Alan Ayckbourn

Plays by Alan Ayckbourn

Arrivals and Departures  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Two strangers – a taxi driver and a soldier – brought together during a covert security mission, relive memories of their lives.

Arrivals and Departures premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in September 2013.

The Boy Who Fell into a Book

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Rockfist Slim's enemies have just plunged him into yet another desperate situation when Kevin has to close his detective book and go to sleep. But his own adventure is only just beginning. Fast-moving, fun and full of special effects, Ayckbourn's wonderfully inventive play for children brings alive several well-known children's books as Kevin and Rockfist Slim escape the baddies and plunge into many different worlds.

The Boy Who Fell into a Book premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in December 1998.

A Brief History of Women  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

A Brief History of Women charts the life of Anthony Spates: from his first job as an adolescent footman at a country manor house through to his retirement as manager of the hotel the manor house became. Over the course of six decades, the play follows him and the remarkable women he has loved, left and lost over the years.

A Brief History of Woman premiered in September 2017 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.

The Champion of Paribanou

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

A sultan seeks lasting peace by marrying off one of his three sons to the princess of a neighbouring kingdom. The princes aren’t happy with their father’s scheme, so they hatch a plan to delay the wedding. They set out on a quest which they claim is to ‘prove their love’. Their disappearance upsets the real love of the youngest prince, who believes she has been betrayed. When her heatbreak leads her into the influence of evil powers, the prince must learn to fight for his family and friends.

Loosely inspired by the Arabian Nights' tale of the Flying Carpet, The Champion of Paribanou premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in November 1996.

A Chorus of Disapproval  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

‘Plunges us into an amateur operatic society production of The Beggar’s Opera. The result is magnificent comedy – symmetrically shaped, psychologically acute and painfully, heartbreakingly funny.’ Guardian

A Chorus of Disapproval premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in May 1984.

Communicating Doors

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

How Ms Poopay Dayseer, a twenty-first century Specialist Sexual Consultant, whilst peddling her ‘services’ to an elderly hotel room client unexpectedly finds herself running for her life. How her flight through a communicating door brings her face to face with her own past and with Ruella who apparently died under suspicious circumstances twenty years earlier. And how Poopay’s gradual friendship with that remarkable woman changes the future for both of them…

A time-travelling comedy thriller, Communicating Doors was published to coincide with the West End opening in 1995.

Ernie's Incredible Illucinations

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Ernie’s incredible imagination is alarming his parents. They go to the doctor in search of a cure. Once they’re there, they discover Ernie’s ‘illucinations’ are more powerful than they realised. Everything Ernie imagines – from secret agents to a boxing granny – becomes real.

Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations was first performed at the Unicorn Theatre For Children, London, in September 1971.

© Alan Ayckbourn, 1969


Faber and Faber
Type: Text

House & Garden

The triumph of his ingenuity lies in the fact that you have to see both plays . A second time round, in whichever order you take them, characters will deepen, while those you know become the background. It is a superb Ayckbourn joke that a comedy about non-communication should depend on the sharpest communication skills. Sunday Times

audio Henceforward...

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Starring Anne Heche and Jared Harris, the hilarious Henceforward... is one of Alan Ayckbourn’s most unusual works. In the near-future, a composer with creative block tries to re-unite with his estranged wife and daughter, hoping their reconciliation will free his mind to create his greatest musical masterpiece. But his own erratic impulses hinder his journey to creative freedom.

Includes a interview with playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring:

Jared Harris as Jerome

Anne Heche as Nan (in Act I) and Corrina

Jack Davenport as Mervyn

Paula Jane Newman as Geain

Moira Quirk as Zoe and Nan (in Act II)

Darren Richardson as Lupus

Directed by Martin Jarvis. Recorded at The Invisible Studios, West Hollywood.

Featuring: Jack Davenport, Jared Harris, Anne Heche, Paula Jane Newman, Moira Quirk, Darren Richardson

Henceforward …  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

In a near dysfunctional future, an isolated composer – whose works are created through samples of his constant recordings – attempts to compose a definitive work on love. When his estranged wife returns, he uses a malfunctioning android to prove he's capable of looking after his lost muse; a daughter no longer the girl he remembers.

Henceforward… premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in July 1987.

Picture of Alan Ayckbourn

Alan Ayckbourn was born in London in 1939 to a violinist father and a mother who was a writer. He left school at seventeen with two 'A' levels and went straight into the theatre. Two years in regional theatre as an actor and stage manager led in 1959 to the writing of his first play, The Square Cat, for Scarborough's Theatre in the Round at the instigation of his then employer and subsequent mentor, Stephen Joseph. Some 75 plays later, his work has been translated into over 35 languages, is performed on stage and television throughout the world and has won countless awards. There have been English and French screen adaptations, the most notable being Alain Resnais' fine film of Private Fears in Public Places.
Major successes include Relatively Speaking, How the Other Half Loves, Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, A Chorus of Disapproval, The Norman Conquests, A Small Family Business, Henceforward . . ., Comic Potential, Things We Do For Love, and Life of Riley. Surprises was first presented at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, and subsequently at the the Minerva Theatre, Chichester in 2012.
In 2009, he retired as Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, where almost all his plays have been and continue to be first staged, after 37 years in the post. Knighted in 1997 for services to the theatre, he received the 2010 Critics' Circle Award for Services to the Arts and became the first British playwright to receive both Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards.