Alan Ayckbourn: Press Releases

This page contains current press releases relating to Alan Ayckbourn, productions of his work and associated events.
If you have an enquiry regarding Alan Ayckbourn or his plays, please contact Simon Murgatroyd at

Two Ayckbourn World Premieres For 2023

The playwright Alan Ayckbourn has announced two world premieres for 2023 in the Lake District and on the North Yorkshire coast.

His 88th full-length play,
Welcome to the Family, will run at The Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness-on-Windermere, from 12 - 27 May followed by his 89th play, Constant Companions, at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, from 7 September to 7 October.

Welcome to the Family follows Josh, who is keen to introduce his fiancée Sara to his parents - Lord and Lady Meizner; but as they are deceased, this should have posed a problem. Enter Josh’s wicked Uncle Lance who has gifted him a state-of-the-art “Capture” visit to the past enabling him to revisit his family home whenever he likes. Celebratory champagne flows but family secrets are also about to be spilt.

This will be Sir Alan's second world premiere at The Old Laundry Theatre following
All Lies in 2022; it will only be the sixth Ayckbourn play to not premiere in Scarborough. Sir Alan has close ties with the venue in Bowness-on-Windermere and is a trustee of the venue and very much looking forward to returning to the lakes and his first in-the-round premiere at The Old Laundry.

Constant Companions, Lorraine is a fabulously successful lawyer of a certain age. Jan Sixty is the janitor of her building, an android of indeterminate age. In a not-too-distant future humans have turned to artificial friends for companionship without compromise, can Lorraine and Jan find true love? Alan Ayckbourn weaves together their stories and those of lonely bachelor Don, technician Winston, PA Sylvia and android maid Edie with characteristic humour and compassion.

Constant Companions will be Sir Alan's 83rd world premiere in Scarborough and will also from part of the celebratory The Crafty Art of Ayckbourn weekend from 15 - 17 September which also includes the chance to join a masterclass on writing and directing with the playwright as well as the opportunity to hear a rehearsed reading of a never before seen play, Truth Will Out.

Both plays will be directed by Alan Ayckbourn with casting details to be announced.
Welcome to the Family can be seen at The Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness-on-Windermere, from 12 - 27 May with performances on Tuesdays to Sundays with Thursday and Saturday matinees. Constant Companions can be seen at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, from 7 September to 7 October with performances on Mondays to Saturdays with Thursday and Saturday matinees. Tickets for both productions are on sale now.

Note to editors: Enquiries regarding the productions should be directed to the appropriate venue for each play.

Updated: 3 January 2023

The Crafty Art of Ayckbourn Weekend Announced for 2023

A very special Ayckbourn treat has been announced for 2023 by the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.

A weekend of exclusive events celebrating Alan Ayckbourn and his plays is taking place from 15 - 17 September including an exclusive reading of a previously announced but unseen play,
Truth Will Out, and a masterclass with the playwright celebrating the 21st anniversary of the publication of his book, The Crafty Art of Playmaking.

This is alongside a chance to see the previously announced world premiere of his new play,
Constant Companions and other exclusive events.

The Crafty Art of Ayckbourn is a fundraising event with the SJT’s Director Emeritus Alan Ayckbourn and will be based around his 2020 play, Truth Will Out, which was announced by the SJT but cancelled due to the pandemic. The weekend will include a rehearsed reading of the show - the first time it’s ever been performed (and rumour has it the author is fancying playing one of the parts himself).

There will also be a masterclass from Alan Ayckbourn and two of his favourite actors for would-be theatre-makers or those just needing a refresher based around his groundbreaking book,
The Crafty Art of Playmaking, which celebrates its 21st anniversary publication in 2023.

All these events are available to book separately or as part of two packages which also include exclusive extras (dependent on the package) such as a gala event with the playwright and his company, a ticket for
Constant Companions, a limited place lunch with the playwright and his company, a talk with the playwright's archivist, Simon Murgatroyd, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the play Comic Potential, behind-the-scenes sessions and a souvenir programme.

Full details about the packages and their contents an be found on the
Truth Will Out and The Crafty Art of Playmaking booking pages at

The weekend also coincides with the world premiere run of Alan Ayckbourn's 89th play, Constant Companions – making it a chance to indulge in all things Ayckbourn!

Full details of the weekend and all the individual events can be found at the Stephen Joseph Theatre's website

Note to editors: This event is organised by the Stephen Joseph Theatre and all enquiries regarding it should be directed to the SJT.

Updated: 23 November 2022

A remarkable archival discovery has re-written the history of Alan Ayckbourn’s seminal play Absurd Person Singular during its 50th anniversary.

A discovery of the long thought lost, original abandoned draft of Absurd Person Singular, alongside concept notes and the first hand-written first draft of the play, in the Ayckbourn Archive at The Borthwick Institute of Archives at the University of York offers a new perspective into one of the key works of late 20th century British Theatre.

