July 20: Celebrating a great theatre’s anniversary

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From: Mr E Grainger, Botany Way, Nunthorpe.

ON behalf of Yorkshire theatre-goers, I offer many congratulations to all concerned in the celebration of Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre’s 60th anniversary (The Yorkshire Post, July 14).

My first introduction to theatre in the town was after cricket had ended for the day at the annual festival on the North Marine Road ground. I saw JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls, not realising at the time that a young Alan Ayckbourn was taking a starring role in the production staged in the unlikely setting of the town’s public library.

Nor did I realise that 40 or 50 years later after the use of the former boys’ high school, and then a relocation to the opulent surrounds of the town’s former Odeon Cinema, that my own son Neil would find acting work at the theatre.

And also, he would be under the watchful eye of the great man himself, Neil would appear in several productions, written, produced and directed by the theatre’s celebrated artistic director.

I recall seeing Neil tread the boards of the theatre in the round with my sister Leslie and The Champion of Paribanou, for two out of a total of four productions.

Sadly his mum Janet was too ill to see him in person and following her death almost 10 years ago has not been able to share my appreciation to Sir Alan for putting Neil through his acting paces that has since brought him appearances in TV series such as Judge John Deed, Doctors, The Bill, EastEnders, Heartbeat and more recently Hebburn. What vision the late Stephen Joseph had in making theatre in the round possible in our very own Scarborough and what a great debt we owe to Sir Alan who not only is a legend in his own lifetime but can justifiably be called the greatest dramatist of our time.

In the hunt for clarity

From: Jack Brown, Lamb Lane, Monk Bretton, Barnsley.

BOTH your editorial and Peter Bottomley MP draw the wrong political conclusion (The Yorkshire Post, July 15) from the SNP’s actions over hunting. Nicola Sturgeon made it clear in interview that she had been affected by public pressure.

Given the murky waters of devolution she was probably unaware of the difference in Scottish law until the amendment was mooted.

From: ME Wright, Harrogate.

PREDICTABLY, the SNP’s involvement in the English fox hunting vote has produced outraged accusations of “foul play” (The Yorkshire Post, July 15), but doesn’t it show that Nicola Sturgeon is already fully tuned in to the yah-boo, pot-and-kettle politics of Westminster? That a UK party reneges on doing/not doing something which it once said it would/would not do comes as no surprise. Funding of the Leeds tram system springs to mind or currently, the “paused” upgrading of the North’s railways.

The Keynesian model is best

From: MJ Stones, Harrogate Road, Eccleshill, Bradford.

I HAVE read the letter from Jack Brown of Barnsley with interest and amusement (The Yorkshire Post, July 15). I agree that on balance Keynesian economics are the best overall, but within a full capitalist society such as the USA and this country, if the unions will allow it.

It is his reference to Russia and China I find amusing, the latter in particular has mixed left wing politics with capitalist economics. In both countries the workers do not have the freedom to hold their countries to ransom, unlike the union he is a member of, which seems hell bent on causing as much trouble as possible to the rest of society if it can.

Questions on Spitfire tanks

From: Dennis Whitaker, Baildon, Shipley.

I READ with interest the design flaw Allen Jenkins alluded to in the Spitfire, but his letter (The Yorkshire Post, July 16) raises some questions.

Some Second World War bombers had self-sealing fuel tanks. Were Spitfire tanks self-sealing? Secondly, the flying characteristics of Spitfires were said to be superior to the German aircraft, which presumably accounts for the positioning of the tanks. Having read Geoffrey Wellums’ First Light, it is clear his ability to outmanoeuvre an ME109, especially in his first dog-fight, saved his life.

Entertaining apostrophes

From: William Dixon Smith, Welland Rise, Acomb, York.

SIMON Tingle (The Yorkshire Post, July 16) asks if the genitive apostrophe in the headline “Cancer patients afraid to waste their GP’s time” is misplaced. No, it is not. Even if it were, common sense would prevail, as with the suppressed verb.

The clumsy avoidance of the apostrophe with the intensive “sole GP” offered as clarification simply introduces an ambiguity not apparent in the original. Moral: leave well alone.

Near where I live is a smart establishment which promises to supply “Fish, chips and pea’s”. This is the true function of the genitive apostrophe: to provide entertainment.