ALISON SKILBECK returns to Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre with a new one-woman show and for the first of the theatre’s 60th anniversary Tea Time Talks.

Scarborough theatregoers may remember Alison from previous Stephen Joseph productions, having appeared regularly from 1975 to 1980 and returning again in 1989.

From her first Alan Ayckbourn play, Just Between Ourselves, she went on to originate roles in other works written and directed by the author, including Ten Times Table, Joking Apart, Sisterly Feelings, Taking Steps and Suburban Strains.

She brings her new play, Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London, to Stephen Joseph on April 10 and 11, before a four-week residency in London.

In October 1942, Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the president, takes a dangerous trip to wartime London to visit US troops and see how the British, most importantly the women, are coping.

In her dying days, as the Cuban Missile Crisis pushes the world to the brink of final catastrophe, Eleanor relives her journey, from bomb-damaged Buckingham Palace to midnight factories, but also recalls her life, from unhappy child, to unconventional wife, to becoming, in President Truman’s words “First Lady of the World”.

Granted special permission to use Eleanor’s writings, Alison’s one-woman show explores the public, and hidden life of one of the most extraordinary women of the 20th century, a woman beset by deep personal insecurities and tragedy, but one who never lost her passionate belief in the strength of the human spirit.

This year marks the theatre’s 60th anniversary and to celebrate it is holding 60 special events.

Alison gives the first talk on Saturday, April 11, at 5pm. Tickets are by £4 donation, which goes towards the theatre’s 7th Wave Fund in support of new writing and performers. Alison said: “It will be 40 years since I came to join the company and I’m absolutely thrilled to be back, especially for 60th anniversary celebrations. I lived in Scarborough for five years and made many friends, it’s got a very special place in my heart.”

• Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London can be seen on Friday, April 10, at 7.45pm, and Saturday, April 11, at 2.45pm and 7.45pm. Tickets, priced from £10 to £17.50, are available from the box office on 01723 370541 and online at