Ayckbourn Chronology: 2013

Notable Events

During 2013, Alan Ayckbourn…

made his West Coast directorial debut with the North American premiere of Sugar Daddies at ACT, Seattle.

saw the Royal & Derngate, Northampton, stage the 50th anniversary production of Mr Whatnot.

saw Relatively Speaking revived in the West End for the first time since its original London production in 1967, directed by Lindsay Posner.

saw French film auteur Alain Resnais adapt Life Of Riley into the film Aimer, Boire et Chanter.

had Surprises nominated for Best New Play in the UK Theatre Awards.

saw Bedroom Farce featured in the National Theatre's 50th anniversary celebration.

workshopped The Boy Who Fell Into A Book in London; a musical adaptation of his play with book & lyrics by Paul James and music by Cathy Shostak and Eric Angus.

saw Tom Erhardt, his second agent following Margaret Ramsay, retire having been his agent since 1991. He is succeeded by Mel Kenyon.

saw the first major biography of his mentor Stephen Joseph published by Bloomsbury with Stephen Joseph: Theatre Pioneer & Provocateur by Dr Paul Elsam.

saw Neighbourhood Watch published by Samuel French.

World Premieres

Arrivals & Departures
6 August: Stephen Joseph Theatre
Farcicals: Chloë With Love (One Act play)
4 September: Stephen Joseph Theatre
Farcicals: The Kidderminster Affair (One Act play)
4 September: Stephen Joseph Theatre

Notable Ayckbourn productions

Surprises (Tour)
23 January: UK tour produced by Stephen Joseph Theatre

Mr Whatnot (Revival)
19 March: Royal & Derngate, Northampton
Relatively Speaking (Revival)
16 May: Wyndham Theatre, London
Time Of My Life (Revival)
11 June: Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
Sugar Daddies (North American premiere)
10 October: ACT, Seattle
Season's Greetings (Revival)
3 December: Union Theatre, London

Professional Directing

Sugar Daddies
ACT, Seattle
Arrivals & Departures
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
Chloë With Love (Farcicals)
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
The Kidderminster Affair (Farcicals)
Stephen Joseph Theatre, London
Time Of My Life
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
UK tour


"Drama relies on friction. The old chestnut holds true, name one happy marriage in the works of Shakespeare? Happy marriages are not attractive to playwrights. People sitting around smiling, contentedly enjoying each other’s company, may be wonderful in real life but they don’t make for good theatre. Fortunately for us dramatists many wives drive men insane whilst a lot of wives grow profoundly disappointed with the man they married. Not all children bring infinite joy and many reduce their parents to tears. And as for parents…."
(Boston Globe, 8 February 2013)

"I am fortunate in having a ready supply of ideas and themes that I want to develop, although the initial idea always needs, in my case, a series of 'sub-ideas' before it becomes anything substantial."
(Boston Globe, 8 February 2013)

"My favourite book is undoubtedly
Winnie the Pooh - with House at Pooh Corner a close second."
(Scarborough Evening News, 28 February 2013)

"When I’m not writing or rehearsing, I spend a lot of my time reading crime fiction. I tend to move from author to author, alighting on one and devouring their entire output."
(Scarborough Evening News, 28 February 2013)

"We sometimes fail to realise where we are in our lives, if only we stopped and just looked around for a moment. We seem to spend most of our lives looking backwards or forwards. We look forward to something, but when it arrives, it's never quite what we expect and we look back on other things rather longingly and wished we'd enjoyed it more when we were there."
(Hull Daily Mail, 22 June 2013)

"I’m always looking for an area where I haven’t been before. But given that every single character comes from me, there are limits.”
(Yorkshire Post, 22 June 2013)

“I get wary because I have to make sure that it’s not just a gimmick. I’m known for weird structures and plays that happen in two theatres at once, but they always have to come from the heart of the play. It’s not enough to want to write a play in two theatres, they have to have a theme and a set of characters to go with them.”
(Yorkshire Post, 22 June 2013)

“I did forays to the south because a lot of my shows went to the West End and I directed quite a lot of them, but I never enjoyed that half as much as coming back to Scarborough.”
(Yorkshire Post, 22 June 2013)

"I’ve had three careers in theatre: I started as an
actor and then took, as I call it, the 'poison chalice' of directing. Once you feel you’re in control as a director, it’s harder to go back to acting. The directing career developed quite independently from my writing career at first. Then the two almost inevitably merged, but quite later on."
(Memeteria, 8 October 2013)

"One of the writers that had the most profound effect on me, when I was directing other people’s plays, was Arthur Miller. The great thing about being a writer directing other people’s work is that as a director, you’re more or less compelled to take the play apart in order to put it together again with the actors. You see the mainspring here, the cogs there. Miller was a terrific craftsman and had a brain on him the size of Britain."
(Memeteria, 8 October 2013)

"I was very lucky I grew up at the crossroads for English drama. So I absorbed a lot of the old-fashioned, well-made plays, and then came John Osborne and
Harold Pinter, who was an enormous influence of me. I even acted in an early production of The Birthday Party, which he directed. He was an extraordinarily unique voice. So I’m influenced by the Chekhovs through to the Pinters really. I was blessed with a double upbringing."
(Memeteria, 8 October 2013)

"I found at a depressingly early age as a writer that there is nothing original in drama. The minute you feel you have created something entirely new there is always some critic or member of the audience ready to step forward and point out that so-and-so wrote that exact story years before. There are no original ideas just as there are no original jokes. But there are still endless ways to retell stories however familiar. In your own unique way."
All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd and copyright of Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.