What's On: Press Releases

This page contains current press releases relating to productions of plays by Alan Ayckbourn. If you have an enquiry regarding any of the productions, please contact the venue where the production is being staged. For details of Alan Ayckbourn's own productions at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, click here.
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Dear Uncle rehearsal images © Robert Day

Homecoming for Alan Ayckbourn’s Cumbrian-set Dear Uncle

 The final Main House show of Theatre by the Lake’s 2019 Summer Season is in rehearsals – and one which could not be more fitting for the Lake District venue. Dear Uncle, Alan Ayckbourn’s adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, is set in 1930s Ennerdale; having been originally performed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, this is the second ever professional production of the play.
Originally commissioned for the West End, Ayckbourn directed the premiere production of Dear Uncle at the Stephen Joseph in 2011 where it was critically acclaimed and described by The Guardian as ‘the rambler’s version of Uncle Vanya’. Ayckbourn’s writing has frequently been compared to Chekhov’s – in particular, his navigation of the fine line between comedy and tragedy, and his exploration of both the pathos and farce of everyday life.
Alan Ayckbourn, who celebrated his 80th birthday this year, said: “I felt Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya would sit perfectly if set in a 1930s Lake District background. I’m very happy that my version,
Dear Uncle, has finally come home to Theatre by the Lake."
Dear Uncle, 16 year old Sonya and Uncle Marcus are leading a quiet life with occasional visits from the dashing Dr Ash. But this summer is different.
Sonya’s elderly father Cedric has turned up with his glamorous new wife Helena. They think they might stay for a few weeks, and before long chaos has broken out…
 Theatre by the Lake’s production is directed by Tom Littler, Artistic Director of Jermyn Street Theatre, who has directed several times at TBTL, including this spring’s productions of
Creditors and Miss Julie, and Single Spies in Summer Season 2018. The cast includes Georgina Ambrey as Sonya, Dominic Gately as Marcus, Chris Porter as Dr Ash, Patrick Driver as Cedric and Asha Kingsley as Helena, alongside Rachel Laurence, Maggie O’Brien and Eric Potts.
The production’s 1930s faded grandeur and Cumbrian country-house ambience is being created by designer Louie Whitemore, who has also designed
The Ladykillers and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice in the 2019 Summer Season.
“I’m so thrilled to stage
Dear Uncle in the Lake District where it belongs”, said Littler. “Whether you’re a fan of Ayckbourn’s excruciatingly funny comedies, or of Chekhov’s dramas of missed opportunities and frustrated love, you’ll find Dear Uncle a dual delight. Alan is the master of social comedy and he has brilliantly adapted Chekhov’s masterpiece of longing and loneliness.”
Dear Uncle plays in Theatre by the Lake’s Main House from 1 August to 2 November. Tickets are from £10; for more information and to book tickets visit www.theatrebythelake.com or call the Box Office on 017687 74411.
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Classic Ayckbourn Comedy Absurd Person Singular Returns to NYC For Christmas

Tony and Olivier Award winning playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular returns to New York this Christmas.
The classic comedy, which broke Broadway records in 1976, is coming to Theatre Row, 42nd Street, from 11 to 29 December in a revival by the theatre company Dick & Lottie: the UK’s only theatre company dedicated exclusively to the works of the prolific and popular British playwright.
This will mark the New York debut of the company with a revival of the play which brought Alan Ayckbourn to Broadway’s attention in the ‘70s and the playwright is delighted to see the company producing his work in the city.
“The Dick and Lottie Company were founded with the specific intention of solely producing plays of mine. I ask you, what is there not to love about them? I wish them every success with their New York adventure.”
Absurd Person Singular is one of Alan Ayckbourn’s most acclaimed and popular plays, and frequently features in significant 20th century play lists. It follows three couples over three Christmases and the inexorable ascendancy of the socially inferior Hopcrofts over their peers in a frequently hilarious play that is credited as being a defining tragi-comedy.
First produced in 1972,
Absurd Person Singular went onto an award-winning run in the West End, directed by Eric Thompson, in 1973 before Thompson brought the play to the Music Box Theatre on Broadway where it for ran for 18 months; breaking the existing record for the longest run of a comedy on Broadway by a British playwright.
Dick & Lottie was founded in Huddersfield, England, in 2004 and has produced more than 30 of Ayckbourn’s plays. It is the only company to have been invited to the playwright’s own rehearsal rooms to give a private performance of one of his plays.
Artistic Director John Cotgrave said it was a dream come true to bring Dick and Lottie to New York with one of Ayckbourn’s most loved plays, particularly as the playwright’s work has been so warmly received by New York audiences in recent years.
“After 15 years of creating first class theatre in the UK, the time has come to share or work with New York audiences. Dick & Lottie are thrilled to make their New York debut with this classic British comedy”
This production coincides with Ayckbourn’s 80th birthday year and also the 60th anniversary of his playwriting debut. The playwright has had ten plays staged on Broadway and, since 2005, his regular visits to the
Brits Off Broadway festival have been critically acclaimed and broken box office records at the 59E59 Theatres.
In 2010, he was presented with the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. He is the only playwright to have received both this and The Laurence Olivier Awards Special Award. This year saw the world premiere of his 83rd play and he has directed more than 350 productions in the West End, in New York and at his home venue, the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
Absurd Person Singular can be seen at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, from 11 to 29 December. Tickets are priced $72.25 and can be booked via www.bfany.org, www.telecharge.com or from the box office.

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