The Woman In Black (1987)

This page contains production details for the world premiere of The Woman in Black at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round, Scarborough.

In-depth details about the play and its association with the Stephen Joseph Theatre can be found at The Woman in Black section of the website

Production Details

New Play:


First performance:
Opening night:
Final performance:
Stephen Mallatratt

Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round

11 December 1987
11 December 1987
2 January 1988
Stacks Image 22585

Company Details


Stage Manager:
Robin Herford
Mick Thomas
Jackie Staines
Lesley Meade
Michael Holt

Duncan Lewis
Arthur Kipps
The Actor
Jon Strickland
Dominic Letts


The Woman In Black was adapted from Susan Hill's novella by Stephen Mallatratt; Susan Hill was born in Scarborough.
The Woman In Black has its world premiere at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, been performed around the world. It has been in the West End continuously since 1988 and is one of the longest and most successful plays in the West End; the West End production is still - as of writing in 2014 - directed by Robin Herford with designs by Michael Holt.
Although The Woman In Black premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The World and has gone onto huge international success, the Scarborough venue received little of the financial benefit which would be expected. A mistake when the contracts were originally drawn up meant the theatre did not receive the normal recompense for a transfer to the West End; in Alan Ayckbourn's biography Grinning At The Edge, the author Paul Allen noted the theatre was 'limited to a percentage of Stephen Mallatratt's royalties up to a grand total of £5,000." Ordinarily, a theatre would have expected to make much more from such a successful play.
The original production began the tradition that the actor playing the 'woman in black' is not directly named in the programme, posters or in advertising. In the original production, the staging credits featured 'Vision: Lesley Meade' after the listing for the Sound Designer. It was not an inaccurate credit given her role as the ghostly vision in the play. Elsewhere in the programme, the biography for Lesley Meade is carried separate from the other biographies under the title: 'Vanae Fingentur species, tamen ut Pes, et Caput uni Reddantur formae" (a quote from Ars Poetica by Horace).


All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd. Image copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust