Ayckbourn Chronology: 1978

Notable Events

During 1978, Alan Ayckbourn…

directed Ten Times Table at the Globe Theatre, London; marking the first time he had directed a play in the West End.

collaborated with the composer Paul Todd on the musical revue, Men On Women On Men.

saw Just Between Ourselves adapted for television by Yorkshire Television to mark the company's 10th anniversary.

learnt The Norman Conquests was the most performed play in British subsidised regional Theatres between April 1977 and March 1978, according to an Arts Council survey.

saw Bedroom Farce and Just Between Ourselves published by Samuel French.

was featured in the ITV documentaries A Sense Of Theatre and Calendar - The Best Sellers.

World Premieres

Joking Apart
12 January: Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round
Men On Women On Men (Revue)
17 June: Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round

Notable Ayckbourn Productions

Ten Times Table (West End premiere)
5 April: Globe Theatre, London

Professional Directing

Ten Times Table
Globe Theatre, London
Joking Apart *
Men On Women On Men *
Rookery Nook *
Travelling Hopefully *
Patriotic Bunting *
* Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough

Plays In Other Media

Just Between Ourselves
Television: 23 July, ITV
Men On Women On Men
Original cast recording (Scarborough)


"Marriage is not necessarily awful in itself. It's the awfulness of promising to give up one's life to one partner of the opposite sex. A lot of marriages are made at an early age when people should be restrained from making such rash promises. You have not been through marriage until you start hurling things at each other. Particularly if you marry at 19 - you grow up with each other and quarrel like children."
(Evening News, 24 February 1978)

"It was not until I was 19 I realised there was anything north of Potter's Bar. When I am writing a play I still translate anything I hear in Scarborough back into Southern. The situations and people are similar. The difference is the accent."
(Evening News, 24 February 1978)

"If people leave their homes to see one of my plays, I feel reassured. Scarborough in January is a pretty formidable place to be."
(Evening News, 24 February 1978)

"I'm very much the country cousin when I come to London. I tend not to socialise much because most of my year is spent in Scarborough. I like to be Mr Average, that's the way you pick up material. One of the nice things about being a playwright is that nobody recognises you."
(Richmond & Twickenham Times, 17 March 1978)

"I have an inverted snob's view which says that straight plays are written by people not blessed with humour. There's nothing a straight drama has that can't be improved with some comedy."
(Richmond & Twickenham Times, 17 March 1978)

"Remember writing is a craft and needs a lot of practise. Be generous with your talent."
(Richmond & Twickenham Times, 17 March 1978)

Stephen Joseph was something else again, absolutely amazing. He was, I suppose, the first of the Fringe men. He believed in theatre-in-the-round which at that time didn't exist…. Everything Stephen's teaching is now now fairly commonplace."
(Envisage, May 1978)

"Stephen Joseph gave me some good advice; it was my first play and I said 'Tell me about
directing. What do I do?', and he told me that a director's job is to form an atmosphere in which the actors feel free to create."
(Envisage, May 1978)

"I'm totally devoted to provincial theatre. I think it has been one of the great strengths of English Theatre…. I hope that one day the myth that if you're not in London you're not important will disappear."
(Envisage, May 1978)

"Mostly my characters are amalgams of various people I've known. Occasionally I am tempted to drop characters in whole. But you can go too far."
(Over 21, August 1978)

"There are actor-directors, but once you've tasted the megalomania of directing, you don't want to go back."
(Huddersfield Examiner, 11 August 1978)

"I rather thrive on deadlines. I need that pressure physically. I've got too many ideas. Then someone says, well it's got to be delivered on Monday, so you decide and you do it."
(Huddersfield Examiner, 11 August 1978)
All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd and copyright of Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.