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Refurbishment Plans Approved for Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre

Friday, 23 February 2024 15:45

By Anttoni James Numminen, Local Democracy Reporter

Plans for a major refurbishment of Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre have been approved by the council.

The Stephen Joseph Theater’s (SJT) plan for renovating and refurbishing the 1930s Grade-II Listed building was approved by North Yorkshire Council on Wednesday, February 21.

The “hugely exciting” plan includes internal and external repairs to the Stephen Joseph Theatre to improve accessibility, sustainability and customer experience.

The works will include refurbishing and upgrading The McCarthy Suite ‘The Mac’ and its adjoining spaces.

‘The Mac’, located on the third floor, is used as both a cinema and a theatre.

The building’s roof will also be upgraded as well as replacing the “outdated plant equipment” and associated fixtures and fittings.

The proposal received support from the Theatre Cinema Association, the Theatres’ Trust, and the council’s conservation officer, but no representations were received from members of the public.

The Theatres’ Trust said that proposed improvements, particularly for accessibility, constituted “a public benefit”.

Inside Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre

The SJT moved into the former Odeon cinema in 1996 and parts of the building were set to reach “end-of-life within the next three to five years”.

A council report stated that the building was “vastly altered” during refurbishment works in the 1990s and and “the [Grade-II] Listing no longer fully reflects the building today”

A large part of the Art Deco interior is believed to have been removed in the 1996 sub-division to form ‘The Mac’, the report states.

However, it also noted that “much of the exterior remains intact and there are still some features which hold considerable historic value”.

The authority’s conservation officer also agreed that the internal decor was “dated and needs to be refreshed”.

The works will include reupholstering the seats, replacing the carpet, and repainting the walls.

Executive Director Caroline Routh said:

“The SJT is an important cultural asset within a regenerating Scarborough and North Yorkshire.

“We’re a key contributor to the town and county’s tourism offer with an annual economic impact of £4.6m.

“Our work is also a vital community resource for Scarborough – we provide year-round creative opportunities for 30,000 people and each year give around 1,000 £1 tickets to those who may otherwise be unable to afford a trip to the theatre.”

The repair works were approved subject to conditions by North Yorkshire Council on Wednesday, February 21.


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