Alan Ayckbourn: Press Releases

This page contains current press releases relating to Alan Ayckbourn, productions of his work and associated events. An archive of significant previous press releases is available here.
If you have an enquiry regarding Alan Ayckbourn or his plays, please contact Simon Murgatroyd at
press@alanayckbourn.net.

Alan Ayckbourn to launch his first novel, The Divide, at the Stephen Joseph Theatre

Renowned playwright Alan Ayckbourn will launch his first-ever novel, The Divide, at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre on Thursday 12 September.
Published by PS Publishing,
The Divide is a fable that unflinchingly examines a dystopian society of brutal repression, forbidden love and seething insurrection.
The celebrated novelist Soween Clay-Flyn recalls a period in recent history based on documents of the time, including her own personal diary as a young girl who lived through it and survived to tell the tale.
In the aftermath of a deadly contagion which has decimated the population, contact between men and women has become fatal.
Under the dictates of an unseen authoritarian leader known as The Preacher, an unthinkable solution has been enforced.
Soween and her older brother Elihu grow up learning the ways of their tightly controlled society. Then to Soween's alarm, Elihu, as he reaches pubescence, risks not only fatal disease but also threatens to ignite a bloody revolution.
Alan Ayckbourn says: “This is a new experience for me. Eighty-three plays, God knows how many nerve-racking theatre press nights and now this. The very first book launch of my very first novel.
“Lord, the things you take on at 80!”
Nicky Crowther, of PS Publishing, says: “Straddling literary genres for almost a quarter century during which time we have championed work by some of the finest talents in the business, PS Publishing is proud to announce The Divide, the debut novel from Alan Ayckbourn, one of the world’s most gifted playwrights.”
The Divide will be launched at a free-to-attend event at the SJT from 4.30pm to 6.30pm on 12 September, in between performances of Alan’s two shows at the SJT this summer, Season’s Greetings (matinee) and Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present (evening).
The author will be on hand to sign copies of the book, which will be available at the event in a hardcover at £20 (discounted from £25); subsequently, a paperback and a signed limited edition hardcover will also be made available.
The Divide can be ordered from PS Publishing Alan Ayckbourn's in hardcover and softcover.

Updated on 11 September 2019

The Stephen Joseph Theatre celebrates Alan Ayckbourn's Birthday With 80 Years Young

The Stephen Joseph Theatre this year celebrates the 80th birthday of its Director Emeritus, the world-renowned playwright Alan Ayckbourn.
Alan will host a gala evening,
80 Years Young, on Sunday 29 September from 6pm, featuring extracts from a selection of his plays for families and children, read by actors from the SJT’s summer company.
They are, from the theatre’s current production of Alan’s play
Season’s Greetings, Matt Addis, Eileen Battye, Rachel Caffrey, Bill Champion, Andy Cryer, Michael Lyle, Frances Marshall, Mercy Ojelade, Leigh Symonds, and from his next show at the SJT, Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present, Jamie Baughan, Jemma Churchill, Russell Dixon and Naomi Petersen.
The
80 Years Young company is completed by SJT youth theatre actors Ruby Hilton and Hugh Stanway, and by Denis King at the piano.
The evening will feature extracts from favourites ranging from
Mr A’s Amazing Maze Plays (1988) to Miss Yesterday (2004), plus a few lesser-known earlier ones such as Dad’s Tale (1960) and Christmas v Mastermind (1962).
All the proceeds from the event will be invested in the next generation of talented writers and directors, securing the future of the unique SJT ethos.
Alan says of his plays for families and young people: “Many of them I consider amongst my best, most innovative work and today they still remain amongst my favourites.”
Tickets cost £15, £35 or £75 (the latter to include programme, a glass of prosecco and post-show reception).
To book, please call the box office on 01723 370541 or visit the website: www.sjt.uk.com

Posted on 2 September 2019

Alan Ayckbourn Celebrates 80th Birthday & 60th Playwriting Anniversary With New Play

A brand new play from celebrated author Alan Ayckbourn has opened at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre.
Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present is the author’s 83rd play, and premieres in the year that marks his 80th birthday.
Directed by the author, it is performed by a cast of four: Jamie Baughan, Jemma Churchill, Russell Dixon and Naomi Petersen. Design is by Kevin Jenkins and lighting design by Jason Taylor. The Associate Sound Designer is Paul Stear.
It’s Micky’s 80th birthday, and he and his wife Meg are awaiting the arrival of their son, Adrian, and his new (and latest!) fiancée, Grace.
Adrian has, according to his parents, a certain reputation regarding women, and they feel meek, mild-mannered Grace should surely be warned of this. But are things really as they appear? As birthday follows birthday, the truth is finally revealed about Adrian, the suburban closet Lothario.
Alan Ayckbourn says: “It’s no coincidence that this is a special year for me, being my 80th. I like to pin things on anniversaries, and I thought ‘why not birthdays?’
“But it’s a bit conventional to have one person maybe having his 20th birthday and his 50th and then 80th birthdays, so I thought it would be fun to do it backwards.
“Usually in plays, we see the cause first and the effects follow on, but in this case, we see the effect first and our first question is, just how did we get there?
“It’s really a story about a man who’s trying to deal with and understand women; it's a sort of companion piece to my 2017 play, A Brief History Of Women.”
Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present can be seen in the Round at the SJT, in rep, until Saturday 5 October 2019. Tickets, priced from £10, are available from the box office on 01723 370541 and online at www.sjt.uk.com.
It will
then tour to The New Vic, Newcastle-under-Lyme, from 8 - 26 October and The Old Laundry, Bowness-on-Windermere, from 13 - 16 November.
Updated on 2 September 2019

