Ayckbourn Chronology: 1995

Notable Events

During 1995, Alan Ayckbourn…

reduced his writing and directing commitments to concentrate on the renovation of Scarborough's former Odeon cinema into the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

directed his final play at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round with Harold Pinter's Betrayal.

directed the transfer of Herb Gardner's Conversations With My Father, starring Judd Hirsch, from Scarborough to The Old Vic.

directed Communicating Doors in the West End at the Gielgud, which was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Comedy.

saw Faber & Faber publish its first collection of Ayckbourn work - Alan Ayckbourn: Plays 1.

saw Faber publish Communicating Doors & Samuel French publish Callisto 5, My Very Own Story & This Is Where We Came In.

World Premieres

A Word From Our Sponsor
20 April: Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round

Notable Ayckbourn Productions

Just Between Ourselves (Revival)
5 January: Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round

Communicating Doors (West End premiere)
7 August: Gielgud Theatre, London

Professional Directing

Conversations With My Father
The Old Vic, London
Communicating Doors
Gielgud Theatre, London
A Word From Our Sponsor *
Betrayal *

* Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough


"It's frustrating because people always have good reasons why they don't want to sponsor something. And when money is available, where people think the money should go is not always what's best for everyone. The ones that desperately need it often only get a small slice."
(Scarborough Evening News, 25 April 1995)

"The extraordinary thing about being a playwright is that you have no idea what people are talking about when they say they've seen a play of yours. If somebody says, 'I saw your play in Ipswich and I didn't like it,' you say, 'Oh, that's a pity.' But I have no idea what the director decided to do with it. He may have played it all on step-ladders in the semi-dark."
(Independent On Sunday, 11 June 1995)

Stephen Joseph was part revolutionary. He was part anarchist, which suited me at seventeen. I thought it was great."
(Paint It Red, July 1995)

"Everybody always tries to narrow you into pockets. No-one ever called Shakespeare the 'Knockabout King of the Globe'. He would occasionally trot out a comedy and he'd just as easily trot out a tragedy. It seems to me that one ought to be free to move around and not just get labelled as one thing."
(Paint It Red, July 1995)

“There are powers for good. You meet incredibly good people who have something in them beneficial to others. Then there are their counterparts, extraordinarily negative, sometimes inexplicable except in terms of harmful intent. I'm interested not in evil itself but in what run-of-the-mill English couples would make of it if they ran into it."
(Financial Times, 4 August 1995)

"Fantasy started to invade my work when I was writing for kids and the self-imposed shackles of naturalism disappeared. Kids have far less luggage; they're prepared to make the journey with you. In fact they'd be disgruntled if you took them into a kitchen just like their own. They jump very quickly into alternative universes, different, improbable times and places; not because they're stupid enough to think it will happen but because they're wise enough to know it might. It has come to inform my adult writing, though adults need a bit more persuasion, the use of a certain guile. You do that by tricks - and farce, technically the most difficult thing to control. Good ones are brilliant, slowly removing the self from natural laws and leaving the audience standing on its head, wondering how it got there."
(Financial Times, 4 August 1995)

"I try not to cop out. I know the happy ending is what everyone wants, but if at the end it breaks faith with what I'm writing, It breaks faith with the audience too. The bleakness originally surprised people because it was rarely found in comedy."
(Financial Times, 4 August 1995)

"People come to the theatre for nothing but spiritual reasons. They don't come to make money. They don't come to exercise their bodies very much. They come to exercise their spirits, and their minds, and their brains. And in that sense it's completely unique. Although you may be so involved in the play you are totally convinced that what's happening is happening, you're still totally aware that there are other people perceiving it. You never really forget that. That is the whole point of it, really."

"For many years, nobody would publish my plays, apart from Samuel French, because they had no literary content to them - that's what the editors would say. I suspect that (a) they were rather snobbish, but (b) it was to do with the fact that they were not dramatic people, and my writing is very much to be spoken - it's not to be read. It can be read, silently, but even people who know my work, when they come to a rehearsal and it's read out for the first time, they say: 'Oh! I see!'"

"I always insist that any play is idea led, not device led. You start with what you want to write about."
All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd and copyright of Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.