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Stephen Joseph Papers

Date range: 1946-1967.

Papers of Stephen Joseph (1921-1967), theatre director, producer and designer is best remembered as one of the champions of new theatre forms, especially theatre-in-the-round.

In the early 1950s he founded the Studio Theatre Company, which was the first professional repertory group set up for the express purpose of performing plays in the round.

In 1955 the company began to present summer seasons in Scarborough, and from 1956 it toured all over England.

A permanent base was created in 1962 when Stephen Joseph founded the Victoria Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent.

In the same year he was appointed the first fellow of the newly-established Department of Drama at Manchester University.

Joseph was also closely involved in the setting up of the Association of British Theatre Technicians, and advised on the design of many new theatres. While some of his ideas were ahead of their time and failed to gain acceptance, he was responsible for introducing many innovations, such as theatre-in-the-round, which are now commonplace.

Material includes private correspondence with family and friends; professional correspondence relating to the theatres in Scarborough and Stoke, Manchester University Drama Department, the ABTT, visits to America, and Joseph’s writings; many original manuscripts and typescripts of books, articles and plays; photographs; plans of the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, the Victoria Theatre, Stoke, the University of Lancaster Arts Centre, the Fish and Chip Theatre, and other theatres; and set designs in watercolour.

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.

Location

The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library

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