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Alan Ayckbourn

English playwright Alan Ayckbourn, born in London in 1939, is a popular and prolific writer of plays.

Ayckbourn 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, and joined him 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, directed by Harold Pinter, in the second production of Pinter's The Birthday Party.

He 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 RSC 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[?], 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.


1956-57 Stage manager and actor, Donald Wolfit's company, in Edinburgh, Worthing, Leatherhead, Scarborough, and Oxford
1957-62 Actor and stage manager, Stephen Joseph Theatre-in-the-Round, Scarborough, Yorkshire
1962-64 Associate director, Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
1964-70 Drama producer, BBC Radio, Leeds
Since 1970 Artistic director, Stephen Joseph Theatre-in-the-Round
1986-88 Associate director, National Theatre, London
1991-2 Professor 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


  1. The Square Cat 1959
  2. Love After All 1959
  3. Dad's Tale 1960
  4. Standing Room Only 1961
  5. Christmas V Mastermind 1962
  6. Mr Whatnot 1963
  7. Meet My Father * Relatively Speaking 1965
  8. The Sparrow 1967
  9. How The Other Half Loves 1969
  10. The Story So Far... * Me Times Me Times Me * Family Circles 1970
  11. Time And Time Again 1971
  12. Absurd Person Singular 1972
  13. Fancy Meeting You * Table Manners (Norman Conquests) 1973
  14. Make Yourself At Home * Living Together (Norman Conquests) 1973
  15. Round And Round The Garden (Norman Conquests) 1973
  16. Absent Friends 1974
  17. Jeeves Re-Written 1996 As By Jeeves 1975
  18. Confusions 1974
  19. Bedroom Farce 1975
  20. Just Between Ourselves 1976
  21. Ten Times Table 1977
  22. Joking Apart 1978
  23. Sisterly Feelings 1979
  24. Taking Steps 1979
  25. Suburban Strains 1980
  26. Season's Greetings 1980
  27. Way Upstream 1981
  28. Making Tracks 1981
  29. Intimate Exchanges Consisting Of 8 Plays 1982
  30. It Could Be Any One Of Us 1983
  31. A Chorus Of Disapproval 1984
  32. Woman In Mind 1985
  33. A Small Family Business 1987
  34. Henceforward... 1987
  35. Man Of The Moment 1988
  36. Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays 1988
  37. The Revengers' Comedies 1989
  38. Invisible Friends 1989
  39. Body Language 1990
  40. This Is Where We Came In 1990
  41. Callisto 5 Re-Written In 1999 As Callisto 7 1990
  42. Wildest Dreams 1991
  43. My Very Own Story 1991
  44. Time Of My Life 1992
  45. Dreams From A Summer House 1992
  46. Communicating Doors 1994
  47. Haunting Julia 1994
  48. The Musical Jigsaw Play 1994
  49. A Word From Our Sponsor 1995
  50. The Champion Of Paribanou 1996
  51. Things We Do For Love 1997
  52. Comic Potential 1998
  53. The Boy Who Fell Into A Book 1998
  54. House (House & Garden) 1999
  55. Garden (House & Garden) 1999
  56. Virtual Reality 2000
  57. Whenever 2000
  58. Gameplan (Damsels In Distress) 2001
  59. Flatspin (Damsels In Distress) 2001
  60. Roleplay (Damsels In Distress) 2001
  61. Snake In The Grass 2002

(*) retitled

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