The Woman in Black (1987)

The Woman in Black is one of the most significant plays to be associated with the town of Scarborough. The play premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round in 1987 before going on to the second longest-ever run of a play in the West End and being produced around the world.

The play was adapted from the Scarborough-born novelist Susan's Hill's acclaimed novella,
The Woman in Black, by playwright Stephen Mallatratt and opened in the small end-stage studio space of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round. It was described as a 'Christmas stocking filler' which made a virtue of its limited budget which restricted it to a cast of two speaking roles with the bare minimum of props.

The original production was directed by
Robin Herford who went on to direct every recast of the play in the West End and to direct it around the world. The original production starred Jon Strickland, Dominic Letts and Lesley Meade.

Alan Ayckbourn and his plays are most commonly associated with Scarborough and theatre in the round, but The Woman in Black has had a huge theatrical impact and is a highly significant part of Scarborough's cultural heritage.
Novel: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
Published: 1983

Stage Adaptation: Stephen Mallatratt
Play Publisher: Samuel French

Other Media Adaptations:
Television (1989)
Radio (1993, 2004)
Film (2012)

The Woman in Black on Stage

World Premiere: 11 December 1987 - 2 January 1988
Venue: The Studio, Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round

London Premiere: 11 January 1989
Venue: Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith

London Transfer: 7 June 1989 - 4 March 2023
Venue: The Fortune Theatre, London

"I did not believe in ghosts…"

All research & original material is by & copyright of Simon Murgatroyd, all rights reserved 2023 All other material is copyright of the named copyright holder. Please do not reproduce any material without permission. For enquiries, email:

With thanks to Scarborough Theatre Trust for reproduction
of archival material pertaining to The Woman in Black.