Ayckbourn Chronology: 2007

Notable Events

During 2007, Alan Ayckbourn…

announced on 1 June, he was to step down as Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in 2009.

returned to direct Intimate Exchanges, which then transfered in its entirety to the Brits Off Broadway festival in New York.

saw Intimate Exchanges at the Brits Off Broadway festival receive Drama Desk Award nominations for Outstanding Actor (Bill Champion) and Outstanding Production.

marked the 40th anniversary of the West End premiere of Relatively Speaking with a revival at the SJT.

saw Absurd Person Singular revived in the West End to critical acclaim; the first Ayckbourn play to be staged in the West End since Damsels In Distress closed in 2003.

saw a UK tour of Bedroom Farce, directed by Robin Herford, becomes the first major tour of an Ayckbourn play since 2003.

learnt his long-thought lost second play, Love After All, had been discovered by his Archivist Simon Murgatroyd working in conjunction with the British Library.

saw Improbable Fiction published by Samuel French.

Notable Ayckbourn Productions

If I Were You (Tour)
17 January: UK tour produced by Stephen Joseph Theatre
Intimate Exchanges (Revival)
1 March: Stephen Joseph Theatre
Intimate Exchanges (New York premiere)
1 July: 59E59 Theatre, New York
Relatively Speaking (Revival)
24 July: Stephen Joseph Theatre
Absurd Person Singular (Revival)
11 December: Garrick Theatre, London
A Trip To Scarborough (Revival)
11 December: Stephen Joseph Theatre
Bedroom Farce (Tour)
TBC: UK tour produced by Bill Kenwright

Professional Directing

Intimate Exchanges
59E59 Theaters, New York
Intimate Exchanges *
Relatively Speaking *
A Trip To Scarborough *
If I Were You
UK tour

* Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough


"Theatre takes all forms of human behaviour and uses them to unite people. You can sit in a theatre and laugh yourself silly. You can sit in a theatre and wonder at a play that moves you. You can see aspects of another person's behaviour that you find difficult to deal with explained on stage. Theatre's basically a silent conversation between the writer, the actors and the audience."
(The Big Issue, 19 March 2007)

"I thought just after I'd had the stroke that at least I can write, even if I had to dictate. But funnily enough, the
directing side is returning far quicker. Writing, I suddenly realised, is an enormous drain on the resources."
(The Stage, 22 March 2007)

"I believe in long relationships - the sort of rapport that allows you to laugh a lot together. And being sensitive enough to the other that when they get a mood swing, you just adjust slightly to compensate. And doing the unexpected."
(American Theater, May 2007)

"One looks at one's life and thinks, ‘How on earth did it ever come to this? That decision happened completely spur of the moment! Why on earth did I decide to do it?' There's that slightly clichéd phrase ‘You make your own luck,' but I think you can choose your own luck as well."
(New York Sun, 12 June 2007)

"Years ago I did think: why aren't I being taken very seriously? But as someone once told me, I have an ability to make audiences laugh so I should treasure that. I don't want to lose that. There are plenty of people who can make audiences cry."
(Sunday Telegraph, 25 November 2007)

"I do look at my writing in terms of pre-stroke and post-stroke. I found it hard to get back into writing because you have to be on your own and I felt quite frightened about that. I've never really analysed how I write and I wasn't sure whether the instinct would still be there. I had taken it for granted, up to that point, that the part of the brain responsible for creative writing would function automatically - but a stroke is a dysfunction. I'm still not quite right. These fingers are a bit odd. And this foot is less than mobile. That thing one doesn't like to talk about, that shaft of light that suddenly arrives and we think of as inspiration, would it still be there?"
(Sunday Telegraph, 25 November 2007)

"When I first came round in the hospital after my stroke I imagined writing would be easier to get back into than directing, because writing is sedentary and solitary while directing is more active. But actually it was the other way round. I got straight back into the rehearsal room, with the doctor telling me it was too soon. I found it a shot in the arm. I get so excited when I get into a rehearsal room. I am like a racehorse being ushered into the starting gate, under starter's orders."
(Sunday Telegraph, 25 November 2007)

"I think if I walked away from the theatre I would probably die. Sometimes you need something to retire to. When I'm not writing or directing I wander around not knowing what to do with myself."
(Sunday Telegraph, 25 November 2007)

"My late agent, the great eccentric
Peggy Ramsay, hated me writing plays set at Christmas. 'Oh Alan,' she'd say, 'not another bloody Christmas play.' But I'd explain to her that Christmas was a gift to a dramatist. You're always looking for a reason to stick a group of people together who can't stand each other, aren't you? Dinner parties are good, but what better time than Christmas? You've got three days together and there's always bound to be at least a cousin no one can stand. I've seen it at my own Christmases - two relatives arguing bitterly over who should sit in which chair. And when I talked to Peggy, I found out that she had an uncle - a tubby man - who would turn up every Christmas wearing a dress and sit her on his knee; but no one would believe that if I put it in a play."
(The Guardian, 20 December 2007)

"I started writing myself plays for me to
act in because nobody else seemed to be. I found out why they weren’t eventually."

"In general, I want to celebrate the live event through an empathy between two sets of live people, cast and audience. I hope at best to hold us up to the light and occasionally help people to view things from a different angle. I don’t really want to change the world, I don’t think that’s my job, but I don’t mind bringing about the occasional beneficial change in the individual. Even if it’s only to see the funny side of themselves. All the worst people, in my experience, tend to take themselves far too seriously."

"I hope, at its best, my style walks a delicate tightrope between comedy and drama, between laughter and pain. Light and shadow."
All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd and copyright of Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.