Friday, October 31, 2014

Alan Ayckbourn's 2015 Plays Announced

The Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, has announced Alan Ayckbourn's plays for 2015 as part of its 60th anniversary announcement.
The theatre will celebrate its diamond anniversary in 2015 marking the opening of the Library Theatre, Scarborough, by Stephen Joseph on 14 July 1955.
As part of the celebrations, Alan Ayckbourn will direct the world premiere of his 79th play Hero's Welcome as well as a revival of his classic play Confusions.
The season will also include revivals of Stephen Mallatratt's famed adaptation of Susan Hill's The Woman In Black and Tom Firth's Neville's Island; both of which were first staged at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round in Scarborough.
More details about all the productions will be announced in the coming months.

Halloween Hauntings...

Andy: (softly) I was at this party. The other side of town. I got really pissed. We'd had a row. Julia and I. (with a glance at Ken) It doesn't really matter what about. Not any more. But in the morning, I woke up on some sofa and I felt really terrible. Talk about hung-over, I think I was still drunk. But the first thought in my head was, I must see if she's OK. Julia. So I thought, I'll go over and see her. I still had my key, you see. I remember walking here, trying to sober up. Lovely sunny morning. It was cold. February. But really bright. And I reached here about nine o'clock. And I let myself into the house and then up the stairs and into this room. The curtains were still drawn, and I thought, she's overslept for once, that's unusual, she's usually halfway through a concerto by seven. And I remember standing in the doorway there - getting my eyes used to the darkness - and the first thing I really registered was that bedspread. The last time I'd seen it, it had been white. Only now it wasn't white it was - red. And I thought, oh, Jesus. Oh, Jesus Christ. What has she done? She can't have done it. Not really. I couldn't see her at first, you see, not from that doorway, she was hidden by the bed. But then as I moved in, I saw... She was... She looked as if she'd lain on the bed for a bit and - I think she must have been in that much pain she - It looked as if she'd tried to get up - maybe for help - but she'd moved away from the door, you see, not towards it - towards that table instead. Maybe she wasn't conscious of where she was any more. Disoriented. But then I think what she was really trying to do was to get back to her music. She'd tried to get back to her music. Only she'd sort of slipped, you see, and was just lying there. They weren't just sleeping pills she'd taken - she'd swallowed every bloody thing she could lay her hands on –-she was bleeding from her mouth and her stomach... she must have been in such awful pain and I remember saying, over and over, no, no, no, no, no!

Joe: (softly) No...

From outside the door, the sound of the piano again.
But this time being played discordantly. Heavy, insistent, rapid, disturbing chords.
The three men freeze.
The chords cease as abruptly as they started. The sound of a piano lid slamming shut.

Andy: (in a low whisper) What's happening? What the hell's happening? Ken I think she's coming upstairs...

The sound of a distant door closing. Then, on a flight of wooden stairs, a woman's footsteps slowly ascending and approaching.
A pause.
Slowly the door handle starts to move up and down. The men remain frozen.

Woman: (softly, from the other side of the door) Dad... Dad... Dad...

The door handle continues to move.

Joe: (softly) Julia?

Andy: Oh, God...

Joe: Let her in. Do you hear me? Let her in. That's my daughter out there.

The door handle stops moving.
A long silence.
A sudden heavy pounding on the door, strong enough to cause the whole door frame to
As this continues, Joe recovers and steps forward to grab the door handle. Andy does likewise.
They wrestle over the handle.

Joe: Let her in! Do you hear me? Let her in!

Andy: (over this) You can't let her in. There's no way you're letting her in here.

Ken: (simultaneously, as he tries to separate them) You've got to let her go, don't you
understand? You have to release her, Mr Lukin, it's the only way...

Suddenly the door swings open violently.
The breeze-block wall has now gone to reveal a shabby, dimly lit hallway.
The men are swept aside as if by a violent wind which tears into the room. Books and
papers are scattered and blown about. A poster on the wall is violently ripped in half.
The door slams shut.
Andy and Ken have apparently been hurled to the ground and now lie at opposite sides of
the room.
But Joe has his eyes fixed on something, someone invisible, standing by the bed.

(Extract from Haunting Julia by Alan Ayckbourn)

Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn, Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder

Monday, October 27, 2014

This Week: 27 October 2015

Welcome to This Week, our regular guide to major Ayckbourn productions in the coming seven days, a look back on the Ayckbourn news of the last seven days and a look at some significant Ayckbourn anniversaries from this week in years past.

This Week & Coming Soon
4 - 15 November: Roundelay at the Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness-on-Windermere, directed by Alan Ayckbourn.

News Round Up:
> The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham is now taking bookings for the 2015 UK tour of Alan Ayckbourn's latest play Roundelay. It is running from 24 - 28 February and further details can be found here. The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, is also booking now for the play from 21 - 29 January here.
> The in-the-round tour of Alan Ayckbourn's latest play Roundelay moves to the Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness-on-Windemere, from 4 - 15 November.
> London Classic Theatre has announced it will be producing a UK tour of Absent Friends during 2015. Click here for initial details.
> Our sister blog for the Scarborough In The Round website continues its history of the first year of the Library Theatre (now the Stephen Joseph Theatre) tomorrow with a seven-part article looking at the first year of the venue. Click here to visit the blog.
Celebrating Ayckbourn at the Samuel French website continues its exploration of Alan Ayckbourn's plays this week.

28 October: New York premiere of Alan Ayckbourn and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical By Jeeves at the Helen Hayes Theatre in 2001.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Absent Friends tour 2015

Alan Ayckbourn's classic play Absent Friends will be touring the UK during 2015.
London Classic Theatre will be producing the play for an extensive UK tour, initial details of which have now been confirmed.
The production will be directed by Michael Cabot, Artistic Director and founder of London Classic Theatre, and will initially tour from 28 April to 18 July 2015.
Absent Friends is Alan Ayckbourn's 16th play and premiered at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, on 17 June 1974. The West End production - starring Richard Briers and Peter Bowles- opened at the Garrick Theatre, London, on 23 July 1975. It is set in real-time and revolves around a tea-party for the recently bereaved Colin organised by 'friends' and acquaintances. However, his acceptance of his situation and of his short but fulfilling time with his fiancĂ©e only serves to highlight and widen rifts in the other relationships.
Launched as a touring company in 2000, London Classic Theatre is a professional company which has produced more than 25 plays for tour with Absent Friends marking its first production of an Alan Ayckbourn play.
Further details about the tour will be announced in the coming months at the company's website and the announced tour dates can be found below:

Absent Friends 2015 Tour
28 April - 2 May: Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne
5 - 9 May: Blackpool Grand Theatre
11 - 13 May: Wyvern Theatre, Swindon
14 - 16 May: Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
19 - 20 May: Civic Theatre, Chelmsford
21 - 23 May: Theatre Royal, Winchester
26 - 27 May: King's Theatre, Southsea
28 - 30 May: Connaught Theatre, Worthing
1 - 6 June: Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds
8 - 13 June: Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
15 - 20 June: Richmond Theatre
22 - 24 June: Lyceum Crewe
25 - 27 June: Greenwich Theatre
30 June - 1 July: Theatre Royal, Margate
2 - 4 July: Assembly Halls, Tunbridge Wells
6 - 11 July: Derby Theatre
13 - 18 July: Cheltenham Everyman