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Alan Ayckbourn

  • Birth

    Alan was born in Hampstead, London. To Irene Maud and Horace Ayckbourn. Up to date Alan has written 89 plays.
  • Parents Separation

    Alan's parents got divorced, though they were never married, he found out in his middle age. His mom then got married with a bank manager and moved to rural sussex. It was an unhappy marriage that led to an unhappy childhood, which can now be seen through his plays since they go over relationships.
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    Earned a scholarship to a well respected school: Haileybury."Two people inspired me. A wonderful teacher, Edgar Matthews, at my school, Haileybury, who first introduced me to theatre and sent us on tours to the States and the Netherlands with our school Shakespeare productions.."
    Correspondence, 2005. Where he acted in productions by Shakespeare and traveled with a theater group to see some too. He dropped out at 17 to pursue his acting career.
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    Director Position

    He was Director of Productions of Stephen Joseph founded Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre, Scarborough.
  • Acting Career

    Acting Career
    He was employed as an actor/stage manager with Sir Donald Wolfit's company at the Edinburgh Festival.
  • New Job

    New Job
    He moved to the Library theater Scarborough with the Stephen Joseph Company with small parts. He complained to Stephen and he said “If you want a better part you better write one for yourself”, seeing the potential in him as a writer rather than an actor.
  • Love After All

    Love After All
    Winter of 1959. A farce about a man's attempts to woo a miser's daughter using various disguises, only to be outwitted and end up with the maid instead.
  • The Square Cat

    The Square Cat
    In the summer of 1959 Alan created his first play, a collaboration between him and his wife under the pseudonym Roland Allen. It's about a housewife organizing an unlawful meeting at a country estate with rock 'n' roll sensation Jerry Wattis, who is not what he appears to be. Mayhem ensues when her husband, son, and daughter show there.
  • Marriage

    Alan married Christine Roland, another member of the same set.
  • Dads Tale

    Dads Tale
    It's a Christmas play incorporating balletic interludes in which a poor family dreams of happier times. This play made Alan realize that theres no play for ballet in his writing. It even made him doubt himself and even thought of going back to acting.
  • Birth of Philip Nicholas

  • Founder of Victoria Theatre

    Founder of Victoria Theatre
    Alan left Scarborough to become founder member of Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent. The company’s origins go back toStephen Joseph in the late 1950’s, along with other younger theatre practitioners.
  • Mr. Whatnot

    Mr. Whatnot
    Alan directed his first large-scale World-Premiere play. It sort of failed but it lead him to the beginnings of a professional relationship with Margaret Ramsay. It goes over a silent piano tuner's visit to a country house turning into an extraordinary adventure as he falls in love with a soon-to-be-married aristocratic young woman.
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    Alan joined the British Broadcasting Company as a producer of radio dramas invited by Alfred Bradley, "Although only a dozen or so years older than I, Alfred turned out to be what I later referred to as one of my 'guardian uncles'; those remarkable people whom I was lucky enough to meet in my early years who subsequently shaped and informed my life. I remain indebted to him."
  • Relatively Speaking

    Relatively Speaking
    Alan enjoys his first major London Hit. It's about a complicated love, the main character attempting to break up with her lover just to talk to the wife (which he believed to be the mother) which just lead to complications.
  • Stephen Joseph death

    Stephen Joseph death
    One of Alans closest friends, and teammates died. Stephen lead Alan to write. For this he continued to keep his company alive.
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    Artistic Director

    Alan became the Artistic Director of Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre, Scarborough.
  • Evening Standard Best Comedy Award (Absurd Person Singular)

    Alans first award
  • Evening Standard Best Play Award (The Norman Conquests)

    Another award Alan would soon earn several of.
  • Variety Club of Great Britain Playwright of the Year

  • Olivier Best Comedy Award

    Olivier Best Comedy Award
    Earned his first Olivier Award with the Best Comedy Award for A Chorus Of Disapproval; Absent Friends and Absurd Person Singular broadcast on television.
  • CBE

    Earned a "Companion of the Order of the British Empire", which is the highest ranking Order of the British Empire award.
  • The Revengers' Comedies

    The Revengers' Comedies
    On his 50th birthday Alan wrote this play to celebrate. It's about two suicidal strangers, Karen and Henry, who meet on London's Albert Bridge where they agree to swap revenges. Karen proves psychotically efficient at taking 'her' revenge, while Henry falls in love with the object of 'his' revenge, much to Karen who insists they have a deal to keep no matter the cost.
  • Othello

    Directed his first production of a play by Shakespeare with Othello at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, starring Michael Gambon.
  • Dreams From A Summer House

    Alan collaborated with the composer John Pattison for the first time on the musical Dreams From A Summer House.
  • Knighted for services to theatre

    Alan was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to British theatre
  • 2nd Marriage

    2nd Marriage
    Alan marries Heather Stoney
  • Stroke

    Alan at 66 suffered a stroke and was hospitalized in in a Scarborough hospital.
  • Step down

    Alan decided to step down his artistic director position at Stephen Joseph Theatre due to his stroke, decided to calm down a bit.
  • Special Tony Award

    Special Tony Award
    The Life of Riley, by Alan Ayckbourn received a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater.
  • The Boy Who Fell Into a Book

    The Boy Who Fell Into a Book
    Alan directed the musical adaptation of his play The Boy Who Fell Into A Book at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
  • The Divide

    The Divide
    Wrote the divide, his first fictional prose work and debut novel is a tragic love story set in a post-catastrophic England where genders are segregated by the Divide.
  • The Karaoke Theatre Company

    The Karaoke Theatre Company
    Alan wrote his first play with improvisational elements with The Karaoke Theatre Company. An event that’s foundation is improve, no one can say what will happen.
  • Director Emeritus

    Stephen Joseph Theatre named Alan Ayckbourn as its first Director Emeritus (honorary award to an individual who has moved an organization to new heights) recognizing his 60 years with the company.