, The Winter’s Tale will transport you from the dark court of a jealous king to the bright sunshine of a rustic festival, where country girls sing saucy songs and a prince can utter marriage vows to a lowly shepherd’s daughter…and we believe it.

The theatre is delighted to welcome West Yorkshire Playhouse on its debut tour to the SJT from 28 to 31 October with Beryl. Maxine’s Peake’s witty, charming and critically acclaimed play celebrates the life of an unsung sporting hero. The play looks back at the extraordinary sporting achievements of the Leeds-born cyclist Beryl Burton who cycled her way into the record books becoming the greatest woman on two wheels.

For its 60th anniversary year, the SJT has recorded Sixty by Sixty, 60 sixty-second audio plays written by 20 established, 20 emerging and 20 community writers to celebrate the company’s history of new writing. The plays will be available to listen to on the website www.sjt.uk.com in the autumn, and there is also the chance to see all 60 plays in an exclusive performance directed by Artistic Director Chris Monks on 31 October.

The John Godber Company and Theatre Royal Wakefield present Godber’s scorching new comedy Poles Apart from 16 to 21 November. Godber examines the role of the theatre in the life of the working man in an uncompromising, unflinching and deliriously funny play looking at culture clashes up-close and personal from the top of a scaff tower.

From Paines Plough and Pentabus Theatre comes the hilarious, moving and beautifully directed Every Brilliant Thing, a new play with Jonny Donahoe based on true and untrue stories about depression and the lengths we will go to for those we love (16 and 17 October).

Deco Days, the theatre’s annual tribute to its art deco Odeon building, features Swinging at the Cotton Club with The Jiving Lindy Hoppers and Harry Strutters’ Hot Rhythm Orchestra (7 November) and celebrates the femme fatale in themed workshops and film screenings from the era (6 and 7 November).

Alongside Hansel and Gretel and to get into the festive spirit, Clive Francis repeats his acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company performance as Ebenezer Scrooge in his one-man adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (3 and 4 December), and Dyad Productions resurrects a Victorian tradition by presenting three seasonal tales of terror to scintillate the gooseflesh in Christmas Gothic (18 and 19 December).

There is also a diverse programme of one-night-only shows including The Bogus Woman which features Coronation Street’s Krissi Bohn in a heart-wrenching story of an African woman who arrives in England seeking safety and asylum (9 October). That’s Amore (10 October) is a hilarious, fast-paced and passionate piece of physical theatre exploring the world and culture of romantic love; Jim Crace’s award-winning historical novel The Gift of Stones is brought to life by the imaginative North Country Theatre (27 October); contemporary African dance troupe Tavaziva presentAfricarmen loosely based on George Bizet’s Carmen (4 November); andConfirmation, winner of The Scotsman Fringe First Award, is a show about the gulfs we can’t talk across (5 November).

For music lovers, there is everything from the Ugandan Pearl of Africa Choir presented by Scarborough Rotary Club (7 October) to Scarborough’s own Tom Townsend (8 October), a special concert in memory of Peter Cropper who founded Music in the Round (10 November), folk duo The Unthanks (14 November) and SJT festive favourites Holly at Christmas (5 December) and, in the new year, the Big Screen Trio (2 January) andHammonds Saltaire Band (9 and 10 January).

The SJT OutReach department presents work by and for the community inPlays & Pinot, a series of rehearsed play readings by local writers on the theme of Scarborough Out of Season (20 and 21 September), and the Stephen Joseph Youth Theatre presents two children’s favourite Tiny Time Tales series - Jim of the Garden (10 October and 14 November) andSwotty McPhearson’s Christmas Quiz (12 to 17 December).

The new programme of live streaming includes The Beaux' Stratagem (3 September), Hamlet (15 October), Jane Eyre (8 December) from the National Theatre; Romeo and Juliet (22 September), The Marriage of Figaro (5 October), a mixed ballet programme (12 November),Cavalleria Rusticana (10 December) and The Nutcracker (16 December) from the Royal Opera House; Henry V (21 October) from the Royal Shakespeare Company; The Rocky Horror Show (17 September);The Battle of Britain at 75 (18 September); and The Importance of Being Earnest (8 October) from the Vaudeville.

Tickets for all events are available from the Stephen Joseph Theatre box office on 01723 370541 and online at www.sjt.uk.com.

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