Researching Stephen Joseph

Stephen Joseph is the single most influential figure in Alan Ayckbourn's life. He encouraged Alan to both write and direct as well as informing many of Alan's views on theatre. After Stephen's death in 1967, Alan would ensure Stephen's legacy was preserved by becoming the Artistic Director of the company Stephen created, now the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

This section contains details and resources relating to researching the life and work of Stephen Joseph. It has details of significant archival resources which have holdings relating to Stephen Joseph as well as a comprehensive guide to publications by and about Stephen Joseph. Click on the relevant link to find out more.


The John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester
This is the single most significant point of call for anyone researching Stephen Joseph. Stephen had close connections with the university and his papers were gifted to the university following his death in 1967.
The Stephen Joseph Papers, held at the John Rylands Library, is the single most extensive collection of material relating to Stephen's personal and professional life, containing material drawn from throughout his professional life in both theatre and academia.
The John Rylands Library is publicly accessible and further details about the collection - including a full catalogue - can be found
The Stephen Joseph Theatre Collection at Scarborough Library
Scarborough Library was home to the Library Theatre from 1955 to 1976; the company which Stephen founded.
The library holds a small collection relating to the Stephen Joseph Theatre - specifically the Library Theatre - including correspondence with Stephen Joseph.
The collection is uncatalogued but is publicly accessible and further details about the collection can be found
The Victoria Theatre Collection at Staffordshire University
The Victoria Theatre was founded by Stephen Joseph in 1962 in Stoke-on-Trent and its archive is held by Staffordshire University.
It holds material relating to the theatre's creation by Stephen Joseph and his subsequent public fall-out with the company.
The collection is currently being catalogued but is publicly accessible and further details about the collection can be found
The Terry Lane Archive at the V&A Collections
Terry Lane worked with Stephen Joseph at both Scarborough and Stoke-on-Trent. His collection at the V&A includes material relating to Stephen and both theatres.
The V&A Collections are publicly accessible and further details about the collection can be found
The Bob Watson Archive at the Stephen Joseph Theatre
The SJT, Scarborough, was founded by Stephen Joseph as the Library Theatre in 1955.
The archive holds relatively little pertaining to Stephen Joseph himself, predominantly a collection of photographs as well as details of Stephen's productions with the company.
The Bob Watson Archive is not publicly accessible and details can be found


A comprehensive list of publications written by Stephen Joseph can be found here, the majority are held in the Stephen Joseph Papers at the University of Manchester. All of the publications are out of print but may be available through second-hand specialists.

A small list of publications about Stephen Joseph can also be found
here. There has been very little substantive academic enquiry into Stephen Joseph with the major publication being Dr Paul Elsam's comprehensive work, Stephen Joseph: Theatre Pioneer and Provocateur.
All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd and all original material copyright of Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce this material without permission fo the copyright holder.