THERE will be no jokes about who may be sitting in the cheap seats when it comes to the opening night of five plays at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre next year - as tickets will be sold for just 60p.
The theatre company celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2015 and is launching its celebrations by offering 600 tickets for around the price of a pint of milk - but for one day only.
The promotion is also a chance to for people who have never experienced live theatre to try it for the first time at a hugely discounted rate. Tickets will go on sale on January 26, Blue Monday, which is supposedly the most depressing day of the year due to low mood, the time since Christmas and mounting debt levels, and include five of the summer season’s biggest productions.
There will be 60 specially-priced tickets available for both the first preview performance and the official opening night of plays including a special 60th anniversary production of The Woman In Black directed by Robin Herford prior to its West End transfer in June and the return of the company’s 2014 comedy musical Cox & Box – Mrs Bouncer’s Legacy, before it heads out on a national tour, in May.
Alan Ayckbourn, who began working with the company in 1957 and was artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre for 37 years, will direct a revival of his 1974 play Confusions in July and his latest play, Hero’s Welcome in September. The heavily discounted tickets will be available for both.
The fifth play for which 60p seats will be sold is Tim Firth’s Neville’s Island which had its world premiere at the theatre in 1992, which will be revived in August.
Artistic Director Chris Monks said: “At the Stephen Joseph Theatre we’re incredibly proud to celebrate our 60th anniversary in 2015, it’s a feat which could not have been possible without the great support we’ve received over the years. This is our gift to the town and our way of saying thank you.
“It’s also a fantastic opportunity for people who may never have been to the theatre before to give it a try and we encourage everyone to come along on the day.”
While the theatre company is celebrating its 60th anniversary, it has only been in its current venue since April 1996 - however, its traditions of using theatre in the round go back to 1955, when it was established by Stephen Joseph.
It went on to become internationally-renowned for specialising in new writing.
The anniversary year features no less than 60 events, including the world premiere of Hero’s Welcome, original SJT productions and special fringe events including play readings, talks, exhibitions and master classes.
A £350,000 renovation project to create new studio space and on-site prop and wardrobe facilities will begin at the theatre in January.
The theatre received funding from the Arts Council, along with grants and donations, to transform its building, the former Odeon in Westborough.
New studio space will be used by the company’s OutReach department to expand it community work to offer more children, adults and the elderly the chance to get involved in the arts.
The space should be ready for use in May next year.
The 60p tickets go on sale at 10am on Monday January 26 on a first come, first served basis, and must be booked in person from the theatre’s box office in Westborough, Scarborough.