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  • Scarborough
  • Matthew Oxtoby
  • 03-12-2015 12:18:11

Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre announces new spring season

February to May 2016

The New Vic and Oldham Coliseum present Amanda Whittington’s new ballroom drama

First major revival of Robert Holman’s German Skerries

Comedy from John Godber and Northern Broadsides

Three commemorative Shakespeare works

Plus festivals, family entertainment and a variety of one-night shows

Images attached: Spring season artwork

The Stephen Joseph Theatre has announced a lively spring season for 2016 with new productions from award-winning touring companies, children’s entertainment, four festivals, one-night shows, music, live streamings and more.

Amanda Whittington’s latest play, three Shakespeare works commemorating the Bard’s milestone anniversary, community festivals, the latest from John Godber and Northern Broadsides and the original people’s poet John Cooper Clarke are just some of the highlights of the new programme.

The season launches with a weekend of activities from 12-14 February as the theatre teams up with Scarborough’s Coastival Festival. Visitors can see The Last Supper, a unique and tasty drama presented by Reckless Sleepers, Scalby School’s production of Barry Hines’ Kes, a film festival celebrating musical icons, a rehearsed play reading and take part in free craft sessions.

Then it’s the turn of the Stephen Joseph Theatre’s OutReach department in the annual ReachOut Festival. From 15 February, this month-long takeover features a variety of community drama and music workshops for all ages, youth theatre performances of the National Theatre Connections play Bedbug and Grubstaker, a dark comedy by new writer S. Alexander Briggs, school performances, a talent showcase, local play readings, choir night and more.

The Stephen Joseph welcomes its sister venue, the New Vic, Newcastle-under-Lyme, for a week of strictly ballroom, Blackpool and backstage drama in Kiss Me Quickstep by Amanda Whittington (29 March to 2 April). Co-produced with Oldham Coliseum, this new play looks at the real lives behind the fixed smiles and fake tan of the world of ballroom dance.

The first major revival of Robert Holman’s German Skerries is on tour with Up In Arms and Orange Tree Theatre in association with Reading Rep (13 to 16 April). A friendship, a marriage, a holiday, a death – this richly resonant drama fills the stage with the meetings and departures that make us human. The production marks a debut visit to the SJT by the award-winning Up In Arms company led by director Alice Hamilton and writer Barney Norris.

John Godber returns to the Scarborough stage opposite Jane Thornton in his new comedy Shafted! (18 to 23 April). Presented by the John Godber Company and Theatre Royal Wakefield, find out what happened to miner Harry and his wife Dot 30 years after the strike in a hilarious account of those whose jobs had been taken, and communities destroyed, and their fight back after being shafted.

If you like your Shakespeare light, funny and wickedly entertaining look no further than Northern Broadsides’ new Shakespeare adaptation, The Merry Wives, in partnership with the New Vic and directed by Barrie Rutter (26 to 30 April). Sir John Falstaff is past his prime and skint! His vain and rather clumsy attempts to seduce a couple of well-to-do wives results in unimaginable consequences.

There’s more drama from the Bard with Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory who present two shows this year directed by Andrew Hilton. To celebrate ‘Shakespeare 400’ – four centuries since the great playwright died, the Bristol-based company offers the most famous play in world theatre, Hamlet in rep with the romantic comedy All’s Well That Ends Well (17 to 21 May).

In addition to week-long residencies, there is also a variety of one-night shows, from beautiful puppetry and mesmerising music in the children’s production Leaper: A Fish Tale (6 April) to John Cooper Clarke who brings good honest gags, riffs and chat (9 April) and Ventoux, the story of Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani in one of the greatest races the cycling world has ever seen (1 May).

Musically, Ensemble 360 present a glorious chamber programme (8 April), and virtuoso Spanish guitarist Eduardo Niebla is in concert accompanied by Matthew Robinson on guitar and Dharmesh Parmar on tabla (5 May).

Next year the Stephen Joseph Theatre will once again open its doors to the National Student Drama Festival (18-25 March) and will also form a new partnership with the first Scarborough Fair Festival at Redcliffe Farm to showcase a variety of work over the May Bank Holiday.

In the McCarthy cinema, the Stephen Joseph Theatre will continue to screen world class theatre, opera and ballet including the complete season from Royal Opera House and the latest productions from the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company.

Tickets for all performances and events are available from the Stephen Joseph Theatre box office on 01723 370541 and online at www.sjt.uk.com from 27 November.