Monday, March 2, 2015

Alan Ayckbourn's 2015 Plays Announced

Further details of Alan Ayckbourn's latest play and a classic revival have been announced by the Stephen Joseph Theatre for its summer season celebrating the venue's 60th anniversary.
Hero's Welcome
Alan Ayckbourn's 79th play, Hero's Welcome, will be premiered in September and his revival of the 1974 classic Confusions will open on the theatre's actual 60th anniversary in July.
Hero's Welcome will run in repertory from 4 September - 3 October and will be directed by the playwright.
The play is described as: "Seventeen years ago Murray fled the neighbourhood under somewhat of a cloud and certain folk have long memories, not least Alice, the mayor, whom he left standing at the altar. Indeed few of his friends, once the welcome flags have stopped waving and the town band has ceased playing, seem particularly happy to see him back. Murray’s declared intention of settling down with his new bride threatens to stir up all sorts of old rivalries and resentments."
The revival of the popular Ayckbourn play Confusions, again directed by the playwright, will run in repertory from 9 July - 26 September.
It is described by the theatre as: "From a devoted and isolated mother, to her unfaithful travelling salesman husband, through to a solicitous waiter to well-heeled diners and an utterly shambolic garden fete, human frailty is laid bare as one hilarious situation unfolds after another."
The press night will take place on 14 July marking the date in 1955 when Stephen Joseph opened the Library Theatre in Scarborough. There will be a number of events taking place on and around the 14 July to mark the celebration.
The theatre has also announced the other plays and dates for the season which will include revivals of Stephen Mallatratt's famed adaptation of Susan Hill's ghost story The Woman In Black, which originated at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round in 1987 (performances 19 June - 2 August). It will be directed by Robin Herford, who directed the original production and subsequently the West End production.
Tim Firth's breath out play Neville's Island will be performed from August and will be directed by Henry Bell. The play premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round in 1992, before going on to the West End and television.
The season will also include a revival of Arrthur Sullivan's comic opera Cox & Box - Mrs Bouncer's Legacy with a second act by Chris Monks and Richard Atkinson; this was first seen at the SJT last year.
Further details of all the plays, dates and how to book can be found at

This Week: 2 March 2015

This Week & Coming Soon
3 - 28 March: Time Of My Life at the Tabard Theatre, Chiswick.
6 March: Life Of Riley - the film by Alain Resnais based on Alan Ayckbourn's play - released in UK Cinemas

News Round Up:
> Chichester Festival Theatre has announced Alan Ayckbourn's Way Upstream will be part of the festival season - and will see the stage flooded for the production. The play is running from 23 April - 16 May. Click here for details.
> The British Film Institute will be showing the 1977 ITV television production of The Norman Conquests trilogy throughout the day on 11 April. Click here for more details.
> Alain Resnais's final film, his adaptation of Alan Ayckbourn's Life Of Riley is released into British cinemas on 6 March. The British Film Institute will be showing it from 6 - 18 April.
> Scarborough Art Gallery will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of Alan Ayckbourn's home theatre, the Stephen Joseph Theatre from 11 July to 13 September 2015 with the SJT@60 exhibition. Click here for more details.
> Our sister site Scarborough In The Round continues its weekly look at the history of the Stephen Joseph Theatre as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations. Check the website's blog every Monday.

Alan Ayckbourn & The Stephen Joseph Theatre Anniversaries:
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in 2015, the blog will be looking back on notable dates from the history of the theatre and its relationship with Alan Ayckbourn. Visit the Scarborough In The Round blog for a more in-depth exploration of significant SJT anniversaries each week.
2 March: Broadcast premiere of Alan Ayckbourn & Paul Todd's revue Deadly Virtues - adapted from The 7 Deadly Virtues - on BBC1 in 1984. This was the first time the BBC recorded an actual SJT production at the theatre itself.
5 March: Alan Ayckbourn directs a revival of Tim Firth's The Safari Party for the opening of the renovated Hampstead Theatre, London. Featuring the original Stephen Joseph Theatre company, it marks the final time Alan Ayckbourn will direct a play by anyone other than himself.
7 March: The Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round's acclaimed production of Herb Gardner's Conversations With My Father - directed by Alan Ayckbourn and starring Judd Hirsch - opens at the Old Vic, London.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Ayckbourn At The BFI

The British Film Institute in London is offering the opportunity to see new and classic screen adaptations of Alan Ayckbourn's plays.
The BFI will be screening Alain Resnais's Life Of Riley in March and the popular television adaptation of The Norman Conquests in April.
Life Of Riley was the final film by French auteur Alain Resnais and his third adaptation of an Ayckbourn play - following Smoking / No Smoking and Private Fears In Public Places. The award-winning film adapts Ayckbourn's 2010 play about the responses of three couples to their (unseen) friend who has been given just months to live.
Life Of Riley stars Sabine Azéma, Hippolyte Girardot, André Dussollier, Sandrine Kiberlain, Caroline Silhol and can be seen at the BFI from 6 - 18 March. Click here for details.
The Norman Conquests is the famed 1977 adaptation of Alan Ayckbourn's trilogy which is probably the single-most watched version of an Ayckbourn play around the world.
First screened as three two hour films on ITV in 1977, it marked the first time six hours of prime-time television had been given to a living playwright. It was a huge success in both the UK and the USA.
Directed by Herbert Wise, it stars Richard Briers, Tom Conti, Penelope Keith, David Troughton, Fiona Walker and Penelope Wilton.
All three parts of the trilogy will get a rare big screen outing at the BFI on 11 April with Table Manners at 1pm, Round & Round The Garden at 3.50pm and Living Together at 6.20pm.
Tickets go on sale for The Norman Conquests on 10 March at 11.30am and can be booked individually or a special trilogy price. To find out more about the screenings - which are being presented during a season in memory of the famed television producer Verity Lambert - click on the play titles above.

Alain Resnais's adaptation of Life Of Riley will be released nationally to cinemas in the UK on 6 March for a limited run. Check the local press and online for details of the nearest showings.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chichester Festival Theatre goes Way Upstream

Chichester Festival Theatre has announced it will be presenting Alan Ayckbourn's famed river-set play Way Upstream this summer.
The Festival Theatre's stage will be filled with and water and transformed into a river complete with a cabin cruiser for one of Ayckbourn's most ambitious plays.
Nadia Fall, a director for the National Theatre and Regent Park Open Air Theatre, will direct the play with Sarah Parish announced as part of the cast.
Way Upstream was premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, in 1982 and marked a transition for the playwright as his writing stepped beyond the suburban home into the world at large and broader issues.
It follow four friends setting off in a crushing holiday from Pendon up the beautiful River Orb. What could possibly go wrong? But even before the ignition key is turned, the outlook is not completely calm. Emma is worried about her onboard safety, captain Keith and his shipmate Alistair have trouble brewing back at their novelty goods business, and sun seeker June is far from happy with the standard of the accommodation.
Waters get even choppier when the troubled crew bump into enigmatic seadog Vince, and his bohemian twitcher friend, Fleur. When they invite Vince on board, to hear tales of his remarkable seafaring adventures, relationships between these mismatched shipmates are about to become decidedly rocky.
Rarely staged because of the technical demands, the play received acclaimed revivals at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in 2003 - directed by Alan Ayckbourn - and at Salisbury Playhouse in 2011.
Way Upstream can be seen at Chichester Festival Theatre from 23 April to 16 May and further details can be found here.