Ayckbourn Chronology: 1977

Notable Events

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© Haydonning Ltd

During 1977, Alan Ayckbourn…

directed at the National Theatre for the first time with Bedroom Farce.

saw Just Between Ourselves open at the Queen's Theatre in the West End; this marked the first time he had plays running simultaneously in both the West End and at the National Theatre.

wrote his first new play, Ten Times Table, for the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round inspired by his experiences moving the company to its new home.

was appointed Chair of the Drama Panel of the Yorkshire Arts Association.

was reported by the publisher Samuel French to have one of his plays performed somewhere in the world every 24 hours.

received the Evening Standard Award for Best Play with Just Between Ourselves; the second time he had won the prestigious award after The Norman Conquests.

saw The Norman Conquests adapted for television marking the first time a British TV channel had dedicated six hours of prime time programming to a living playwright.

had Absurd Person Singular and Absent Friends adapted for the radio by the BBC.

saw Samuel French publish Confusions whilst Chatto & Windus published a hardback collection called Three Plays.

was featured in the ITV documentary series Northerners.

quit smoking. A prolific smoker since the 1960s, Alan and several actors made a bet to quit during the autumn. Alan stopped on the first day and never smoked again.

World Premieres

Ten Times Table
18 January: Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round
The Jubilee Show ('Grey' play)
7 June: Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round

Notable Ayckbourn Productions

Bedroom Farce (West End premiere)
16 March: National Theatre, London
Just Between Ourselves (West End premiere)
20 April: Queen's Theatre, London

Professional Directing

Bedroom Farce
National Theatre, London
Ten Times Table *
The Jubilee Show *
Dear Liar *
Fallen Angels *
Sleuth *
Pygmalion *
The Rehearsal *
A Man For All Seasons *

* Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough

Plays In Other Media

Absurd Person Singular
Radio: 5 March, BBC Radio 4
The Norman Conquests
Television: 5 / 12 / 19 October, ITV
Absent Friends
Radio: Date TBC, BBC World Service


Evening Standard Award For Best Play
Just Between Ourselves


"I feel the need to direct, very strongly. I write one play a year and if all I did was write I know I'd get very bored. I'm not a very disciplined writer. I mean, I'm not one of those people who can get up and start prompt on 8am and write 500 words before lunch. I find it far more difficult than that."
(Birmingham Post, 1 January 1977)

"I don't believe those people who say they don't care about notices. You never have so much confidence in your own work that you can take massive criticism."
(Birmingham Post, 1 January 1977)

"There is still, though, this belief that if it sounds easy to listen to it's somehow been easy to write, which is totally untrue. Good writing should look easy. It's not like making a chest of drawers where you can see the dovetailing and know it's been made by a craftsman."
(Birmingham Post, 1 January 1977)

"I'm not really an urban creature but theatre people as a rule have to live near large population centres. Scarborough being smaller than a city but larger than a village is a happy compromise. Professionally, I have a theatre there to write for and a company I can run in relative calm and with plenty of sea air. Privately I feel an identity with the place."
(National Theatre, March 1977)

"I write quickly and think slowly. For 360 days I think, I work for four and collapse on the other one."
(San Francisco Chronicle, 30 August 1977)
All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd and copyright of Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.