Alan Ayckbourn: Who's Who Entry

This is text relating to Alan Ayckbourn submitted for the 2013 edition of Who's Who. Please note, this is slightly expanded from the published version with abbreviations amended and further production information including details for 2016.

Ayckbourn, Sir Alan
Kt 1997; CBE 1987

Born 12 April 1939; son of Horace Ayckbourn and Irene Maude (née Worley); married 1st, 1959, Christine Helen (née Roland); two sons; 2nd, 1997, Heather Stoney

Playwright and director; Artistic Director, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, 1972 - 2009


Worked in repertory as Stage Manager / Actor at Edinburgh, Worthing, Leatherhead, Oxford, and with late Stephen Joseph’s Theatre-in-the-Round Company, at Scarborough. Founder Member, Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, 1962. BBC Radio Drama Producer, Leeds, 1965–70; Company Director National Theatre, 1986–87. Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre, and Fellow, St Catherine’s College, Oxford, 1991–92. Has written numerous full-length plays almost all premiered in Scarborough. London productions:
Mr Whatnot, Arts, 1964; Relatively Speaking, Duke of York’s, 1967, Wyndham's, 2013 (televised, 1969, 1989); How the Other Half Loves, Lyric, 1970, Duke of York’s, 1988 & 2016; Time and Time Again, Comedy, 1972 (televised, 1976); Absurd Person Singular, Criterion, 1973, transferred Vaudeville, 1974, Whitehall, 1990, Garrick, 2007 (Evening Standard Drama Award, Best Comedy, 1973) (televised, 1985); The Norman Conquests (trilogy), Globe, 1974, transferred Apollo, 1975, Old Vic, 2008 (Evening Standard Drama Award, Best Play; Variety Club of Great Britain Award; Plays and Players Award) (televised, 1977); Jeeves (musical, with Andrew Lloyd Webber), Her Majesty’s, 1975, reworked as By Jeeves, Duke of York’s, transferred Lyric, 1996, New York, 2001 (filmed, 2001); Absent Friends, Garrick, 1975, Harold Pinter, 2012 (televised, 1985); Confusions, Apollo, 1976; Bedroom Farce (director), National Theatre, 1977, transferred Prince Of Wales, 1978, New York, 1979, Aldwych, 2002, Duke Of York's, 2010 (televised, 1980); Just Between Ourselves, Queen’s, 1977 (Evening Standard Drama Award, Best Play) (televised, 1978); Ten Times Table (director), Globe, 1978; Family Circles, Orange Tree, 1978; Joking Apart (director), Globe, 1979 (shared Plays and Players Award, Best Comedy); Sisterly Feelings (director), National Theatre, 1980; Taking Steps, Lyric, 1980, Orange Tree, 2010; Suburban Strains (musical with Paul Todd) (director), Round House, 1981; Season’s Greetings (director), Apollo, 1982, National Theatre, 2010 (televised, 1986); Way Upstream (director), National Theatre, 1982 (televised, 1988); Making Tracks (musical with Paul Todd) (director), Greenwich, 1983; Intimate Exchanges (director), Ambassadors, 1984 (filmed, 1993); A Chorus of Disapproval (director), National Theatre, 1985, transferred Lyric, 1986, Harold Pinter, 2012 (Evening Standard Drama Award, Best Comedy; Olivier Award, Best Comedy; DRAMA Award, Best Comedy, 1985) (filmed, 1989); Woman in Mind (director), Vaudeville, 1986 & 2009; A Small Family Business (director), National Theatre, 1987 & 2014 (Evening Standard Drama Award, Best Play); Henceforward… (director), Vaudeville, 1988 (Evening Standard Drama Award, Best Comedy, 1989); Man of the Moment (director), Globe, 1990 (Evening Standard Drama Award, Best Comedy, 1990); The Revengers’ Comedies (director), Strand, 1991 (filmed 1989); Time of My Life (director), Vaudeville, 1993; Wildest Dreams (director), Royal Shakespeare Company, 1993; Communicating Doors (director), Gielgud, 1995, transferred Savoy, 1996, Menier Chocolate Factory, 2015 (Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award, Best West End Play, 1996); Things We Do For Love (director), Gielgud, 1998, transferred Duchess 1998 (Lloyds Private Banking Playwright of the Year); adaption Ostrovsky’s The Forest, National Theatre, 1999; Comic Potential (director), Lyric, 1999; House & Garden (director), National Theatre, 2000; Damsels in Distress (trilogy), (director), Duchess, 2002; Haunting Julia, Riverside Studios, 2011; Snake in the Grass, Print Room, 2011; Drowning On Dry Land, Jermyn Street Theatre, 2011; Private Fears in Public Places (director), Orange Tree, 2011 (filmed, 2007); Neighbourhood Watch, Tricycle, 2012; Scarborough: It Could Be Any One Of Us, 1983; Body Language, 1990; Dreams from a Summer House (play with music by John Pattison), 1992; A Word from our Sponsor (musical with John Pattison), 1995; Sugar Daddies, 2003; Improbable Fiction, 2005; If I Were You, 2006; Life & Beth, 2008; Awaking Beauty (musical with Denis King), 2008; My Wonderful Day, 2009; Life of Riley, 2010 (filmed, 2015); Dear Uncle (adaptation Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya), 2011; Surprises, 2012; Arrivals & Departures, 2013; Roundelay, 2014; Hero's Welcome, 2015; Consuming Passions, 2016; A Brief History Of Women, 2017; Better Off Dead, 2018; Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present, 2019; Anno Domino, 2020; The Girl Next Door, 2021; All Lies, 2022; Family Album, 2022; Welcome to the Family, 2023; Constant Companions, 2023; Show & Tell, 2024; other plays directed include: Tons of Money, National Theatre, 1986; A View from the Bridge, National Theatre, transferred Aldwych, 1987 (Plays And Players Award, Best Director); ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, National Theatre, 1988; Two Weeks with the Queen, National Theatre, 1994; Conversations with my Father, Old Vic, 1995; The Safari Party, Scarborough, 2002, Hampstead, 2003. Plays for families include: Callisto 5, 1990; My Very Own Story, 1991; This Is Where We Came In, 1990; Invisible Friends (director), National Theatre, 1991; Mr A’s Amazing Maze Plays (director), National Theatre, 1993; The Musical Jigsaw Play, 1994; The Champion of Paribanou, 1996; The Boy Who Fell Into A Book, Soho, 2012; Callisto#7, 1999; Whenever (musical with Denis King), 2000; The Jollies, 2002; Orvin - Champion of Champions (musical with Denis King), 2003; My Sister Sadie, 2003; Miss Yesterday, 2004; Hon. D. Litt: Hull, 1981; Keele, 1987; Leeds, 1987; Bradford, 1994; University of Wales College of Cardiff, 1995; Manchester, 2003; York St John, 2011; D. York, 1992; Open University, 1998. Sunday Times Award for Literary Achievement, 2000; Special Olivier Award, 2009; Critics’ Circle Award for Services to the Arts, 2010; Tony Lifetime Achievement Award, 2010; Oxford Literary Festival Honorary Fellowship, 2016; Stephen Joseph Theatre Director Emeritus, 2018.

The Crafty Art of Playmaking, 2002; The Divide, 2019; the majority of his plays have been published and are currently in print

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Published in: ‘Ayckbourn, Sir Alan’, Who's Who 2020, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2020; online edition, Oxford University Press, December 2020; online edition, November 2020

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