In His Own Words: Success

This page contains quotes (listed by year) by Alan Ayckbourn with regard to his success. They are drawn from a variety of sources and it should always be borne in mind these quotes may not necessarily reflect Alan Ayckbourn's current thoughts on a subject.

"There is always the temptation when you do write a hit play to let yourself be gathered up in some sycophantic set. Successful young playwrights are, after all, nice things to be able to have at your party. But one of the beauties of living in Leeds is that it helps you keep your feet on the ground. Most people around here, for instance, would be a lot more impressed to know I'd written an episode of a television soap opera than a play which ran in the West End." (1969)

"If you write successful comedies I don't think you'll ever be considered throughly respectable." (1973)

"I've noticed that when you're successful people tend to defer to your views - which I find rather alarming because nobody took any notice of me before." (1975)

"I do listen to the critics that I think are worth listening to, but I don't know that they have any positive contribution to make to what you are doing. By the time they've written their review a person like me is probably two or three plays ahead, and it is a little bit late to be able to do anything about it." (1976)

"I don't believe those people who say they don't care about the notices [reviews]. You never have so much confidence in your own work that you can take massive criticism." (1977)

"I'm very honoured to be on the National Curriculum. I always used to say it's the beginning of the end when you get on a list like that, as things that were written for entertainment are suddenly being rammed down people's throats. I just hope they'll get the same enjoyment out of studying them as they do out of watching them. The problem is, a lot of plays are written to be performed. It's like studying sheet music. Until you hear and see it, it really isn't the same thing. But it's nice to be on the list." (1999)

"I am surprised at how successful I have been. All I have tended to do was write what kept coming into my head. But I would never get carried away by the plaudits. Every now and then I stop for 10 seconds to enjoy it all, but then I become more worried about the next one I am going to write." (2001)

“When I look back there are certain things I would have done differently. One is always slightly critical of what one does. That’s why you keep going. If you work hard then you get better at it.” (2001)

"I never look back too much, really. I’m always running from the first night eager to get on with the new play, partly as protective covering. But, as Michael Bogdanov once said to me, if you keep running they can’t hit you." (2009)

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.