Ayckbourn Chronology: 2002

Notable Events

During 2002, Alan Ayckbourn…

directed the world premiere of The Safari Party by Tim Firth; this will be the final non-Ayckbourn play he will direct at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

wrote his first book The Crafty Art Of Playmaking.

wrote his first play specifically aimed at a pre-school audience with The Princess And The Mouse.

directed the West End transfer of Damsels In Distress with the original Scarborough company.

was appointed a member of the Theatre Of Comedy Company.

endorsed www.alanayckbourn.net as his official website.

saw The Pocket Guide To Alan Ayckbourn's Plays by Paul Allen published by Faber & Faber.

saw his biography Alan Ayckbourn: Grinning At The Edge by Paul Allen published by Methuen in softcover.

saw By Jeeves released on DVD in the UK.

saw House & Garden premiere in New York at the Manhattan Theatre Club.

saw Bedroom Farce revived in the West End, directed by Loveday Ingram; the production re-ignited serious misgivings about the West End productions of his plays.

saw Damsels In Distress, The Jollies and Whenever published by Faber & Faber and Body Language published by Samuel French.

World Premieres

Snake In The Grass
5 June: Stephen Joseph Theatre
The Jollies
3 December: Stephen Joseph Theatre
The Princess And The Mouse (Play for children)
11 December: Stephen Joseph Theatre

Notable Ayckbourn Productions

Damsels In Distress (Tour)
15 January: UK tour produced by Stephen Joseph Theatre
Bedroom Farce (Revival)
8 April: Aldwych Theatre, London
House & Garden (New York premiere)
21 May: Manhattan Theatre Club
Joking Apart (Revival)
16 July: Stephen Joseph Theatre
Damsels In Distress (West End premiere)
7 September: Duchess Theatre, London

Professional Directing

Duchess Theatre, London
Duchess Theatre, London
Duchess Theatre, London
Snake In The Grass *
The Jollies *
Joking Apart *
The Princess & The Mouse *
The Safari Party *
Damsels In Distress (trilogy)
UK tour
* Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough


"I thought I wanted to be an actor, but once I had directed a show, I realised that was what I wanted to do. I realised that there were people better at it than I was, and that it would make a lot more sense if I could work through them, rather than competing with them or trying to emulate them. And directing is very exciting - you have a close working relationship with a lot of people. It's a like an extended family."
(Sunderland Echo, 18 January 2002)

"The Queen Mother did come to a lot of my plays and, of course, she had the garden gnome from
Time & Time Again at the Castle of Mey."
(Daily Telegraph, 14 April 2002)

"I was the first playwright to be knighted since Terence Rattigan. Tom Stoppard says it was him, but it was me."
(Daily Telegraph, 14 April 2002)

"I don't write about real people. I might borrow so-and-so's nose, but all the experiences and feelings in my plays belong to me. I don't need to look outside. I am still mining my own life."
(Daily Telegraph, 14 April 2002)

"My mother gave me far more complexes, hang-ups, phobias, prejudices, inspirations and self-insights than any writer has a right to expect from a parent."
(Daily Telegraph, 14 April 2002)

"I have been in Scarborough for 40 years, but I haven't written a Northern play. Why? Because everything of me was formed when I lived in London and Sussex between the ages of four and 17. It was a rich childhood for a writer. The rows going on around me were instructive."
(Daily Telegraph, 14 April 2002)

"I realised when I was quite young that girls were getting less of a shout than men. In many ways things have got better for women over the past 40 years. The progress for women has meant correspondingly increased confusion for men. That's what I have chronicled in my plays."
(Daily Telegraph, 14 April 2002)

"I get depressed, just for a couple of days, when a new play has opened. I lose all confidence. On first nights I give super parties, but I never stay to the end. I have to leave before I get maudlin. It's the same as the end of a love affair."
(Daily Telegraph, 14 April 2002)

"There's a lot of super dramatists who only got seven plays out, so I'm lucky. The really exciting thing for me is that the ideas still keep bobbing up. I know I'm well past my sell-by date, so for me it's a case of keep quiet, keep your head down, keep writing."
(The Times, 21 May 2002)

"I never research anything. I just make it all up. I'm terribly lazy."
(Artscene, July 2002)

"I've got a good role model. Shakespeare never had an original plot. They were all nicked of somebody. What he did was make them original."
(Artscene, July 2002)

"I feel society has to live by certain guidelines, but it's difficult to know where to look. Politicians tried preaching family values and were caught with their trousers round their ankles. And the church has been so busy being all things to everybody that it seems to have no views, though I've great hopes of the new Archbishop of Canterbury. In the end, I suppose I believe in loving your neighbour, respect for other people and the principle of the nuclear family. But I'm in an awful position as a writer, because I love it when things break up."
(The Guardian, 4 September 2002)

"I'm a bit wary of influences. Most young writers would say they were influenced by Scrobadov, a rare Polish playwright who wrote one play and drowned himself, rather than an Establishment figure like me. But along with others, I suppose what I've done is to encourage the unresolved ending. I've also tried to mix the different elements of comedy and tragedy. What I've tried to do is bring these elements together, which is a bit like dancing on the edge of a razor blade."
(The Guardian, 4 September 2002)
All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd and copyright of Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.