CAN you distinguish a David Hare play from a John Godber, a Tim Firth play from a Deborah McAndrew or even from a schoolgirl’s work in a "blind tasting"?

In a celebration of 60 years of new writing at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, the Scarborough theatre will present Sixty By Sixty, an anonymous collection of 60 sixty-second audio plays comprising 20 plays by established writers, 20 by emerging writers and 20 by community writers.

The project has been compiled, edited and directed by artistic director Chris Monks and is available to listen to online at with an introduction by Alan Ayckbourn. In addition, the full cycle can be seen in a live performance at the SJT on October 31 at 7.30pm.

Introducing the plethora of very short plays, including one by himself, Chris Monks says: "Sixty By Sixty celebrates new writing at the SJT in all its glory: established, emerging and community writers brought together in a collaborative project that will entertain and inspire.”

Themed as The Library Plays, The School Plays and The Cinema Plays, the recordings were made on location at the company’s previous homes, Scarborough Library and Westwood Campus, and its present home in the former Odeon cinema building.

In total, 29 works are by female writers and 31 by males, although these will not be individually attributed to their author. The established playwrights include the aforementioned Hare, Godber, Firth and McAndrew, along with Vanessa Brooks, Fiona Evans, Barney Norris, Andrew Pollard, Jane Thornton, Nick Warburton and David Wood.

Claudine Toutoungi and Isabel Wright, whose plays premiered at the SJT last year, are among the emerging writers, while York writers in the select 60 are Ruby Clarke, Ged Cooper and Lizzie Glazier, a former SJT press officer.

After an open submission earlier this year, plays by members of the community were anonymously judged by Chris Monks, resulting in the selection of 20 writers, among them a librarian, a criminal justice system worker, a teaching assistant, a retired chief inspector and two schoolgirls aged 11.

Sixty By Sixty has been recorded with the help of writers, professional and community actors and recording artists, who have given their time freely to contribute to the theatre’s 60th anniversary fundraising campaign in support of new work. All 60 audio plays can be streamed from the theatre’s website for a voluntary donation and contributions from the live performance will go towards the appeal too.

Tickets for the 7.30pm performance cost £10 to £12.50 on 01723 370541 and online at


* THEY may be anonymous on the night, but the Sixty By Sixty playwrights are: Jon Barton; Vanessa Brooks; Kate Brower; Steve Carley; Alison Carr; Sarah Carratt; Ruby Clarke; Gilly Collinson; Ged Cooper; Paul Copley; Julia Coyle; Kate Davidson; Phil Davies; Fiona Evans; Tim Firth; Zena Forster; Lizzie Glazier; John Godber; Cheryl Govan; Philip Goulding; Ernest Hall and David Hare.

The list continues: Jo Harper; Fleur Hebditch; Rob Joiner; Nicola Jones. Geoff Leesley; John Macmillan; Deborah McAndrew; Ged McKenna; Bryan Moiser; Chris Monks; Jason Mullen; Sara Murphy; Barney Norris; Maggie Ollerenshaw; Roger Osborne; Neil Pennock; Les Penrose; Libby Pearson; Ruari Peoples; Andrew Pollard and Hermione Rutherford.

Contributing plays too will be Jack Sanderson-Thwaite; Caitlin Shannon; Paula B Stanic; Matt Stradling; Geraint Thomas; Jane Thornton; Claudine Toutoungi; Nick Warburton; Philip Watson; Alison Watt; John Webber; Lisamarie Whalen; Mark White; Gill Wilkinson; Sue Wilsea; David Wood and Isabel Wright.

* Sixty By Sixty audio plays are performed by the SJT summer repertory cast members Stephen Billington, Elizabeth Boag, Russell Dixon and Emma Manton, plus Ernest Acquah; Matt Addis; Janine Birkett; Charlotte Brooke; Ariel Hebditch; Velvet Hebditch; Dan Henley; Alfie Howle; Georgia Mason; Sadie Robinson; Ajay Sharma and Alfie Woodhead.