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

Alan Ayckbourn's 90th Play Announced For 2024

Alan Ayckbourn's 90th play will premiere in summer 2024 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, it has been announced.

The play,
Show & Tell, will be directed by the playwright and Director Emeritus Alan Ayckbourn and run from 5 September to 5 October 2024

Show & Tell is about Jack, who’s planning a big party for his wife’s birthday. He’s pulling out all the stops and has booked a touring theatre company to perform in the family home. The only problem is that Jack’s getting a bit forgetful in his old age and can’t remember all the details of the booking.

Meanwhile, The Homelight Theatre Company is on its knees. They desperately need a well-paid gig and Jack’s booking is very well paid. Pinning him down on the details has been tricky and something doesn’t feel quite right.

Show & Tell is a celebration of theatre and this delightfully dark farce can be seen from 5 September to 5 October.

Tickets for
Show & Tell will go on sale from 10am on Wednesday 15 November. Tickets are available from the box office on 01723 370541 and online at

Note to editors: Enquiries regarding this production should be directed to the press office at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

Updated: 8 November 2024

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 (subsequently moved to in 2023), 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: Summer 2023

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

This website neither collects nor stores personal data. Whilst the website host may use cookies to analyse information on site performance and usage to ensure the best experience on this website, this information is anonymised so that no user-identifying information is shared