Alan Ayckbourn's Revival Of Season's Greetings

A revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s classic comedy Season’s Greetings, directed by the author, is now running at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.
It is performed by a cast of nine: Matt Addis, Eileen Battye, Rachel Caffrey, Bill Champion, Andy Cryer, Michael Lyle, Frances Marshall, Mercy Ojelade and Leigh Symonds. Design is by Kevin Jenkins and lighting design by Jason Taylor.
Season’s Greetings premiered in Scarborough at the SJT’s former home at Westwood in 1980; this is the first time it has been performed in Scarborough since.
Neville and Belinda are hosting their extended family over a long weekend. The presence of two tyrannical uncles - Bernard, whose ham-fisted annual puppet shows are a source of dread to young and old alike, and TV addict Harvey - promises to stir up trouble from the start. And that’s before you add to the mix broken toys, creaking marriages and guest novelist Clive, whose relationship with Belinda’s sister Rachel is going nowhere, causing him to look for love elsewhere.
Alan Ayckbourn explains that the play was originally inspired by his two sons mounting a puppet show and his getting involved: “I remember Steven saying: ‘This is only meant to be fun!’ and running crying out of the room as I shouted: ‘It may be fun to you, but this is a show and we’ve got to do it professionally’. By the time it went on, all the joy had gone out of it. Afterwards I thought: ‘What the hell am I doing?’
“I think everyone has had at least one disastrous Christmas and so the audience relates to it. I used to say: ‘You may think you’ve had a bad Christmas but wait until you see this one…’”
Season’s Greetings can be seen in the Round at the SJT, in rep, from Thursday 25 July to Saturday 28 September 2019. Tickets, priced from £10, are available from the box office on 01723 370541 and online at www.sjt.uk.com.
The production will then tour to The New Vic, Newcastle-under-Lyme, from 8 - 26 October and The Old Laundry, Bowness-on-Windermere, from 4 - 9 November.

Updated on 2 September 2019

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.

Note to editors:
For interview enquiries and further information about Absurd Person Singular and Dick & Lottie, please visit www.dickandlottie.com or contact John Cotgrave or Tania Smith on dickandlottie@icloud.com or 07720321152

World premiere and classic revival at the Stephen Joseph Theatre during summer 2019

Alan Ayckbourn will direct the world premiere of his new play, Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present and a revival of Season's Greetings at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, this summer. Season's Greetings will be in repertory until 28 September and Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present will be in repertory until 5 October.

Season’s Greetings, written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn (Thursday 25 July to Saturday 28 September)
When families get together to celebrate a special occasion, there's a danger that all hell will break loose. Particularly if you happen to be trapped for several days with all your relatives and copious amounts of alcohol...
Neville and Belinda are hosting their extended family over a long weekend. The presence of two tyrannical uncles – Bernard, whose ham-fisted annual puppet shows are a source of dread to young and old alike, and TV addict Harvey – promises to stir up trouble from the start. And that’s before you add to the mix broken toys, creaking marriages and guest novelist Clive, whose relationship with Belinda’s sister Rachel is going nowhere, causing him to look for love elsewhere.
Directed by the author, this is the first time that the Stephen Joseph Theatre has staged Season’s Greetings since its premiere here in 1980 – a rare opportunity to see a sparkling new production of a classic Ayckbourn comedy.

Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present, written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn (Wednesday 4 September to Saturday 5 October)
It’s Mickey’s 80th birthday and he and his wife Meg are awaiting the arrival of their son, Adrian, and his new (and latest!) fiancée, Grace. Adrian has, according to his parents, a certain reputation regarding women and they feel meek, mild-mannered Grace should surely be warned of this.  
But are things really as they appear? Be prepared, as birthday follows birthday, to be amazed as the truth is finally revealed about Adrian, the suburban closet Lothario!
As ingenious in its construction as any of his previous plays, Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present is the 83rd play from one of Britain’s greatest playwrights in a year that he celebrates not only his own 80th birthday, but also the 60th anniversary of his playwriting debut – The Square Cat, his first professionally-produced play, opened at Scarborough’s Library Theatre on 30 July 1959.

Tickets for all the shows are priced from £10, and will go on sale from Friday 1 March (with priority booking for the theatre’s membership scheme, The Circle, from Friday 15 February) and can be booked at the box office on 01723 370541 or via the website: www.sjt.uk.com

Updated on 2 September 2019

2019: An Anniversary Year

Sir Alan Ayckbourn will mark two major anniversaries in 2019 with his 80th birthday and the 60th anniversary pdf his playwriting debut.
The Scarborough based playwright will be 80 on 13 April 2019 and he continues to both write and direct for his home theatre in Scarborough, the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
During 2019 he will direct both the world premiere of his new play and a revival of a classic Ayckbourn play during the summer - details of both productions are due to be announced in early 2019.
The playwright will also be celebrating the 60th anniversary of his playwriting debut. On 30 July 1959,
The Square Cat opened at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, directed by Alan's most influential mentor Stephen Joseph. It began an extraordinarily successful playwriting career which has encompassed six decades and 83 full-length plays.
In a year of anniversaries, one of his most popular plays
How The Other Half Loves will also be celebrating its 50th anniversary since its debut on 31 July 1969 at the Library Theatre, Scarborough.
Details of events to mark the playwright's anniversaries will be announced during the course of 2019 with a dedicated
page and resources on the playwright's Official Website.

Posted on 4 December 2018

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