In His Own Words: Politics

Alan Ayckbourn has always be an apolitical writer and this reflects his now fundamental lack of interest in Politics. This can be seen in the fact that despite the vast number of plays he has written, only one actual MP features in all of his work: within Roundelay, the one act play The Politican features a sleazy MP who has a passion for prostitutes. Whilst critics and writer have ascribed political leanings and messages to both him and his work, the writer has frequently stated he has neither political leanings nor any interest in writing about Politics. This page contains several quotes over the years about his thoughts on British politics.

"I'm not politically anything really. I just write about people as I see them." (1976)

"I'm usually against whichever government is in at the time, simply because it often seems so incompetent." (1976)

"Politicians drive me absolutely barmy. I'm an anarchist. I've sat through 15 General Elections and seen the same pattern going on every time. I used to vote. I voted alternately, Labour, Liberal, Conservative. I thought, one of them must be right. All of them were wrong. But this lot are worse than the last lot. The next lot'll be worse than this lot." (1980)

"What the extreme left and the extreme right have in common is absolutely no sense of humour. Perhaps I can spread a sense of balance through comedy. I don't think it will do very much. It's like throwing a bucket of sand on a forest fire, but it might serve to save a small proportion." (1982)

"Politics and politicians are after all, in a democracy, merely the symptoms of that society’s current disease. They neither cause it and rarely can they cure it." (1987)

"I never choose political themes for my work, I feel politics (party politics) have no special place in theatre. Well, let's say no more nor less than anything else has. Any activity of human existence should be reflected in theatre occasionally, so why not politics? Along with stamp collecting and vintage car rallying." (1990)

"Increasingly affected by the lack of the Arts, the Arts are something that most politicians pin on their lapels on special popularity seeking occasions. Though I suspect these days for Arts read Green." (1990)

"One writes about one's own particular area. I'm not religious, I have a distaste for politics and find relationships endlessly fascinating." (1992)

"I’ve always been very suspicious of people who are passionately like-minded, particularly when they form into some sort of organisation - be it a political party or a religious sect." (2012)

"I don't think that I've ever been a political writer, but I think I've been a social writer. I am interested in the world around me although I generally write about the domestic, so it's more the Jane Austen model of managing to reflect her times without having too much on the Napoleonic wars." (2014)

"My characters have no politics because I don’t really.... I think - along with 99% of the country - I’m sick to death of it [Brexit]. It’s really put me off politicians. I mean I could write a very nasty play about politicians these days because I’m beginning to get angry. And that’s a good sign for a writer!" (2019)

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd. All quotes are copyright of Haydonning Ltd and credit should be given to 'Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website www.alanayckbourn.net' if reproduced.