Ayckbourn Chronology: 2015

Notable Events

During 2015, Alan Ayckbourn…

wrote The Divide - an epic post catastrophic love story about a world devastated by a disease which makes contact with women fatal for men, recounted through diary entries, correspondence, transcripts and reportage. It is written as a prose work and is published as a novel during 2019 - it is not a play nor intended to be performed as a play. Its first read-through runs to eight hours.

saw the Stephen Joseph Theatre celebrate its 60th anniversary since its founding in 1955 by Stephen Joseph. Amongst the celebration events is a gala semi-staged reading of The Divide. Despite the original work having been reduced by a third in length, the gala event still runs for eight hours!

saw Chichester Festival Theatre revive Way Upstream with the most ambitious staging of the canal-based play yet produced; the cabin cruiser is built on a robotic arm for its movement.

saw the Menier Chocolate Factory revive Communicating Doors.

saw Bloomsbury publish a new edition of Confusions to coincide with his revival of the play at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

saw Alain Resanis's film adaptation of Life Of Riley released on blu-ray / DVD in the UK by Eureka.

had The Norman Conquests broadcast on BBC Radio in a new adaptation.

World Premieres

Hero’s Welcome
8 September: Stephen Joseph Theatre

Notable London Productions

Roundelay (Tour)
21 January: UK tour produced by Stephen Joseph Theatre

Way Upstream (Revival)
23 April: Chichester Festival Theatre

Absent Friends (Tour)
29 April: UK tour by London Classic Theatre
Communicating Doors (Revival)
7 May: Menier Chocolate Factory, London
Confusions (Revival)
14 July: Stephen Joseph Theatre
The Divide (Rehearsed reading)
27 September: Stephen Joseph Theatre

Professional Directing

Hero's Welcome
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
UK tour

Plays In Other Media

The Norman Conquests
Radio: 14 March, BBC Radio 4


“I’m a lousy person to go to a restaurant with, I drive my wife mad because I’m always listening into everyone else’s conversations and watching the waiter. I’m an open recording machine really - I hear everything, and I’m always observing the fringes.”
(Gloucestershire Echo, 22 February 2015)

“I was blessed as a playwright. Coward, Rattigan and Shaw all had a huge influence on me, then there were the kitchen sink lads like Osborne and Pinter. It was my good fortune to be practising a craft when influence was rife, and I learned from both sides. I drew a lot of influence from my childhood spent in the cinema, I never went to much theatre, but I saw practically every black and white film made before 1950. My step-brother and I would spend our entire holidays in the cinema. There was a choice of potentially 24 movies in a week - then we’d go round again! A lot of my unusual techniques are borne of film.”
(Gloucestershire Echo, 22 February 2015)

"I think people love the idea of actors playing different roles and becoming different people. There is something marvellous about that which is still peculiarly theatrical; you don’t get that impression from movies and television in quite the way you do on stage. I think this is partly because you take the magic for granted in a sense on screen with computer generated images and special effects. But if an actor becomes someone right in front of your very eyes or changes from one person to another, you can still believe there’s a bit of magic somewhere. It’s a bit like watching a live magician: ‘I know you've fooled me, but I just want to know how you did it.’"
(Official Website interview, May 2015)

"I don't think I've worked us out, because people are inconsistent, so they constantly surprise. I never tire of examining the human psyche; I'm an instinctive psychologist. I don't want to know about people in advance; I first want to see them and observe them, and hopefully audiences will recognise someone in my plays, though they won't recognise themselves. As Jonathan Swift says, satire is a mirror in which you can see everyone's face but your own."
(The Press, 14 September)

"Storytelling was part of my upbringing - probably the result during my early years of having a mother as a writer who also spent most of her time writing in order to feed our single parent family of two! What choice did I have?"

"It’s not uncommon for playwrights to start out as
actors. From Shakespeare onwards. It’s very important, a sort of apprenticeship, really. Nothing like doing it for actually learning the craft. A bit like learning an instrument before embarking on composition."

"In general, as many have observed, the work has gradually grown darker in tone. I put this down less to an increasing pessimism about human nature brought about by old age - though there’s certainly a bit of that - but more to the plays favouring exploration of character over plot. The deeper you dig, the darker it tends to get."
All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd and copyright of Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.