Alan Ayckbourn

From Academic Kids

Alan Ayckbourn (born April 12, 1939) is a popular and prolific English playwright.



Ayckbourn was born in London and wrote his first play at prep school when he was about 10. At Haileybury, he toured Europe and America with the school Shakespeare. He left school at 17 to go straight into the theatre with an introduction to Sir Donald Wolfit by his French master. Ayckbourn joined Wolfit on tour as an assistant stage manager and actor.

By 1957, Ayckbourn was acting with director Stephen Joseph at Scarborough. In 1959 he played Stanley in the second production of writer-director Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party.

Ayckbourn has written and produced some sixty plays in Scarborough and London and is the artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Almost all of his plays receive their first performance at this theatre. More than 25 have subsequently been produced in the West End, at the Royal National Theatre or by the Royal Shakespeare Company since his first hit Relatively Speaking opened at the Duke of York's Theatre in 1967.

Major successes include Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests trilogy, Bedroom Farce, Just Between Ourselves, A Chorus Of Disapproval, Woman In Mind, A Small Family Business, Man Of The Moment and House & Garden. His plays have won numerous awards, including seven London Evening Standard Awards. They have been translated into over 30 languages and are performed on stage and television throughout the world.

Ayckbourn plays have also been filmed in French and English. Four of his plays have been seen on Broadway attracting two Tony nominations. In 1991, he received a Dramalogue Critics Award for his play Henceforward....

Although his plays have received major West End productions almost from the beginning of his writing career, and hence have been reviewed in British newspapers, Ayckbourn's work was for years routinely dismissed as being too slight for serious study. Recently scholars have begun to view Ayckbourn as an important commentator on the lifestyles of the British suburban middle class and as a stylistic innovator, experimenting with theatrical styles within the boundaries set by popular tastes.


1956–57Stage manager and actor, Donald Wolfit's company, in Edinburgh, Worthing, Leatherhead, Scarborough, and Oxford
1957–62Actor and stage manager, Stephen Joseph Theatre-in-the-Round, Scarborough, Yorkshire
1962–64Associate director, Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
1964–70Drama producer, BBC Radio, Leeds
1970—Artistic director, Stephen Joseph Theatre-in-the-Round
1986–88Associate director, National Theatre, London
1991–92Professor of contemporary theatre, Oxford University


Evening Standard award, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1990
Olivier award, 1985
Plays and Players award, 1987
D.Litt.: University of Hull, Yorkshire, 1981
D.Litt.: University of Keele, Staffordshire, 1987
D.Litt.: University of Leeds, 1987
C.B.E. (Commander, Order of the British Empire), 1987


* indicates retitled

1959The Square Cat
1959Love After All
1960Dad's Tale
1961Standing Room Only
1962Christmas V Mastermind
1963Mr Whatnot
1965Meet My Father *Relatively Speaking
1967The Sparrow
1969How The Other Half Loves
1970The Story So Far... *Me Times Me Times Me *Family Circles
1971Time And Time Again
1972Absurd Person Singular
1973Fancy Meeting You *Table Manners (Norman Conquests)
1973Make Yourself At Home *Living Together (Norman Conquests)
1973Round And Round The Garden (Norman Conquests)
1974Absent Friends
1975 Jeeves (re-written 1996 as By Jeeves)
1975Bedroom Farce
1976Just Between Ourselves
1977Ten Times Table
1978Joking Apart
1979Sisterly Feelings
1979Taking Steps
1980Suburban Strains
1980Season's Greetings
1981Way Upstream
1981Making Tracks
1982Intimate Exchanges Consisting Of 8 Plays
1983It Could Be Any One Of Us
1984A Chorus Of Disapproval
1985Woman In Mind
1987A Small Family Business
1988Man Of The Moment
1988Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays
1989The Revengers' Comedies
1989Invisible Friends
1990Body Language
1990This Is Where We Came In
1990Callisto 5 (re-written in 1999 as Callisto 7)
1991Wildest Dreams
1991My Very Own Story
1992Time Of My Life
1992Dreams From A Summer House
1994Communicating Doors
1994Haunting Julia
1994The Musical Jigsaw Play
1995A Word From Our Sponsor
1996The Champion Of Paribanou
1997Things We Do For Love
1998Comic Potential
1998The Boy Who Fell Into A Book
1999House (House & Garden)
1999Garden (House & Garden)
2000Virtual Reality
2001Gameplan (Damsels In Distress)
2001Flatspin (Damsels In Distress)
2001Roleplay (Damsels In Distress)
2002Snake In The Grass
2003My Sister Sadie
2004Drowning on Dry Land
2004Private Fears in Public Places

See also

The Crafty Art of Playmaking, Palgrave Macmillan (US) 2003, ISBN 1403962294nl:Alan Ayckbourn


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