Stephen Joseph Theatre Awarded Grant

Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre has been awarded nearly £238,000 by the Garfield Weston Foundation to support its work over the coming year.

The Foundation’s Weston Culture Fund has granted £237,752 to the North Yorkshire venue, which will use the money to support a summer and autumn season of work, likely to include a new play by its Director Emeritus, Alan Ayckbourn, a show in the slot previously filled by The 39 Steps and Stepping Out, and an autumn production of an adaptation it has commissioned of best-selling novel The Offing, by Benjamin Myers, set in nearby Robin Hood’s Bay.

The Stephen Joseph Theatre (© Tony Bartholomew /

It will also contribute towards equipment and training to allow film recordings of the live shows, and a programme of community-focused ‘pop-up’ screenings of the resulting films aimed at engaging those who might not usually access live theatre.

The SJT’s joint chief executives, Caroline Routh and Paul Robinson, say: “We are absolutely delighted that the SJT and Scarborough have benefitted from the great generosity of the Garfield Weston Foundation, which has done such remarkable work over the past 60 years.

“We are, of course, conscious of how fortunate we are at a time when so many of our colleagues are struggling in this age of great uncertainty – this grant will allow us to create more much-needed opportunities within the sector, as well as contributing to the wider economy of Scarborough.”

The Garfield Weston Foundation said that in making the grant, one of a programme of £30m-worth to arts organisations across the UK announced today as part of its Weston Culture Fund, it had taken into account ‘a wide range of factors including local cultural provision, the interconnectivity of the sector, the potential accessibility of donors, and accessibility and outreach’.

Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, says: “Our cultural sector is at the heart of our local communities providing not only entertainment but education and inspiration for many. Our Trustees were impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit shown across the arts in response to Covid-19 and it was a privilege to hear what organisations had been doing to not only survive but also to reinvent the way they reach audiences. What really stood out was the level of collaboration and support they had for each other and the determination to keep going, despite the increasingly difficult situation.  

“We all want and need our cultural sector to thrive and, if anything, our time away from the arts has shown just how important they are to us – bringing much needed pleasure and enrichment to our lives. Arts organisations are desperate to re-open and get back to what they do best, and we hope that this new funding will help many of them do exactly that.”

Established over 60 years ago in 1958, the Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded, grant-making charity which supports causes across the UK and gave over £88m last year.  It has donated well over £1bn to charities since it was established.

One of the most respected charitable institutions in the UK, the Weston Family Trustees are descendants of the founder and take a highly active and hands-on approach. The Foundation’s funding comes from an endowment of shares in the family business which includes Twinings, Primark, Kingsmill (all part of Associated British Foods Plc) and Fortnum & Mason, amongst others – a successful business model that still endures today; as the businesses have grown, so too have the charitable donations.

From small community organisations to large national institutions, the Foundation supports a broad range of charities and activities that make a positive impact in the communities in which they work. Around 2,000 charities across the UK benefit each year from the Foundation’s grants.

For more information on the Garfield Weston Foundation, visit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s