The discoveries are highlighted in a new website, jointly launched by Alan Ayckbourn’s Archivist and the Borthwick Institute, offering an insight into this discovery and how it completely alters the traditional story of how the play was created.

Previously the playwright has spoken of how he abandoned his initial draft of the play after 10 pages moving the action from three living rooms to three kitchens and removing a fourth couple when he began re-writing it.

The new discovery actually found he had written 40 pages of this initial abandoned draft - consisting of a complete first act and half the second act. The script bears almost no similarity to the actual play with entirely different dialogue, character relations and plot points. What is even more astonishing is that the abandoned script and actual play were all written within the same week.

Simon Murgatroyd M.A., Alan Ayckbourn’s Archivist and the person responsible for the find, said it was a highly significant discovery, particularly in light of the play celebrating its world premiere 50 years ago at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in 1972.

"This is the sort of find Archivists dream of making and it was astonishing to read these hand-written pages and realise we had found Alan's long believed lost abandoned draft of the play. This discovery highlights the rare occasion when the playwright gets it wrong, corrects himself and goes on to produce an acknowledged classic of British Theatre. Alongside the discovery of the previously unknown substantial cuts following the first performance of the play, for the first time, in conjunction with the Borthwick Institute for Archives, we can tell the complete story of how this extraordinary piece of British theatre came to be created."

The discovery coincides with other recent acquisitions pertaining to the play which include rehearsal and production manuscripts, which also reveal the playwright cut half-an-hour of material from the play following its first public performance; these cuts have never been publicly seen since.

Absurd Person Singular is believed to be the only Ayckbourn play which was abandoned before being re-written and then also had a substantial amount of material cut from it. It is also the only play in the Ayckbourn Archive at the Borthwick Institute whose journey can be followed from concept to world and West End premieres.

The playwright Alan Ayckbourn, one of the UK’s most successful living playwrights, noted even he was surprised at the discovery - most of which he had long forgotten.

“It’s exciting to know that on the 50th anniversary of the world premiere of Absurd Pearson Singular, the Borthwick and my Archivist have re-discovered my earliest notes and drafts of the play - which had long since passed from my own mind! Whilst my focus is ever forward and always on my next play, I’m delighted that the archive exists at York for people to come and make similar discoveries of the many things that have been forgotten over time - I’m sure there is much still to discover!”

The hand-written pages are held in the Ayckbourn Archive and the Borthwick Institute and available for the public to view onsite. The website has been launched to accompany the discovery and explore the history of the writing of this play including images of some of the newly discovered pages.

Gary Brannan, Keeper of Archives and Research Collections at the Borthwick Institute for Archives, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been able to support and facilitate this amazing discovery, which has totally changed our perception of Sir Alan’s early work. It was a really exciting moment when Simon told us about what he’d found! Sir Alan’s archive is a huge resource full of potential moments like these and is an incredible record of a groundbreaking career. The archive is there for everyone to use, be it for study, research or simple enjoyment. We can’t wait to hear about the next big discovery in the archive!”

The Ayckbourn Archive was acquired for the national by the Borthwick Institute for Archives during 2011 and includes plays, correspondence and other material from throughout the playwright’s entire career. The archive is entirely accessible to the public and full details can be found at on the website. The contents of the discovery will be unique to the Borthwick as the playwright will not be publishing the newly found material nor allow it to be performed.

Sir Alan Ayckbourn is regarded as one of the UK’s most successful living playwrights and has, as of 2022, written 87 full-length play the latest of which -
Family Album - recently premiered in Scarborough. He has won numerous awards including Olivier and Tony Awards and was Knighted for ‘services to theatre’ in 1997. Absurd Person Singular is counted amongst one of his most acclaimed and popular plays; it has the longest run of any Ayckbourn play in both the West End and on Broadway.

The full story behind the discovery and its significance can be found at

Updated: 24 October 2022

Ayckbourn YouTube Launched by Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist

Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website is expanding again with a new YouTube channel dedicated to the playwright.

The playwright's Archivist and creator of his official website, Simon Murgatroyd, launched the new channel on the playwright's 82nd birthday on 12 April to further expand the reach of the website and to offer a new way to access its content.

"I'm very excited by the launch," said Simon Murgatroyd. "Whilst the website has almost 4,000 pages dedicated to Alan Ayckbourn, the YouTube channel will offer a new opportunity to present material about the playwright and, I hope, appeal to a new audience. I had the idea a couple of years ago, but it's taken furlough and Lockdown to inspire me to move ahead with it!"

The channel will feature original material as well as curated playlists of existing interviews with Alan Ayckbourn. The channel has launched with an original piece entitled 'Who is Alan Ayckbourn?' and future videos will look at different aspects of the playwright's long career in theatre as well as focusing on significant plays.

A regular feature, NewsRound, will also offer the latest news on Alan Ayckbourn, his writing and forthcoming productions.

The Alan Ayckbourn YouTube can be found

Simon Murgatroyd also relaunched his professional website on 12 April offering details about his work as Archivist, writer and public speaker. His website can be found at

Updated: 12 April 2021

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