Alan Ayckbourn World Premiere Announced

Alan Ayckbourn’s latest play, The Girl Next Door, has been announced for this summer by the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.

The SJT – Alan Ayckbourn’s home venue – has just announced a season of shows for 2021 which includes three world premieres which will open with the Director Emeritus’s 85th play on 4 June.

Alan Ayckbourn (©Tony Bartholomew /

The Girl Next Door is described as a touching, tender and, of course, funny reflection on the ability of love to rise above adversity and reach across the years. The playwright said: “I wrote it back in Spring 2020. I like to think of it as a lockdown love story.”

The Girl Next Door will open on 4 June and run until 3 July. Bookings will open on Friday 16 April at 10am to the general public with the SJT recommending booking be done online at

The season will continue with Laura Wade’s comedy Home I’m Darling, a co-production with Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake and Bolton Octagon (9 July – 14 August). Autumn will bring a brand new adaptation of Benjamin Myers’ best-selling book The Offing, a co-production with Live Theatre, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (14 – 30 October), and this year’s Christmas show will be another new adaptation by SJT stalwart Nick Lane, Jack and the Beanstalk (2 – 31 December).

The SJT shows will be supplemented by a lively season of visiting productions including Blackeyed Theatre’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel by Nick Lane.

The SJT’s Artistic Director, Paul Robinson, says: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be presenting live theatre again throughout the second half of 2021. We’ve pulled together a programme which we think will have a really broad appeal, and we can’t wait to welcome audiences back through our doors again.”

Executive Director Caroline Routh says: “We’d very much like to thank the government’s Culture Recovery Fund and the Garfield Weston Foundation’s Weston Culture Fund, whose support this year has made it possible for us put this programme together, and which includes funding to support the potential for future online digital streaming.

“We are also hugely grateful to our revenue funders – Arts Council England and Scarborough Borough Council – and to the many other trusts, foundations, sponsors and individuals without whose support over this past year we would, quite simply, not have been able to survive.”

The SJT will also be presenting films in its McCarthy cinema with details soon to be announced at

The theatre will be complying carefully with current government guidelines around Covid safety. Last year, it gained 99% positive feedback from customers on safety when it re-opened between lockdowns.

Booking for all the 2021 SJT shows will open at 10am on Friday 16 April (with priority booking for SJT Circle members opening at 10am on Friday 9 April). Tickets for all shows are priced from £10.

Where possible, the theatre is recommending that customers book online at The box office phone line will be open Mondays to Saturdays, noon till 2pm, from 9 April.

The box office will re-open for in-person bookings on Monday 17 May (noon to 5pm on non-show days; noon to 7.30pm on days with an evening show; 11am to 7.30pm on matinee days).

Watch this space for more details about the coming season at the SJT. For more information on The Girl Next Door, visit the new section about the play at Alan Ayckbourn’s Official Website by clicking here.

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