Ayckbourn Chronology: 1970

Notable Events

Resigns from the BBC as a radio drama producer to concentrate on his playwriting career.

Holds the position of Director Of Productions at the Library Theatre, Scarborough for the summer season.

The West End premiere of How The Other Half Loves opens at the Lyric Theatre starring Robert Morley. It is a huge success, but Morley dominates and alters the play to suit his own whims. It plays a significant part in Alan being incorrectly labelled as a farceur for many years.

Directs his play Relatively Speaking for the first time with an amateur production in Leeds.

World premieres

The Story So Far... (later retitled: Family Circles)

Plays directed (non-Ayckbourn)

The Shy Gasman; Wife Swapping - Italian Style

Notable Productions

World Premiere: The Story So Far...
Director: Alan Ayckbourn
Venue: Library Theatre, Scarborough
Note: Subsequently retitled
Family Circles

London Premiere: How The Other Half Loves
Director: Robin Midgley
Venue: Lyric Theatre

Revival: Relatively Speaking
Director: Alan Ayckbourn
Venue: Leeds Civic Theatre
Note: Amateur production presented by Leeds Art Theatre


"I started as a farceur, people really did lose their trousers. The light comedy style has evolved out of my own capabilities, my own particular experiences - which happens to be complicated relationships. And other people's are even more funny, so I try to help them laugh about it."
(The Guardian, 7 August 1970)

"I'd like to finish up writing tremendously human comedies - Chekhovian comedy in a modern way."
(The Guardian, 7 August 1970)

"Light comedy must be recognisable to people in the street. The difficulty is to make it relevant and still funny."
(The Guardian, 7 August 1970)

"My output's too low. I'm pathologically lazy. I only write one a year and if that happens to flop…"
(The Guardian, 7 August 1970)

"Until very recently, the fairest advice one could offer a would-be playwright who was contemplating writing his first play for the theatre was "don't if you can possibly avoid it". The odds against getting a production at all, let alone a successful one, were formidable. For the author lucky enough to land a repertory production the financial rewards were even bleaker, in most cases. If he could recoup the cost of script duplication and typewriter ribbons he was doing well."
(The Author, 1970)

"It's in the comparative peace and calm of the provinces that the bulk of serious new work has to be carried out. This is not to presume that theatres in smaller county towns haven't got their own problems but the advantage they do have, if they're doing anything like a worthwhile job, is a positive, sometimes very personal, relationship with their audience."
(The Author, 1970)

"To adapt the saying slightly - playwrights may be born but they're also made. Their growth of talents is, to some extent, controlled by the treatment they receive from the medium they write for. It is an extraordinary and dedicated man who can, indefinitely, write for actors and improve, yet never hear his words spoken on a stage."
(The Author, 1970)

All research for this page by and copyright of Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.