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Sir Alan Ayckbourn


Directors: Theatre, Writers: Playwrights

Credit: Andrew Higgins

Alan has worked in theatre as a playwright and director for over 50 years, rarely if ever tempted by television or film – despite having a very happy working relationship with the late, great film director Alain Resnais. This perhaps explains why he continues to be so prolific. To date he has written more than 80 plays, many one-act plays and a large amount of work for the younger audience. His work has been translated into over 35 languages, is performed on stage and television throughout the world, and has won countless awards His book,The Crafty Art of Playmaking continues to be popular with writers and directors. By way of a change, he wrote the lyrics for the hit show Where Is Peter Rabbit? at the Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness now enjoying its third summer season there.

Major successes include: Relatively Speaking, How The Other Half Loves, Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, A Chorus Of Disapproval and The Norman Conquests. In recent years, there have been revivals of Season’s Greetings and A Small Family Business at the National Theatre. In the West End, Absent Friends, A Chorus Of Disapproval, Relatively Speaking and How The Other Half Loves. In 2015, Chichester mounted an excellent revival of Way Upstream; and in 2016 an equally good revival of The Norman Conquests. Three years ago, Hamburg’s Schauspielhaus had a sell-out run with its revival of Henceforward... Since 2005, the Stephen Joseph Theatre company with his plays has established a fruitful relationship with 59E59 Theaters in New York appearing biennually at their Brits off Broadway Festival, notching up three Drama Desk nominations. 2018 saw another successful visit with A Brief History of Women lauded in The New York Times (regularly Critics’ Pick) and The Wall Street Journal amongst others.

A keen supporter of new writing and a committed regionalist, Alan was Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre from 1972 to 2009 where almost all his plays have been first staged. He continues to direct his latest new work here – this year (2018) Better Off Dead and a revival of Joking Apart. Over the years, he has received eleven Honorary Doctorates, the 2016 Oxford Literary Honorary Fellowship and the 2010 Critics’ Circle Award for Services to the Arts. He has been inducted into American Theatre’s Hall of Fame and became the first British playwright to receive both Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards. He was knighted in 1997 for services to the theatre. His archive is held at the
Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York. His website: