Ayckbourn Influences: Playwriting Influences

This page contains quotes from Alan Ayckbourn regarding his influences as a playwright. Whilst he has never spoken in real depth about playwrights and their influence in his writing, this page does at least offer an insight into some of his thoughts on the subject.

"I’ve been influenced by every play I’ve ever been in." (1971)

"There were one or two people at the time I started, like Rattigan and Coward, the two kings of the stage, and then very early on in my theatre career the new wave lot happened. Pinter came and worked with us in our company and directed his
Birthday Party with us. That had a very strong effect. I think if you’re ever going to develop you take these influences and they disappear into your bloodstream." (1976)

"I am now moving towards my idol Chekhov who wrote the most perfect comedies of understanding." (1976)

"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." (2013)

"I’m a great admirer of David Hare and Alan Bennett. 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." (2013)

"I like to write comedies with dark shadows or dark comedies with patches of sunlight, as Chekhov did. There’s a lot of funny stuff, but it’s about human nature - and there’s darkness in that.” (2013)

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